Nettlefest

11th Annual Nettlefest

Photos are being posted on Facebook as fast as the plants themselves are coming out of the ground. It’s the middle of February and the nettles are coming up, and I’m as excited as everyone else seems to be. Nothing says spring on Galiano quite like the prickly, tasty, little nettles that grow everywhere. Tasty, green, with Vitamin C that is especially welcome after the long wet winter we’ve had. (Anyone who’s tried Dora’s “green bull” will appreciate what a boost nettles can give.)

When you are picking nettles for cooking, choose the young and tender leaves, usually the top four or six on a plant. Use scissors to cut the tip so you don’t damage the plant. Nettles are delicious – but most first-time nettle eaters are nervous about being stung. Use kitchen or garden gloves when you are picking and in the kitchen until the nettles are processed in some way. Once the fresh nettles are steamed, frozen, dried or cooked the sting is neutralized. There are lots of different ways to use nettles. After watching the entries for the cooking competition over the last few years I’ve learned that there’s nothing you can’t do with nettles, from scrambled eggs to ice cream! My personal favourites are nettle pizza and a nettle pakora.

This year, the Galiano Community Food Program’s 11th Annual Nettlefest runs April 6th to 8th. There will be a cooking class on Friday night, a foraging walk on Saturday morning, the community nettle pick on Saturday afternoon, and of course the community potluck on the Sunday evening, with the increasingly popular nettle cooking competition. Check the website for all the details. There’s lots to do, lots of ways to volunteer and get involved. Come celebrate spring on Galiano.

2018-04-27T00:01:54+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments

11th Annual Nettlefest Festival

Photos are being posted on Facebook as fast as the plants themselves are coming out of the ground. It’s the middle of February and the nettles are coming up, and I’m as excited as everyone else seems to be. Nothing says spring on Galiano quite like the prickly, tasty, little nettles that grow everywhere. Tasty, green, with Vitamin C that is especially welcome after the long wet winter we’ve had. (Anyone who’s tried Dora’s “green bull” will appreciate what a boost nettles can give.)

When you are picking nettles for cooking, choose the young and tender leaves, usually the top four or six on a plant. Use scissors to cut the tip so you don’t damage the plant. Nettles are delicious – but most first-time nettle eaters are nervous about being stung. Use kitchen or garden gloves when you are picking and in the kitchen until the nettles are processed in some way. Once the fresh nettles are steamed, frozen, dried or cooked the sting is neutralized. There are lots of different ways to use nettles. After watching the entries for the cooking competition over the last few years I’ve learned that there’s nothing you can’t do with nettles, from scrambled eggs to ice cream! My personal favourites are nettle pizza and a nettle pakora.

This year, the Galiano Community Food Program’s 10th Annual Nettlefest runs April 6th to 8th. There will be a cooking class on Friday night, a foraging walk on Saturday morning, the community nettle pick on Saturday afternoon, and of course the community potluck on the Sunday evening, with the increasingly popular nettle cooking competition. Check the website for all the details. There’s lots to do, lots of ways to volunteer and get involved. Come celebrate spring on Galiano.

2018-02-28T22:53:40+00:00 February 28th, 2018|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments

Nettlefest 2013

This years Nettlefest Potluck will be happening on March 30th at 5:30pm at the South Community Hall. This year we have a special request – please wear green to the dinner!!

Nettle Picking starts at 10:30am. Meet at the Community Hall with baskets, clippers and GLOVES to Carpool to the picking spot.

Kitchen starts at noon at the hall. Volunteers will be making Nettle Bread and soup together.

Potluck Dinner starts at 5:30pm.

Come sing your nettle song or read your spring poem ! Come get involved in this annual Galiano celebration of Spring!!!

Nettle Vendors are welcome to set up a table in the hall for the evening. Contact us if you’re interested.

2018-05-20T19:02:46+00:00 March 20th, 2013|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments

Nettles by Emma Luna Davis

The 6th Annual Galiano Nettlefest Community Potluck  will take place on March 30th.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a herbaceous flowering perennial, native to North America, Asia Europe, and northern Africa. The plant has long been used as a medicine and a vitamin-rich food source. It has a pleasant, grassy flavour, with a slightly metallic tang, similar to spinach. In spring, stinging nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable.

