Monday, February 6, 2012

Wake Up Your Body With Nettles

The nettle patch is gorgeous right now, and we've been delighted to sell some to our favorite Italian restaurant in Ojai. They are served with homemade pastas. Think of delicate ravioli with porcini mushrooms, pancetta, and a cream sauce.

Though nettles are essentially a weed abundant in the fields, they have become a novelty food found in fancy places. They have a taste similar to spinach. They are a healthy green to eat but only eaten cooked or dried. This plant is for the daring since it's a tricky food to prepare. Take care when handling, you will want to wear rubber gloves since they will sting. Dry or steam to shed the sting.

Sauteed Nettles with Green Garlic & Olive Oil

1 1⁄4 # Nettles, Cleaned
3 tbsp. Green Garlic (Chopped)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (To Taste)

1. First preheat a large sauté pan on medium high heat, (one large enough to accommodate the nettles—you can use a large pot as well).

2. Pour 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil into the preheated pan. Then put all of the green garlic into the pan sauté briefly for about 30 seconds, just enough time for the green garlic to release its essential oils, being sure not to brown or burn the green garlic. Place the nettles into the pan and give it a good stir, let sit for just a second and then continue the stirring process.

3. Once the nettles are completely wilted place them on a plate, drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and place a couple of lemon wedges for garnish.

Note: Nettles do not have the water content of spinach or other similar greens so it helps to put a couple tablespoons of water into the pan after the nettles have started cooking, just to hurry the cooking process. Some people don't add the water, because they like the crispy texture and nutty flavor of the nettles when you sauté them.


Nettle Frittata

1/2# Cleaned Nettle Tops
4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, Chopped
6 Large Organic Eggs
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Preheat oven to 300º Cook one-third of the nettles in one tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Cook until tender adding a small amount of water if needed. Repeat this 2 more times adding the garlic on the third batch.

2. Place all of the cooked nettles on a cutting board and chop finely. Place the nettles in a bowl of a food processor with the eggs, salt, pepper and process until the nettles are incorporated into the eggs. Add the cream and process for 10 seconds.

3. Heat the non-stick pan on medium with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the nettle mixture and with a rubber spatula move the eggs around to get the entire mixture warm. Place into the oven and cook for about 12 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes then turn the frittata out onto a plate and cut


Nettle Tisane

YOU NEED: 1 pyrex measuring cup, Boiling Water, and Nettles to loosely fill 1/3 to 1/2 of the measuring cup, including stems

1. Soak the nettles in cool/cold water for a few minutes.

2. Boil the water.

3. Rinse nettles, using tongs or dishwashing gloves to not sting your hands.

4. Place cleaned nettles in measuring cup or teapot or glass bowl, pour water over to fill cup, and steep the ‘tisane’ (a tea made with fresh herb) for 5 or so minutes. Enjoy.

Recipes from Mariquita Farm

Some more about Nettles found on Wikipedia

Myths about health and wealth

Handmade soap with the extract of stinging nettle

Nettles in a pocket will keep a person safe from lightning and bestow courage.

Nettles kept in a room will protect anyone inside. (This may have arisen from common knowledge of the tremendous amount of nutrientsnettles offer, making them a powerful plant in that sense.)

Arthritic joints were sometimes treated by whipping the joint with a branch of stinging nettles. The theory was that it stimulated the adrenalsand thus reduced swelling and pain in the joint. A controlled study in the year 2000 supports the effectiveness of this treatment.[7]

Nettles are reputed to enhance fertility in men, and fever could be dispelled by plucking a nettle up by its roots while reciting the names of the sick man and his family.

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There is plenty of gozo at Rio Gozo Farm. That is JOY in Spanish and joy is one of the most dependable products we have. Gozo is commonly found in gardens and farms. Once you get a little gozo up and going it is very tolerant of most pests, withstands dry periods, and grows with a modicum of fertilizer. After gozo becomes a staple of one's diet, it goes with about anything. Actually folks crave it so much it is a wonder everyone does not have a patch of it growing close at hand. Grab up some gozo and get with the flow.