Elven food porn. Yep, that’s what I’m calling it. That’s was happens when you combine fresh spring stinging nettles with organic garlic, organic raw walnuts, sheep’s milk romano and lemon juice to create a taste bud-gasm. One that is good for you to boot! It is a definite win and so easy.
Stinging Nettle (urtica diotica) grows wild in meadows and fields everywhere. She is a shining jewel for herbalists and foragers alike. She is best harvested before she flowers so get out there soon!
Urtica has very high levels of minerals, especially, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium, and sulfur. Is also a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and B complex vitamins and high levels of easily absorbable amino acids. I have read varying sources stating the protein content ranges between 10 and 25 percent! That’s heavy for a leafy green!
But what about the sting, you ask? Yes, there is that. There is no doubt that when you brush against her, it hurts! With this chemical cocktail it’s no wonder: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and formic acid. The remedy? Approach her with respect and mindfulness.
No. Sudden. Movements!
Seriously, when I harvest her leaves, if I mindfully pick one at a time, slowly, I do not get stung. If you do get stung, look around you…you should be able to find some plantain or dock within a few feet, pick a leaf, chew it up and spit it out onto the sting, it will relieve the pain right away. It’s called a spit poultice and it is stellar field first aid.
But we are making pesto, so we need more than just a few leaves. Wear gloves and a long sleeved shirt, and simply snip the top 3rd of the plant into a big bowl. No touching needed. When you get home, you will want to blanch the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling water. Then plunge into cold/ice water. This will neutralize the chemicals that cause the sting. Take it from me; eating a raw nettle leaf…may cause gagging and coughing. Been there, while I was being interviewed for the local newspaper about foraging. Embarrassing.
Once your nettles are blanched, strained and cooled, pop them into the food processor and grind with the rest of your ingredients! Simple. Use your nettle pesto the same as you would basil pesto!
Stinging Nettle Pesto
Makes 4-- 8oz jars
♥ Enjoy! Maria
Maria is a spiritual writer and a self-love warrior with a deep and diverse background in both the culinary and healing arts. As a teacher, integrative healer, business owner, craft herbalist and cosmic gardener it has been her path throughout her many lifetimes to guide others (by sharing her process) to find strength and direction, gently planting seeds of heart centered, connected awareness. She is most passionate about guiding people to connect with their inner voice, a midwife to the joyful birth of inherent authentic creativity that lives within us all. When she is not busy writing, taking care of the farm or unschooling her feral daughter, she can often be found playing in the woods, communing with the flora and fauna and dancing with the faeries.