It's stinging nettle season! This nutrient dense, wild edible plant is best harvested in the spring before it flowers. As its name suggests, this plant stings, so harvest with care! The good news is that it loses its stinging properties when cooked or dried and is then safe to ingest. Nettle is rich in vitamins & minerals and can be enjoyed as a herbal tea or prepared as food. Nettle leaves can be substituted in recipes in place of greens such a spinach or kale.
Featured here is a Nettle Pecan Pesto that I made with my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Lani Nykilchuck, ND (http://www.drlani.ca/):
- 3 cups of stinging nettle leaves (tightly packed)
- 1/2- 1 cup of basil leaves (tightly packed)
- 1 cup of pecans
- 1/4 cup of walnuts
- 2 fresh garlic cloves (large)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese [optional]
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to desired consistency)
- juice from ~ half of an organic lemon
[*Note: as mentioned, stinging nettles STING (duh), so wear gloves when harvesting and handling.]
- Blanch the nettle leaves in boiling water for ~ 5 mins
- Place nettles, basil, nuts, garlic, sea salt and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until mixture is coarsely ground. While processor is running, slowly add olive oil and lemon juice. Voila!