In season: Nettles

1D2A5099.jpg

Nettles are often compared to spinach in taste and how you use them in cooking. But did you know nettles are said to be even healthier than spinach? They are filled with vitamins and minerals and really tasty in soups, bread, as a dried powder mixed in smoothies or porridge or instead of basil in a pesto. And the best thing – they grow in the wild in the Nordics and you can pick them for free.

Here is our guide on harvesting and cooking with nettles. And if picking nettles isn´t your cup of tea – then may we suggest you enjoy a cup of our blend Afloat with Folkboat – a mix of dried strawberries, birch leaves, licorice root and, you guessed it, dried nettles.

1D2A4937.jpg

Picking
Nettles start to appear early in the spring in southern Finland, sometimes already at the beginning of April. You can pick them already when they are around 5 cm high. If you wait a couple of weeks they will have grown to around 20–30 cm, and you can get a really big harvest. The smaller younger leaves are the tastiest. Older nettles aren’t good for your health, so avoid them. As nettles burn, you need to wear gloves when picking. Or as a man once told us: hold your breath while picking nettles, and they won´t burn. It actually works – try it! Or don´t, gloves are an easier option, together with a pair of scissors. Be sure to pick them in a clean area. 

Cooking
Nettles burn, so you can´t eat them like they are. They need to be parboiled. After that you can put them in the freezer for later use, or use them directly in cooking. You can also dry nettles and make a powder out of them. The powder is a perfect healthy boost mixed in smoothies or sprinkled on the morning porridge.

Pesto with nettles
2 dl of parboiled chopped nettles
½ dl almonds
1 dl cheese of your liking
3 garlic cloves
½ dl oil
Pepper, salt

Mix everything using a blender or a stick blender. Eat with pasta or bread.

We also recommend:
·      Helsinki Wild Foods e-book The Nettle
·      Ägräs Long Drink Nordic Nettle
·      Frantsila Dried Nettle. Frantsila is a pioneer in organic herb farming, and is also the place where the nettles in our tea come from. Be sure to check them out!

Karin Lindroos