Last week, Cooper harvested stinging nettle from the front yard by pinching off the leaves at the very top of the plant. Stinging nettle is abundant up here in the North Country and has a very hearty taste. When foraging for nettle, make sure to wear gloves to avoid getting stung.
3 cups raw stinging nettles
3 medium garlic cloves
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Using tongs or gloves, measure 3 tightly packed cups of raw young nettle tops. Add them to salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, drain immediately and then place the greens in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Cool, strain and squeeze dry.
Coarsely chop the nettles to make about 1 cup. Add them to the bowl of a food processor with the garlic cloves and sunflower seeds. Slowly add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.
The resources that were used in harvesting the nettles and preparing the pesto were: “The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants” by Samuel Thayer and Edible Portland.