Nettle

So, after a month of foraging and cooking with nettles for the Wild Things Round Up, are you feeling comfortable with using it as food?  I sort of feel like asking it, nettle where have you been all my life?  But of course, the answer would be the same as it always is with wildcrafting – it’s been practically under my nose all along, I just didn’t know how to see it.

But now that I do know how to see it, I don’t want to live without it.  I know there were certain points in my past, where I’d buy little bags of dried nettle from my health food store, and drink infusions on and off, never really knowing if they helped.  It’s been an entirely different experience with hand-picked nettle.  Not only is it one of the finest leafy greens that I’ve ever cooked with.  But I can also say, from firsthand experience, that it is powerful medicine.

I can’t seem to pick enough nettle, because I’m constantly giving it to friends for their allergies.  I haven’t been drinking nettle infusions myself, but I have been cooking with nettle in heavy rotation for almost two months now.  And I’m fairly certain that it is in large part responsible for the fact that I feel like Wonder Woman at the moment.  Summer is usually very hard for me; I don’t handle the heat well, and tend to go through the hot months looking like a melted candle.  Worse, I also get very dizzy upon standing in the summers.  But this year, the dizziness is gone, and I’m dealing with the heat fairly well.  I feel rather miraculously strong and healthy.  Yep, it’s the nettle.  I’m pretty sure.

Not convinced to forage for nettle yet?  Then don’t forget to hop on over and read what Bek, my cohost from Cauldrons and Crockpots wrote about the medicinal value of nettle.

For those of you visiting the round up for the first time, welcome!  Wild Things was created as a celebration of the magic and power of wild edibles.  As your hosts, Bek and I want to share our own delight at walking on the wild side, in creating inexpensive and effective herbal medicines, and nourishing and tasty meals, all with the wild herbs that we find within striking distance of home – regardless of whether we are country mice or city mice.

For the month of June, we’ve got all sorts of delightful nettle entries in the Wild Things Round Up, and not just your ordinary greens recipes either.  Included in the round up are several different types of nettle pastas, a whole host of soups, and a few super-creative gems.  What a great resource to turn to when you’ve just collected a bunch of nettle, and are looking for inspiration.  Enjoy!

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Herbalist Darcey Blue never lets us down when it comes to fixing wild goodies with flair. Here’s her favorite way to serve nettles for breakfast.  Yes, breakfast!  Move over oatmeal,Nettles with Preserved Lemon and Garlic are the new darling of the morning.

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Darcey hit it out of the park again with her creativity in the kitchen by coming up withNettle Kraut. Imagine the extra oompf of having nettles mixed in with cabbage and red onion for your next batch of sauerkraut.

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If you haven’t stepped into the Dyhanaverse before, you are in for a treat.  She’s my kind of cook, full of creative spirit and has a penchant for wild ingredients.  In her recipe for a Greek-inspired Plasto, she serves up a cornbread stuffed with a mixture of nettle and yogurt.

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Also from the Dyhanaverse, Wild Nettle Fritters.  Apparently, these are even better as leftovers, and are a perfect foraging snack.  Don’t forget to keep your energy up while you are out there blissing out with plants!


Wild Nettle Fritters

makes 8 to 10 fritters

4 potatoes mashed
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup stinging nettles, washed and chopped (use gloves)
1 cup yogurt
2 free range/organic eggs
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
dash garlic powder
peanut oil or other preferred oil for frying, peanut has a nice taste, though

Mix all ingredients together, should have a cake consistency. Form
patties about 3 inches in diameter and
fry in preheated oil.

I initially didn’t like these, but I think I was in a bad mood that
night. I had plenty left over and thought
they were much better cold, the following day even better and
eventually fished the recipe back out of the
recyclables bin. I am moody like that. These would be a great hiking
foraging snack.

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And another from the Dyhanaverse, Stinging Chicken Livers.  I’m not much of one for touting the nutritional benefits of food.  But it’s hard to overlook the nutritional giants of nettle and liver teaming up in the recipe.

Stinging Chicken Livers

makes enough for 1 meal or an appetizer for 2

1 lb. free-range organic chicken livers
2 tbs. butter, oil will work, but butter tastes yummier
splash balsamic vinegar
splash red wine
2 cups washed and chopped stinging nettle (use gloves)
1/2 chopped onion

Melt butter in small skillet. Saute onions until just beginning to
soften. Add chicken livers and saute for a few minutes
being careful not to overcook. Overcooked livers are tough, not yummy.
Add the rest of the ingredients and saute until
greens soften and turn bright green, just a few minutes. This is so
simple but tasty, even my vegan boyfriend liked
eating the greens. Hey, it’s the only way I can get some meaty
goodness into him.

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I’ll try to put aside my morel envy (hmpff!) long enough to direct you to Hella Delicious, where you can find Wild Morels & Nettles Linguini.  If you are on the GAPS diet, you’ll be very excited to see that the linguini in this recipe are made from carrot strips.

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Hank Shaw, of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook has a fondness for creating unusual spaetzle.  I used to live next to a lovely German granny, and she made these tiny dumplings every Sunday, but never this exciting.  Here, Hank’s created a shockingly greenStinging Nettle Spaetzle.

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If you are a frequent reader of Fat of the Land, you know that Langdon Cook is no stranger to cooking with nettles.   His Italian Nettle Sausage Pie is at once hearty and cozy.  Nettles and sausage are such good friends, why not give this dish a try?

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Have you ever been haunted by a food?  When I saw the recipe for Nettle Pizza on Pommeroyale, I could think of nothing else until my desire to it had been fulfilled.  And now that I’ve tasted it for myself, let me tell you firsthand that nettle and cheese combine to create a truly magical pizza.

