Last night Nathan and I were both were home later than usual, then we still had to do the chicken and sheep chores (we have 300 free range chickens and 40 sheep, including lambs). After, we both didn't feel like making supper, or we didn't have the inspiration. I had brought home my share and so we had asparagus and beet greens and decided to make the quickest of meals, a veggie stir fry with noodles.
Super quick stir fry with noodles:
I started with garlic and an onion, chopped them both up and added them to a pan with some olive oil. When those were sautéed, I added a bunch of sliced mushrooms, the beet parts of the beet greens, a whole leek sliced thin and a sliced carrot. You could pretty much put anything in here that needs a few minutes to cook. After those were almost cooked through, I added the asparagus (cut into inch long pieces), and after a few more minutes added the greens part of the beet greens, as well as some left over chopped Asian greens. I added Tamari and a little hot sauce. While this was going on I had made some wild rice noodles (I would have made rice, if I didn't have noodles).
To make it extra delicious I put the noodles in the bowls and added butter and grated cheddar before the cooked veggies. Cheese seems like kind of a strange addition, but it's really good, trust me.
We had enough for lunches the next day and went to bed with some fresh veggies in our bellies.
Stinging Nettles: A Spring Treat, and so much more!
Recipes and Information
Be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands when preparing nettles!
Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) grow in swampy places and riparian corridors along streams throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. They resemble a mint, though they’re in their own botanical family (the Urticaceae). They’re easily identified by their pairs of deltoid (slightly triangular), dentate leaves (opposite-decussate in orientation), with fine spines covering the stems and leaves.
Apart from the slight fact that even the very young plants sting, nettles are a wonderful ingredient to use in soups, pasta dishes, frittatas—basically in any cooked dish where you would use young spinach. They’re certainly worth the slight challenge involved in picking them, for they are rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, flavonoids, histamine, and serotonin—all the great chemicals one needs to reenergize after a cold winter and to combat Spring allergies.
SPRING NETTLE SOUP RECIPE (902) 542-3277
Submitted by Cyndi Fendley Sweeney
1 – 2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 onion, chopped
2 cups brown mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bag TapRoot Farms Nettles: about 2 cups
6-7 cups good quality vegetable or chicken stock
Optional: dash of thyme or nutmeg
Optional: 1 cup of cream or almond milk. (This adds a richness to the soup but is not necessary. If you are not using the cream, add a little more potato and stock, purely to make the soup stretch.)
In a large stock pot, ‘sweat’ the onion in the olive oil, covered with a lid over low heat for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil kettle. Carefully tear open the nettle bag (without touching the nettles) pour into a large bowl and cover with the freshly boiled water. Let sit for 2 -3 minutes.
This should remove all the stings from the nettle leaves. Drain, and pick out and discard any stems or hard pieces. Roughly chop.
Add garlic and mushrooms to the onion pot, return the lid and sweat for 5 minutes.
Add chopped potato and stock. Bring to a simmer, partly cover for 15 minutes.
Add nettles, simmer for 4 minutes. Puree the soup with a hand mixer or blender.
Stir in cream or almond milk if using. Salt and pepper to taste.
Some Ideas for Nettles: Use in green smoothies | Enjoy a simple sauté with garlic and butter| Blanch and freeze for easy future use in stews and soups | Enjoy healthful nettle tea brewed as a simple infusion by pouring boiling water over nettle leaves and steeping them for as little as 15 minutes or as long as overnight. | Substitute for cooked spinach in recipes | Create a lustrous hair tonic by steeping nettle leaves for 2 hours and applying the cooled liquid to the scalp | Pairs well with goat and other creamy, strong cheeses | Great in savoury tarts, crepes, and egg dishes | Nettle Beer | Nettle Pesto | Create Nettle Vinegar by adding nettle leaves to organic Apple Cider Vinegar and steeping in a dark place for a few weeks
STINGING NETTLE FRITATTA RECIPE (902) 542-3277
PREP TIME: 15 min COOK TIME: 30 min YIELD: 6 servings
1 pepper, diced
6 medium stalks stinging nettle, chopped
1 tomato (or 2 roma tomatoes), diced
8 stalks chives, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 - 1 tablespoon cilantro, diced
Olive oil, for sauteeing
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup milk [to mix with eggs]
Begin by cleaning the stinging nettle thoroughly using rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Sauté/cook down in olive oil and a bit of water on low to medium-low for 10-15 minutes. This will "disarm" your stinging nettle and make it safe to eat.
