Choices and Request for Participation

Hello All,

I will post this weeks choices in a few minutes - to provide you with more choice and to test how we can manage in this situation of choice, this week you have the choice between Chives or Lovage and Cabbage and Kale. PLEASE pay attention so you make the choices that match each other:)) This will be interesting. AND please pay attention at pickup to get the right box:))  ~ Have a great weekend! 

We have been asked if we will participate in a recipe development. Here are the details. If you are interested, go ahead and be in touch with Philip. 

About this recipe

I am writing a book on fermented foods made with local ingredients, and am considering including this recipe. I will incorporate feedback from people who test it before finalizing.

If you make the recipe, I’d appreciate your feedback on the following points:

Please send feedback to philip@moscovitch.com

 

Spicy fermented nettle

Intro:

This section includes background on nettles and how to handle them. If you are familiar with these precautions already, feel free to skip straight to the recipe below.

Nettles have a long history of use for medicinal purposes, but many people see them as weeds, or as a nuisance which will quickly take over your garden if you’re not careful.

Sure, you can try to eradicate them, but a more fun (and tasty) solution is to eat them. Over the last few years, people have been re-discovering them, and using them in tasty preparations including nettle pesto and steamed nettle greens. Here is a simple and tasty way to enjoy some fermented nettles.

Before we get into the recipe though, a note of caution.

These greens are called “stinging nettles” for a reason. If you touch their leaves, you will feel a distinct sharp sting that may persist as a tingly or slightly itchy sensation. I confess that I don’t mind this feeling. After the first couple of stings, I get used to it, and even start to slightly enjoy it. Then again, I had a grandmother who lived in the mountains of Greece and would strike her back with nettles, because she said it got her circulation going and helped with her arthritis.

If you want to avoid being stung, wear gloves in the kitchen, and gloves and long sleeves if you are harvesting your own nettles.

And don’t worry about stinging your tongue. Cooking or fermenting the plants will get rid of the sting, and you’ll just be left with tasty greens.

 

Ingredients:

Brine:

 

Method:

Fermenting vegetables is not like canning or baking – there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to amounts, so don’t worry too much about the precise measure of any individual ingredient.

 

  1. Make the brine: Add the salt to the water, and stir well to dissolve. Set aside. Water should be unchlorinated. If it is not, use a Brita or similar filter, or prepare the brine several hours in advance and let it sit.
  2. Wash the nettle, and if it has any thick stalks remove and discard them.
  3. Put the nettle in the brine and submerge it. Use a plate to cover it and a weight to press it down so the nettle remains underwater (a glass measuring cup works well). Leave overnight or for up to 24 hours.
  4. Drain the nettle in a colander, but don’t squeeze out any excess water. (If you like, at this point you can snack on a couple of the crunchy, salty stalks too).
  5. Once the nettle has drained, taste a leaf. It should be quite salty, with a good bite, but still pleasant to taste. If it seems too salty, soak it in plain water for a few minutes. If it is not salty enough, add a bit of salt.
  6. Put your pile of wet nettle on a cutting board and slice it crosswise, then place in a bowl.
  7. Crush or dice the garlic, grate the ginger, and finely dice the hot peppers. (It would be prudent to wear gloves while dicing the peppers.) The amounts of each of these ingredients depend on your tastes. As written, the recipe should be deliciously spicy and garlicky, but not overwhelmingly so. I have a neighbour who grows habaneros, and she gave me some in the fall to freeze. That’s what I’ve used for this recipe, but you can use whatever peppers you like.
  8. Add the spices to the nettle and mix thoroughly. Whether you use your hands or an implement, mash or squeeze the nettle well. Some dark green juice may come out of it. If it does, don’t dump it out.
  9. Squish the nettle and spice mixture into a half-pint Mason jar, preferably one with a standard, narrow neck. As you squeeze the nettle down, some liquid will come out of it. The nettle should be completely covered by the liquid. If it’s not, add a bit of the juice from the bowl.
  10. If you have a cabbage leaf handy, mush it under the shoulders of the jar. It will help keep your fermenting nettle submerged.
  11. Also, if you have brine from other fermented products at home (kimchi, sauerkraut, brined Kosher pickles) add a bit of this liquid to the jar to speed up the fermentation process.
  12. Cover the jar with a standard or plastic mason jar lid. If you use a metal lid, place plastic wrap or parchment paper under the ring so the salty brine does not corrode the metal.

Fermentation:

Now the magic happens. Leave the jar in a warmish place, or at room temperature. Over the next week or two, the nettles will start to ferment. You may see bubbles forming, and the liquid could spill out, so it’s a good idea to place the jar on a dish.

Open the lid of the jar every day to release pressure and to check that the nettle is submerged. If any has risen to the surface, push it down using clean fingers.

You are unlikely to see any whitish surface mold, but if you do, you can simply skim it off. The submerged contents will still be good to eat.

After a week or so, taste the nettle. The flavours should be deepening and becoming more complex. When the nettle has reached a flavour you like, put it in the fridge. This will stop the fermentation.

Serve as a condiment with dishes such as fried rice, tofu scramble, stir fries, or miso soup. Or pair it with anything else you think might work.

 

Spicy Fermented Nettles

By Philip Moscovitch

Feedback: philip@moscovitch.com