Saturday, April 10, 2010

Springtime Nettles

It's early spring! Start looking out for young Stinging of my favorite herbs and the first plant that made me curious enough to start an herbal apprenticeship. I have a strong connection with the nettle plant and feel obliged to say "Thanks!" every time I see it.
Nettles are among the most nutritious of wild foods. When they are cooked, the sting disappears, leaving behind an herb packed with more vitamins and minerals than you can imagine. Stinging Nettle is truly a super-food and very bountiful on the east coast of MA. Search for nettles in the early spring when they are still young and low to the ground. Make sure to bring gloves if you don't like being can be quite painful if you're not used to it! Cut the top 1/3 of the plant, give thanks to it by offering a pray, some hair, or tobacco, and put in your bag or basket. Bring it home to tincture, dry to tea, or make this soup:

Spring Nettle Soup
(adapted from a recipe from Susan Weed)
6-8 cups of nettle tops
6 cups water (or bone broth...even better)
1/2 chives, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1-2 leeks, chopped
3 tablespoons miso
1-2 potatoes, cubed
salt & pepper
1 cup yellow dock leaves (optional)
1/2 cup dandelion leaves (optional)
Directions: Wash vegetables and greens. Saute greens, leeks, and carrots in some butter for 5-10 minutes. Add bone broth or water and potatoes. Bring to a boil then simmer for at least a half hour. Add salt, pepper to taste and miso just before serving. Puree for rich green soup. Enjoy!

Westport Town Farm