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Sometimes, there is nothing like a simple preparation to highlight the goodness of an ingredient.  I think that’s the case with this Nettle Soup with Lentils from The 3 Foragers.  If you like rustic dishes the way I do, I know you’ll want to server this for  lunch of dinner (or heck, breaky!) sometime soon.

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You could serve any number of sauces with the Nettle Gnocchi from LlynLines.  A cheese sauce is the classic pairing for this dish, but Carl favors lighter sauces like garlic thyme butter and fresh tomato (recipes included) with his fluffy green pillows of nettle yumminess.  I think I might have to try them all three ways, myself, in order to properly declare a favorite.

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I bet you didn’t think you could turn nettle into a slightly sweet snack food did you?  I was surprised to hear that, too.  Even more interesting, these little sesame-covered balls utilize raw nettle.  Move over traditional energy bars, I think Nettle Energy Balls make a great snack for people on the go.

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Here’s another fun recipe from Mint Green Apron - Nettle Drink.  If you think you know what color the finished brew is, you are probably wrong.  You are just gonna have to click through to find out.

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If you are a soup lover like I am, you will want to check out the Stinging Nettle Soup from A Little Zaftig.  This simple soup also contains a hearty mix of leek, celery, and potatoes.  It’s the potatoes that really get me here.

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Are you ready for another nettle soup recipe?  This recipe for Isirgan Otu Corbasi from Give Recipe is really something different.  It combines bulgur, chickpeas, and yogurt with nettles.  Now you’re wondering if you have enough nettle to make all of these amazing soup recipes aren’t you?

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If you are lucky enough to have both nettles and chives growing in your garden, as does Janice Cole, then you can make up a big batch of her Creamy Nettle-Chive Soup today.  Right now!  Go, quick, don’t waste the opportunity, the season is calling.

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Here’s another lovely green nettle pasta entry.  This time, Eat Love Drink (love love love that blog name) has created Stinging Nettle Pasta Ribbons with Roasted Cauliflower, dressed with a kicky lemon sauce.  The very thought of combining sweet roasted cauliflower with nettle pasta makes me a little weak at the knees.

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Don’t forget that nettle isn’t just a great food, but has some lovely applications in the medicine chest and bath.  Looking for lovely locks?  You just may wish to try this Natural Hair Tonic with Stinging Nettle from the Crafty Little Gnome.  Some of the round up recipes require that you should boil your nettle, so go ahead and save that nettle-infused water for your hair!

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If you are a gluten-free eater, as I am, then I think you will jump up and down with joy when you see the recipe for crustless Spinach and Nettles Spanakopita at Stitch and Boots.  Angelina makes a convincing argument that what makes spanakopita is the feta and greens filling, not the crust.  As if I needed to be convinced!

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Looking for a fresh new pesto to liven up your growing season dishes?  Look no further than the Nettle and Pumpkin Seed Pesto from Very Berry Homemade.  If you’ve thought of making nettle pesto, but find pine nuts to be too expensive, then this is a great alternative.  And I happen to really love the taste of pumpkin seeds.

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If you are a regular forager, and have access to monster mallow leaves, like Cafe Liz, then you will want to make a big batch of her Mallow Leaves stuffed with Nettle.  Little packages of lemony nettle rice, yum!.

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Lorrie shared one of her favorite recipes from the book Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten by Russ Cohen.

Nettle Spanikopita

1 c. chopped wild onion
4 c. steamed nettle greens
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. feta cheese
2 eggs
2 tbsp. parsley
2 tbsp. wild chives
salt and pepper to taste
12 phyllo pastry leaves
1/4 c. melted butter

Saute the onions in the olive oil in a large skillet until tender.  Add nettles, cheese, eggs, parsley, chives, and salt and pepper, and mix together well, then cool.  Cut phyllo to make 24 sheets.  Layer first 12 sheets in a well-greased 6″x10″ baking dish, brushing each layer with melted butter.  Spoon cooked mixture into baking dish, and spread evenly over phyllo dough.  Cover with remaining phyllo, brushing each layer with butter.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until golden.

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Bek, your other delightful Wild Things Round Up host, serves up one of my favorite nettle dishes Oeufs en Cocotte with Nettle.  Whether you’ve got fond childhood memories of nettles, as does Bek, or they are a new food to you, you’ll love to snuggle up to an adorable ramekin filled with egg and nettle nestled inside.

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Beks didn’t fail me with her version of Nettle Pesto, either.  Here she combines nettle, gouda, and nettle seed for a new spin on the classic.  As if that weren’t cool enough, she served it over handmade gluten-free pasta.  I guess it’s ok when people show off if they know nifty kitchen tricks like this ;)

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And here’s the Cauldrons and Crockpots version of Nettle Soup, smooth and creamy and chock-full of complex flavor.  Delicious any time you can get your hands on nettle.

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Not wanting to be left out of the soup party, I came up with my own nettle hotpot with aVietnamese-Inspired Nettle Soup.  Nettles, pork, and noodles swimming in a garlic-y star anise infused broth, yo!

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Perhaps not my moment of greatest creativity, but you can’t argue with the solid flavors ofNettle Paneer.  I ate it three days in a row without ever growing tired of it.  And in my opinion, nettle is much nicer in this classic than spinach.

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This is a celebration of nettle, so why not whip up a nettle-fied version of the 90′s bread bowl classic with my Nettle Party Dip.  Creamy, comforting, and familiar, and yet… fun and new.

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I’m not sure why, but it seems that every year at the beginning of summer, I get swept away by the flavors of India.  This probably explains how I came up with my second Indian-inspired nettle dish in a month Nettle-Coconut Chutney with Sorghum Dosas.

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