nettle pesto

I recently finished an 8-day work hitch out in the backcountry so have a few days to catch up on things like paying bills and blog posts. I’ll start off with a brief update on some foraging we’ve done this summer. I have been carrying my “Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies” book with me most places and trying to learn some of the edibles in my new backyard. After all, foraged plants come from the ultimate polyculture.

One of my favorite finds has been stinging nettle. Stingining nettle can be found in most places, and is rich in good vitamins and minerals. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about eating something that stings my hand, but it turned out delicious, and I assure you– it didn’t sting my mouth. Nettle can be made into tea or added to lasagna, among other things, but pesto is a satisfying way to use up an abundance of free nettles.

1. We first went for a hike, and found some nettles. They are easily mistaken for wild mint in these parts, but just touch them and you’ll know the difference. We grabbed (with gloved hands) several bunches. It is better to use young plants, or at least the more tender tops of older plants.

tony with stinging nettle

tony with stinging nettle

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Joel Salatin Workshop

Last weekend, Tony and I made a long jaunt up to northern Idaho to catch the all-day Joel Salatin workshop, part of a 2 week “animals in permaculture” course. As an added bonus, Paul Wheaton of Permies.com was speaking the night before. Idaho is less than an hour away from us, but northern Idaho is another story. It turned out to be somewhere between 12 and 13 hours of driving each way, but it was worth it. It was nice to visit an area of the country we’d never really been to before. Northern Idaho is it’s own world. It felt like Wisconsin to Tony — very humid and a monstrous morning thunderstorm. There are mostly large monocrop wheat fields in the area, but the rolling green hills were beautiful.

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(Joel Salatin and Paul Wheaton)

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