Prep all other ingredients as indicated.
Sauté peppers, tomatoes, chives, & garlic in olive oil - add with already cooked down stinging nettle in cast iron. I suggest cast iron as you will be putting this into the oven a bit later, making for easy transition.
In medium bowl, combine 6 eggs & 1/4 cup milk, whisk thoroughly until well-combined.
After veggies are well-cooked, add egg & milk mixture to pan.
Continue to cook, covered, on a low simmer for about 10 minutes, or until egg begins to coagulate but before it really hardens.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°.
Put pan into oven and cook for about 10 minutes, until egg is thoroughly cooked.
The stinging power of nettles is instantly dismantled when they're cooked (and by cooked, we mean anything from pureeing into a soup or quickly steaming/blanching the leaves). What you're left with, once the scary stuff is out of the way, are delicate greens, with a flavor like a spinach-cucumber hybrid and so many nutrients we don't even have time to list them all. Nettles have long been used in natural medicine for their anti-inflammatory properties, and they have the added bonus of tasting delicious and not like medicine at all. You can really use nettles anywhere you'd use spinach, and we've collected a couple of easy recipes for you to try! For more info, please visit our website: taprootfarms.ca
STINGING NETTLE PESTO RECIPE (902) 542-3277
PREP TIME: 25 min YIELD: 1 cup
1/2 pound nettles
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer for the nettles. Add the nettles directly from their bag and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. (This denatures their sting.)
Dump into a colander to drain. When the nettles are cool enough to handle, wrap them in a clean dishtowel and wring out as much moisture as possible, like you would for spinach. You’ll have about a cup of cooked, squished nettles.
In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the paddle attachment, whirl the garlic, pine nuts, salt, and pepper to taste until finely chopped. Add the nettles, breaking them up as you drop them in, and the lemon juice and whirl until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Add the cheese, pulse briefly, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice.
I was just being bullied by those beets in my fridge on the weekend (as in, guiltily looking at them, knowing I need to use them, and not being willing to make yet another pot of borscht!), wish I had seen this as it looks like a great way to use some of those beets up!
Member Chris tried it and says:
"Yum! All Taproot except for the dill and the olive oil and lemon in the homemade mayonnaise."
Fiddleheads are one of the world's coolest greens. These unfurled fronds of the ostrich fern (matteuccia struthiopteris) are known as fiddleheads because they resemble the finely crafted head of a fiddle. Depending on the weather, they begin to appear around late April to early May along river and stream banks, in open woodlands and at the edges of swamps and marshes across New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. They are harvested when just a few inches off of the ground so they are still tender and tightly coiled.
Loaded with healthful properties (such as iron and potassium), fiddleheads are easy to cook and, like asparagus, have a delicate green flavour that is best accentuated by simple cooking.
Though the flavour and texture may not be to everyone's taste, those of us who love them look forward to their fleeting appearance each spring.
How to cook fiddleheads
Fiddlehead preparation is easy. With a brush, carefully remove brown scales then wash well under cold running water to remove dirt before cooking; trim woody stems. Boil fiddleheads in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes (or steam for 20 minutes.) Serve at once with a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter and a squeeze of lemon.
Cooked fiddleheads can also be used like blanched or steamed asparagus in pasta, quiches or omelettes. They also make lovely salads when tossed with diced tomatoes and lemon-garlic vinaigrette.
How to freeze fiddleheads
Fiddleheads freeze well and, due to their short season, many people like to put some away for later use. To freeze, remove scales and wash thoroughly then boil in a small amount of water at a time for two minutes. Drain and let cool. Pack in freezer bags and store up to one year.
Note: Health Canada advises that fiddleheads should be cooked thoroughly before eating. Consuming raw or undercooked fiddleheads may cause diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.