Let the experimenting begin-Stinging Nettles
As I mentioned before Spring is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can tell because the Lady Bugs are out and about in full force. This kind of gives me the heebie geebies.
How can such a cute little creature that is so important for our gardens send shivers of eeek down my spine? Individually they are beautiful, but once you see them in giant heaps on every surface you see, they lose their charm and become something out of a B horror flick.
Last year they took over the beaches, the parks, even the sea was transformed into a bleeding carpet of beetles. Entire cars were engulfed in a matter of minutes turning them into mountains of crunchy. Oh yeah, the crunch under your feet! Ahhahahhhahahahah. So now when I see one I see bajillions.
So what about those stinging nettles? Why do I keep harping on them? Cause they are ready to be harvested! Like I have mentioned before, they are one of the most nutritional plants you can eat. If Bluto wants to give Popeye and his spinach a beat down he would do well by munching on a few of these prickly plants.
Thus I am out everyday collecting nettles to experiment with. Basically you can replace or combine your recipes requiring spinach with nettles, lasagne, pasta, soup…
You can also make a tea out of it which tastes pretty ok. It’s mild and green.
The other day I made a nettle pesto that was much better than I had expected. The Man loved it. It also made a great creamy pesto salad dressing.
Today I made nettle tea lemonade which is pretty damn good! The lemon turned the green a nice soft pink which was rather unexpected and pretty. If any of you chemistry people out there can tell me how this might affect the green tea potency I would be much obliged.
Stinging Nettle Pesto with Walnuts and Peccorino. Makes 1 small jar.
Large bowl of stinging nettles including stems.
1 small Garlic Clove
12 Blades of Basil fresh
1 Large handful of grated Peccorino
1 Large handful of Walnuts sauteéd
Olive oil approx. 1-2 dl 2/3-1 Cup
1/2 Lemon squeezed with zest
Blanche the stinging nettles in boiling water for a a few seconds, this neutralizes the sting. Then drain well. In the mean time saute your walnuts. You may want to give your garlic a few seconds with the walnuts to kill the bitter bite. Then in a mixing bowl whiz the nettles, garlic, basil walnuts, garlic and cheese. Add your lemon juice and zest. Then slowly add your olive oil to the desired consistency. Garlic salt to taste.
Note: I am not very picky about thinks like stems, especially of the nettles are young. For a smoother consistency I would suggest you double the nettles and only use the leaves. Don’t forget your gloves.
Harvesting: Use rubber gloves and scissors to keep from getting stung. If you have to go further than your backyard take a couple cotton balls soaked in vinegar with you. It neutralizes the sting very efficiently.
Nettle Pesto Salad Dressing
1/2 Cup/1 dl Nettle pesto
1/2 Cup Sour cream/Gräddfil
Mix the above together in a bowl. If you want to water it down add a little milk.
Nettle tea lemonade. Makes 1 pitcher
1 Handful of stinging nettles loosely chopped
1 Cup 2,5 dl Boiled water
2 Lemons squeezed
2 Pipettes Stevia alternatively add more sugar to taste.
3 TBS Sugar
This takes about 15 mins. First pour the boiling water over the nettles and let soak for 10 mins. In the mean time squeeze your lemon. Strain the leaves from the tea water or not, might make for a pretty presentation. In a pitcher mix the tea water, lemon juice and your sweetener. Serve over ice.
Note: Stevia is a natural leaf extract that is used as a sugar substitute. You usually don’t need a lot of Stevia, 1 drop is approx. the same as 1 sugar cube. Depending on what you use it in, it can have something of a diet coke flavor. So those of you who love diet coke that is a plus. I don’t so in this recipe I added a small amount of sugar to get away from the artificial flavor. Stevia is mostly used in liquids not meant for baking.
It is hard to find in Scandinavia. They do have it Denmark at some health food stores. Not been able to find it in Sweden. I bought my bottle at Jimbo’s in San Diego. One bottle will last a good long while.