After soaking or heating to remove the sting, the leaves can be dried, puréed, or substituted for spinach in any recipe. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant in northern and eastern Europe.

The plant has hollow hairs on its leaves and stems which act like needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that sting on contact. If you do get stung, a weed that often grows near stinging nettles, yellow dock (Rumex crispus), can be used as a home remedy. An ancient British charm goes: “Nettle out, dock in, dock remove the nettle sting.”

Nettles grow 3-7 feet tall in the summer and die back in winter. They spread by seeds and  runners. Nettles are considered invasive plants, but that also means they’re easy to find and easy to propagate. The plant grows quickly and attracts beneficial insects such as butterflies. It likes partial to full sun and is drought tolerant.

Nettles contain a lot of nitrogen, so they are used as a compost activator and to make liquid fertilizer. They are one of the few plants that can flourish in soils rich in poultry droppings.

Kathy Benger’s Nettle Beer Recipe

Into a pan holding one and half gallons, pack as many young fresh nettle tops as you can, with three young dandelion plants, leaves and roots alike, but with no flower-buds. Now wash nettles and dandelions thoroughly in salted water and scrub the dandelion roots free of fibres. Then rinse them all free of salt and put them back into the pan with the rind and juice of two lemons, half a pound of rhubarb sliced and bruised and three or four pieces of root-ginger about the size of hazel nuts. Then put in as much cold water as the pan will hold, set it on the stove and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for half an hour.

Then put into a basin one pound of demerara sugar with an ounce of cream of tartar, and strain on to it the infusion in the pan, pressing the residue lightly to express all the moisture. When, in a few hours, the yeast has multiplied and there is a good ferment working, strain off the beer into strong screw-topped bottles and screw down firmly. The beer will be ready in five days.

2018-05-20T18:53:18+00:00 February 20th, 2013|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments

Nettles! The Super Plant by Alison Colwell

The 5th Annual Nettlefest Community Potluck will be happening on March 17th.

One of the first real signs of spring on Galiano, and one of my favourite wild foods, are the new nettle shoots that start poking out of the ground early in the Spring. At a time when we’ve been living on frozen veggies, or cabbage and root vegetables, fresh greens are a welcome sight. Plus there’s the additional benefit that nettles are actually good for us. Nettles are extremely rich in vital nutrients, including vitamin D, which is rare in plants; vitamins C and A; and minerals, including iron, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Nettle preparations also have been shown to be effective in controlling hay fever symptoms. They are good for arthritis and eczema.

Our local nettle – Urtica dioica – is a well-known type of nettle, but it’s not the only type. There are about 30 to 40 types in the Urticaceae family. There is a type in New Zealand that grows as tall as a tree and the sting has proved deadly to dogs and horses.

Nettle is best used for food when they are first coming up in the spring. Keep in mind that once the stems have started to elongate and they begin to flower, the leaves aren’t as tender. The color of the nettle leaves may vary from a light shade of green to dark green to a dark reddish-purple. Any of these leaf colorations is good for eating. However, it is said that the nettle leaves with more purple color indicates it’s richer in iron mineral.

Nettles are delicious – but most first time nettle eaters are nervous about being stung. However, once the nettles are steamed, frozen, dried or cooked the sting is neutralized. There are lots of different ways to use nettles: Make a fresh batch of healing nettle tea with either fresh or dried nettles, Use fresh nettle in scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, casseroles, and soups. You can cook nettles and eat them as you would steamed spinach — their taste and appearance are similar. Make powdered nettle by grinding dried nettle leaves in a coffee grinder. You can also juice nettles and combine the juice with other fresh juices, such as carrot or apple juice.

Here’s a great, simple recipe to use with spring nettles. Use this pesto on pasta, bread or anywhere you would use a basil pesto.

Alison’s Nettle Pesto

Steam (very slightly) 3 cups nettle leaves. (No stems)

Process in the food processor, in the following order:

6 garlic cloves

1/2 cup walnuts

Steamed nettle

Dash each of salt and pepper

Dash lemon juice

While the blade is turning, slowly add up to 1 cup olive oil.

Then add 1 cup parmesan.

2018-05-04T19:56:19+00:00 February 4th, 2012|Categories: Food Program, Nettlefest|0 Comments
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