Stinging nettles, considered a nuisance plant by some, is in many cultures a revered tender spring vegetable. Nettles have many other uses and are saig to be a remedy for spring allergies. When cooking nettles you can use them like spinach or other greens and substitute equal amounts – nettles make amazing pesto, soups, steamed veggie, etc.
PESTO … Ingredients:
1 pound raw stinging nettles
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
3-5 garlic cloves (to taste), peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Boil stinging nettles briefly (2-3 mins) to neutralize the sting, drain, remove leaves from the woody stems, spin dry in a salad spinner, and then rough chop. Ball up the nettles and give one good squeeze by hand to wring out remaining water.
(HINT: If you save the water from boiling the nettles you will have Nettle Tea!)
2. Add nettles to food processor, along with nuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and half of the olive oil. Process and drizzle in additional olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, adjust seasonings to taste.
3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Pesto also freezes well for future use.