These are lean times on Nickum Farm. The six chickens are laying a combined three eggs per week, the garden rows are still spoken of in the future tense, and nothing edible is growing anywhere on our property unless you count the patch of swiss chard and I do not count the patch of swiss chard.
Obviously, we have no choice but to venture into the woods to gather nettles, regardless of the stinging danger they possess. Amelia and Hazel and I bravely set out and gathered a grocery bag full of these healthy green leaves. We brought them home, trimmed off any woody stems, and boiled them in a pot of salted water.
The amazing thing about nettles is not that the sting vanishes when you cook it, it's that the leaves shrink down so much you genuinely question whether it was worth the effort. That grocery bag of leaves somehow barely fills a quart-size ziplock bag when cooked. Despite this, the chopped leaves provide a peppery punch to soups, sauces, and for us, ravioli filling and pasta dough.
There are no shortage of nettle pasta or ravioli recipes on the internet and I will not clutter it with one of my own, but I will say mine is better and we froze a bunch and I'm willing to share it with friends who come for dinner.