How to make nettle pesto, and why everyone should eat it. There. I should-ed on you. Although I usually don't tell people what to do, I urge everyone to eat nettle pesto.
Because nettles are so, so good for you, and because I think nettle pesto tastes better than traditional pesto made with basil. My kids agree.
Since they are rich in vitamins A, C, D, K, and lots of minerals including iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium and sulfur, the health benefits of nettles are immense. Filled with chlorophyll, tannins, B complex vitamins, and made up of 10 percent protein, nettles are a powerhouse for health.
I get dizzy reading about this plant's health benefits. Nettles are a diuretic and are used to treat anemia, arthritis, rheumatism and respiratory and urinary problems. Nettles help with eczema, asthma and sinusitis. They are a great blood purifier and protect against skin disorders, hair loss, kidney stones, allergies, hay fever, osteoarthritis, internal bleeding, nosebleeds, enlarged spleen, diabetes, endocrine disorders, stomach acid, diarrhea, dysentry, lung congestion, and cancer.
Now do you see why I'm telling you to make nettle pesto?
How to make Nettle Pesto - Recipe below
Find a patch of nettles in the spring time. This is the season when they first come up and are not tough, but nice and tender. Don't be fooled, though! Nettles aren't called stinging nettles as a joke! If they touch your bare skin, you will get hurt. Getting stung by a nettle is no fun at all, so wear long sleeves and gloves.
In case you do get stung, grab a plantain leaf, chew it up in your mouth, and then put it, together with your spit, on the area that got stung. I swear it works to take the sting out every single time.
Cut only the top portion of the nettle (the first 2 or 3 inches), because lower down they get fibrous.
Either use scissors or just break them off between your (gloved!) thumb and index finger.
When you've collected enough (see recipe below), head into the kitchen and fill a large pot halfway with water. Once the water boils, put your nettles in the pot (either with tongs or your gloved hands), and push them down with a spoon so they are submerged in the boiling water.
This takes the sting out of the nettles. Only leave them in the water for one minute - that's truly all it takes to remove the sting. Then take them out with a slotted spoon, tongs or colander, since you want to save the water for drinking later. Some nutrients leached into that water, so you might as well drink it, or water your houseplants with it once it's cooled.
Some people now put the nettles into ice water to preserve the nice, green color, but I never do, since it's an extra step and the nettles always stay green for me.
I just put the nettles into a colander and let them drain well.
- 2 cups fresh nettles (or more if you have lots - this pesto freezes well!)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
- 1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Cut 4 cloves of garlic (or more if you like garlic a lot) into a few pieces and throw them into a food processor. My trusted old Cuisinart does a lovely job. I like to cut the garlic into a few pieces because they sometimes get stuck in the blade if I don't.
Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup olive oil, and drained nettles and chop them in the food processor.
Add 1/2 cup walnuts and 1 1/2 cups parmesan and process them all til everything is smooth. Usually, pesto calls for pine nuts, but I find them too expensive.
Voila! You are done!
Adjust the taste. Some people add more salt and pepper, more or less garlic, and more or less parmesan. Do you want it more liquid? Add more olive oil.
I serve pesto with pasta. It's also great on pizza.
If you have lots of nettles, just double, triple, or quadruple this recipe. I love making LOTS of nettle pesto and freezing it in quart freezer bags.