Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wild greens! Spring nettle quiche

Wild spring nettles are up!  Our patch in the woodland part of the yard is blooming well, and we were able to make some of our favourite nettle foods this weekend - nettle tea, nettle greens smoothie, and nettle quiche.  Nettle pairs well with so many foods, tasting a bit like a bitter dandelion or spinach.  Delicious with eggs and cheese (try our nettle-kopita recipe), but wonderful with honey in a strongly brewed herbal infusion.  It also makes a great addition to a herbal shampoo as it softens and conditions hair.

Nettle (Urtica dioica) also known as stinging nettle, is rich in iron and minerals.  Traditionally it has been used as a skin purifier, to aid rheumatism, help with allergies (hay fever), stimulate the digestive organs, to help promote milk production in nursing mothers, and so much more.

Keep in mind when harvesting that nettle stalks and stems are covered with tiny hairs that are very prickly and will sting the bare skin, thus the name "stinging" nettle.  For some foragers this is not an issue (you can gt used to the stinging over time) but as a new forager be mindful to harvest wearing gloves, long pants and closed shoes (not a great idea of walk with shorts or sandals into a tall nettle patch unless you don't mind the stinging), or very very carefully and slowly.  Once nettles are steamed, infused, or cooked the sting is completely gone.

Here is our recipe for nettle quiche:

Nettle Quiche
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
salt and pepper to taste
cheese of choice (e.g. feta, cheddar), about 1-2 cups
large handful washed fresh nettles, chopped
green onions and/or garlic greens
1 Tbsp butter, melted
one single-crust unbaked pie dough, arranged in pie pan

Whisk eggs and milk.
Add salt and pepper.
Put cheese, greens and other veggies into bottom of pie crust.
Pour egg-milk mixture on top of greens.
Pour butter onto the egg-mixture.
Bake at 400F for about 30 min.
Makes one large quiche.

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