Thursday, May 28, 2015

Todays bags have something new for you – fresh wild raspberry leaves. They can be used for tea, a very soothing tea with a little honey or some raw sugar. Native Americans believed the raspberry leaf tea was an aid in childbirth. It does strengthen the walls of the uterus over time. (Given it’s effects on the uterine walls, if you are pregnant, please do not consume this tea without consulting with your physician.) It also aids in keeping your mouth tissues and gums in good health. Simply chop up a dozen leaves, steep them in boiling water for ten minutes and then strain the tea into a cup with a little honey before you go to bed or as a treat in the middle of the afternoon.

In addition to the raspberry leaves we have our mix of Spring Greens for you again. This is probably the last time we will be harvesting from this bunch. As hard as we try (read as hard as MARY tries), some of the greenhouse dirt can be a little stubborn after six weeks. Please give your lettuces a wash and a spin before you eat them this week. The oregano we have sent along today is good to go!

There is a bag of Chickweed again, too. We do so love this little wild green…especially tossed with a little walnut oil and lemon juice! If you want something a little different, try this -

Chickweed pesto is one of my favorite food staples. We like to have chickweed pesto as many times as possible during the season. We put it on our eggs in the morning and enjoy a dollop on top of meats and veggies throughout the day. It also makes a great sandwich spread. Got lots of chickweed? Freeze it in ice cube trays for later!

Ingredients - 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced - 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil - 2-3 cups freshly picked young chickweed leaves - 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese - dash of sea salt - handful of walnuts or pine nuts(optional) -tablespoon of lemon juice (optional) - lemon zest (optional)
And if you want something REALLY different, here’s how to make a chickweed salve – macerate about 1/2 cup of the leaves and mix it with a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. That’s it! And it’s great for your skin or on minor burns or skin eruptions. It’s a soothing salve for diaper rash, too.

Now that you’ve had a chance to try the nettles on your own, we’d like to share a couple of our favorite recipes, starting with Garlicky Nettle Pesto – we give you about 1/4 pound of nettles so you will need to pick some more or adjust this recipe by 1/2 -

Makes: 1 generous cup
1/2 pound nettles
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer for the nettles. Add the nettles directly from their bag and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Dump into a colander to drain. When the nettles are cool enough to handle, wrap them in a clean dishtowel and wring out as much moisture as possible, like you would for spinach. You’ll have about a cup of cooked, squished nettles.
In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the paddle attachment, whirl the garlic, pine nuts, salt, and pepper to taste until finely chopped. Add the nettles, breaking them up as you drop them in, and the lemon juice and whirl until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Add the cheese, pulse briefly, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice.

And a here’s a nettle/sweet potato soup that’s out of this world -

Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced and a baking potato, peeled and diced – 3 or 4 scallions from your bag, also minced - As much garlic as you wish, minced finely
Spices: cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, star anise – take your pick and add them in the last five minutes of cooking time
Lots of fresh nettle tops
A can of garbanzo beans and organic vegetable stock, about 3 pints

Simmer it all together until the potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes. You can whirl it all together with your hand blender if you like or enjoy just the way it is.