Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Stinging Nettle & Garlic Puree: Putting Up a Bit of Spring
But I reallyreallyreally love the process of stuffing our coffers with all the delicious flavors that summertime offers. And I get a serious kick out of bringing a creative spin to all the delicious foodstuffs we decide to "put up."
Last year we started our preserving adventures somewhere in mid to late summer. We froze Door County peaches and we made both pickled and candied jalapeno peppers. We perfected our tomatillo salsa and stockpiled both roasted red and poblano peppers. We managed to put up enough fruit to get us through the winter without buying very much at all, except a few errant bunches of bananas for our morning smoothies. And we enjoyed fresh-frozen pesto right up through the first weeks in June. But, this year, I wanted to begin the adventures sooner. After all, there are a great many early summer delights that can be harvested and preserved.
I've been inspired for years by the foraging prowess of Langdon Cook, Pacific Northwest resident, foraging expert, published author and blogger at Fat of the Land. Although Langdon presents a phenomenally wide repertoire of both adventures and recipes, I've been most inspired by some of this writings on stinging nettles. His love for these humble weeds made me anxious to find some of my very own. And I can report success this summer, thanks to Dave Swanson of Braise and the amazing farmers over at Keewaydin Organic Farm in Viola, Wisconsin.
This year I was the proud recipient of just over 2 pounds of fresh stinging nettles.I was almost giddy as I slipped on a pair of latex gloves in preparation to wash and trim my nettles.
Since nettles must be blanched to rid them of their infamous stinging barbs, we brought a large pot of cold water to a rolling boil and began the process.
We blanced and chopped and pulsed and blended. And we ended up with a delicious and pesto-like nettle and green garlic paste, which I could easily freeze in manageable portions for use all winter long.
It was a simple thing. But, it made me oh-so-very happy.
I can't wait to see what we'll put up next.
©BURP! Where Food Happens
Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at DEVOUR Milwaukee, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.