Well, this is a recipe I never anticipating writing. In my younger days I spent lots of timing pulling these pokey little buggers out of my yard and promptly throwing them into the garbage. Fast forward 10 years, and I'm all suited up in a long sleeved shirt and garden gloves, carefully trimming off the leaves of any and every nettle plant that I can find.
Using stinging nettles for their medicinal properties such as to relieve hay fever allergies is fairly well known. Oftentimes it is dried and combined with quercetin to enhance its effect. For a deeper look at other ways to use this amazing herb, check out this article from UMM. Because nettles appear in the early spring along with other greens such as dandelions, we can also look to them as being cleansers to the body. If you have a few minutes, check out this great article from Susan Weed regarding liver function and simple ways to keep it functioning the way it should.
In addition to nettle tea, my all time favorite way to use this versatile herb is in pesto. When combined with spinach and cilantro or basil, it tastes like springtime in a bowl; green, fresh, and light. Make sure you briefly boil or sautéed those nettle leaves first though; the stingers can leave painful welts- ouch!
Preparation: (Nettle Leaves):
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While waiting for the water to boil, and wearing gardening gloves, gather enough nettle leaves to halfway fill a one gallon pail.
- Dump leaves into a strainer and rinse under warm water.
- Dump leaves into boiling water and leave for a couple of minutes.
- Remove leaves with a tongs and submerge into cold water.
- Remove leaves from water and place on a towel to air dry.
- 1 cup prepared nettles (see above)
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 cup spinach
- ¼ cup pinenuts, nut or seed of choice or omit
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ⅓-½ cup olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- Sea salt (to taste)
1. In food processor, combine nettles, cilantro, spinach, pinenuts, lemon juice, and garlic cloves.
2. Drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
3. Add sea salt to taste.