douglas fir needles

Find tasty recipes here

Every spring there are these little green plants that pop up out of the ground and sting you when you touch them, of course I’m talking about: Nettles. Who would have thought that they would be one of the most delicious greens in the world. Not to mention one of the most nutritious, they are jam packed full of vitamins A, C, K, and B! Not to mention the anti-inflammatory properties these green gems have.

When shopping for these little guys they can fetch a really high price, but living in the PNW we have a huge opportunity. They grow everywhere in America, but they seem to grow particularly well in our wet rain-foresty environment. You will be able to find them in areas that are well lit and very moist, most easily near rivers, streams, lakes, and around farm land (that’s why they grow so well on the 21 Acres Farm!).  They literally grow EVERYWHERE you just have to know what you’re looking for. Here are some tips to go about harvesting them:

  • Tender young greens are best, so right when they are just beginning to peak up out of the ground.
  • There will be two harvest times during the season. In the early Spring March through April and sometimes into early May and early Fall when the mature plants start shooting new sprouts.
  • When harvesting wear gloves and pinch very hard. Pinching hard will reduce the gentle fibers from stinging you.
  • Always forage more than you think you need. When cooked they reduce in size by 75%.
  • Always cook them and do not eat them raw or your mouth will be really unhappy with you.

Now that you know all there is about harvesting nettles, you are ready to make the most delicious and beautiful cake known to man. As I was cruising around on the internet, I ran across this amazing Nettle Cake by The Wondersmith. I made this cake following their directions to a T and it turned out just wonderful! The flavor of the nettles and the citrus was a flavor profile I didn’t know I needed to try. Sweet and citrus + earthy greens = amazing!

If you’re seeking new and creative recipe ideas take a look here. Some of these are tried and true from our kitchen team, others are staff favorites and many are from volunteers and Farm Market customers. All feature local ingredients from farms who use sustainable and regenerative practices. Tell us if you find one that you like!

Select Season