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  • nettle everything

    well, it's coming on to that season here in Scotland, so I went out today and collected a massive bag of stinging nettles. with gloves on! it took maybe about an hour. upon blanching, we got a large mixing bowl towering with prepared nettles -- waaaayyyyyy more than I figured we'd have. (I had assumed they would reduce in volume the way spinach does; they do, but not nearly as much.) it smelled kind of minty and lobstery all at the same time. what a combination...

    so the result was several nettle products:
    -a large jar of pesto a la Mark's recipe from a few weeks ago
    -a few quarts of soup (chicken stock, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, a hint of chili, black pepper, milk, parmesan, olive oil, boyfriend plans to add chorizo to his bowl)
    -about a gallon of deeply-infused nettle tea from all the blanching.

    the moral of the story is, spending probably 15 minutes getting nettles out of the back garden is probably enough to supply your meal needs in one evening. I'm gonna struggle to get through all this nettle food! on the other hand, I will be superbly nettle-flushed (if any of those medicinal nettle tea things are true, believe me, I will find out), and I'm not gonna lack for mega greens input over the next few days.

    also - there were dandelions out there, so I collected them too. yeah free food!

  • #2
    I'm planning a nettle foray too - in Sussex. I want to dry them though, and with the weather we are having - they'll likely go mouldy before they dry out.

    I like them as a veg, streamed, chopped and double cream / nutmeg added. Also an ace soup.
    Last edited by breadsauce; 04-30-2012, 12:08 AM.

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    • #3
      You know the Fire weed shoots are edible to, baby ones are best (they get bitter as they get older) fry up in some butter, salt, pepper garlic for yummy side dish or toss in meaty sauces like I did last night.. yummmmm
      Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

      http://primaldog.blogspot.co.uk/

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      • #4
        Okay, so the soup was awesome and I used some of the pesto to make nettle/ground beef bolognaise --which I stuffed into mushroom caps and grilled with mozzarella on top. That was great. What WASN'T great: I also stir-fried the dandelions, which turned out terribly bitter - any advice on that?

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        • #5
          Update: I just found a bank along the riverside where I run that is COVERED with wild garlic AND nettles. FTW!!! So I can run with scissors (!) and gloves to the bank, fill up a bag, and go home and stir it all around in some cold water in a bucket, then whizz it all up together.

          Today's result: stir fried the lot in butter to kill the stings, then boiled it briefly in a minimum amount of chicken stock; added dried chives/oregano/basil/thyme/rosemary/cayenne and olive oil; whizzed it with the processor. Then I sauteed some diced turkey leg, threw it into the nettle/garlic mix, and let it stew for awhile. I finished it with about three tablespoons of double cream (per about 3 large bowls of the stew) to make it like a very thick soup. You could easily do this as non-dairy. I'm thinking of trying it again this week, but minus all the dried herbs. (The native flavour of the nettle pesto was quite nice, and I'm sure I'm masking it somewhat -- although who cares, it was freakin delicious.) Also good with a local Scottish gruyere.

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          • #6
            Ive always found dandilion to be a bit bitter, not so bad if you mix with other stuff but on its own..meh....
            Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

            http://primaldog.blogspot.co.uk/

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            • #7
              dino hunter, what's your trick? what aer you mixing it with? (and can i just ask... where are you in scotland?)

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              • #8
                This thread is making me hungry!

                Originally posted by DinoHunter View Post
                You know the Fire weed shoots are edible to, baby ones are best (they get bitter as they get older) fry up in some butter, salt, pepper garlic for yummy side dish or toss in meaty sauces like I did last night.. yummmmm
                The best honey I ever had was fireweed honey. Unreal.

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                • #9
                  I was looking at the abundance of nettles out in the woods (also Sussex) and just thinking about having a collecting day. Nettle pesto sounds excellent, but they are good in soup or just boiled with cream and nutmeg. I'm also planting a few in a back border of my garden for butterfly larvae.

                  Dandelion leaves must be very small and tender when picked and I love them washed carefully and topped with some fried diced bacon or pancetta, with the fat mixed with a dash of wine vinegar at the end and used as a warm dressing (a Swiss invention I think?)


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                  • #10
                    I also stir-fried the dandelions

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bananabonobo View Post
                      dino hunter, what's your trick? what aer you mixing it with? (and can i just ask... where are you in scotland?)
                      Just mix it with other salad leaves in my BAS
                      Or if cooking, ill often stir fry it with nettles, fireweed, spinach, kale etc.. (usally in butter with salt & pepper and whatever ellse Im in the mood for.. bacons good )
                      Im just south of Aberdeen
                      Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

                      http://primaldog.blogspot.co.uk/

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                      • #12
                        Further nettle weirdness:
                        iced tea, with coconut... i have 2 litres of it on my desk i'm burning through just now

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                        • #13
                          We gather tons of nettles every spring and dry most of them for tea and to crumble into soups over the winter. But those first few weeks of steamed nettles tops tossed with butter & cider vinegar are heavenly!

                          Just remember to use the tops, and only before they start to flower. Mature nettles have a high load of minerals that can cause problems to people.
                          Seven Trees Farm - diversified subsistence farming on 1.25 acres.

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