My recipe is:
*1/2 cup olive oil
* 5 large cloves of garlic, chopped
* 2 and 1/2 cups of stinging nettle tops, rinsed
* 1/2 cup of Bragg’s nutritional yeast (cheese substitute – I’m not vegan, I just like it)
* 1/2 cup of almonds (pine nuts are expensive right now!)
* A splash of water
After just a taste, I felt incredibly energetic. ‘Invigorated’ is the right word indeed! (Raw garlic might have factored into the zing, too). But if you’d prefer it without the oomph, wear gloves and make it the same way, then heat the pesto in a pan before you eat it. I just did that for dinner and it was incredible — smooth, creamy, delicious! Or try Seattle forager Langdon Cook’s more traditional version here.
Nettle, Urtica spp, is just barely tall enough to harvest here in the Pacific Northwest. It’ll be past its prime once it flowers in late May (as pictured). A sustainable way to harvest this plant is just to cut off the top few inches with a pair of scissors. It’ll grow back. This is called “deadheading.” Look for nettle in shady places, like forests and alleyways. It has a square stem like a mint. The flavor is similar to spinach.
Note: Stinging nettle contains formic acid, the same chemical that makes ant bites sting.
Happy harvesting! Put a real zing in your step! Share this post with your family and friends and give this unique pesto recipe a try.
Explore many more wild plants on the Search Plants! page.