Sauteed Nettles

Stinging Nettles are amazing. They are packed full of minerals – which all of us are deficient in – and they help fight allergies. We eat tons of nettles when we can – which is only the spring and fall, before the plant has flowered. NEVER HARVEST NETTLE AFTER IT HAS STARTED TO FLOWER (it has a crystal molecular structure that will cut your insides up!).
With the fresh young nettle, we harvest the whole above-ground plant parts. WEAR GLOVES the whole time you are handling nettle. We aim for the most tender parts – the less woody the best. Only harvest from large patches, and never take more than 1/3rd of the patch. We cook them in everything, eat them like collards greens, put them in soups or fritters or anything we want. Probably our favorite way to eat nettles is sauteed!

To make this dish, simply saute the nettles (stem and all) in the oil and seasoning of your choice. They are done when you like the texture. Some people like them soggier than others. The sting will go away as soon as the nettle is cooked in the heat and its tougher parts soften. Click here for a full article on sauteing nettles.

Nettle Crisps

Everything tastes best with oil and salt! Try these crisps instead of potato chips.

  • A bowl full of young nettle leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Wash and dry the nettles, stripping the leaves from any stem. Wear gloves! Combine all seasoning ingredients of your choice in a large bowl.  Toss in your leaves, so they get a good coating. Place the nettles on a baking sheet in a single layer. Note the leaves will still sting at this stage so take care and DON’T be tempted to try one yet! (Cooking the leaves will denature the sting). Bake in a low oven around 250 F until they crisp up. How long the nettle crisps take will depend on how much moisture is in the leaves, maybe 25 minutes, turning them over once during that time.

Adapted from this recipe.

Acorn Hummus

Acorn flour can be substituted for chick peas in almost any hummus recipe. Here is one:

-3 cups of acorn flour (see leaching instructions below)
-1/2 cup of tahini
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 garlic cloves (or more to your liking) mashed and roughly chopped
-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 teaspoon of salt

Puree all ingredients until smooth – adjust taste to your liking.
(adapted from Simple Recipes)

Processing Acorns into Flour, the cold leach method

–Harvest acorns – learn about different kinds here
–Remove the shells – only use good-looking acorns
–If acorns are dried, soak them in water for a day or two. If they are fresh, skip this step
–Puree acorns until they are mush
–Put mush into a container much larger than the mush. Fill the remaining space with water. More water means faster leaching, less water means slower leaching.
–Every day for a week or less, pour the water off the top of the container and re-fill with fresh water. You are leaching the tannins out of the acorns. Taste the mush every now and then. Tannins are astringent to the tongue.
–When your mush stops tasting like anything, you are done and ready to use the acorn flour. Some people dry the flour out to store, but most people just use it wet. (acorns store best in their shell, kept in an air-tight container, protected from critters, NOT in flour form where they are more susceptible to bugs and mold)

Autumn Olive Tart

You can substitute autumn olives (Elaeagnus umbellata) in place of raspberries in most berry recipes. Autumn olives are too astringent to eat until they are fully ripe. Once ripe they have a tart, sour flavor. They blend really well with very sweet berries (like mulberries!).

2 cups of autumn olive fruit pulp
1/2–1 cup sugar (to taste)
3 tbsp. flour

CRUST (you can substitute another tart crust recipe)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup finely ground hazelnuts
1 egg
1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients to pea-sized chunks. Beat in the egg and press dough into an 11-inch buttered tart pan. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 12 minutes. (or follow directions for an alternative tart crust, if you are substituting)

Press autumn olive berries through a victoria strainer or squeezo to collect fruit pulp. Add sugar to taste. The pulp will be watery. Add the flour, which will thicken the puree and somewhat slow the separation of the juices. Pour the berry puree over the crust. Bake until puree bubbles (about 10 minutes), cool, and serve.
(Adapted from this Northern Woodlands article.)

Wild Cherry Bark Syrup

1 oz Fresh Cherry Bark
3 cups water
2 cups sugar (or 1.5 c raw honey)
1 Tablespoon vodka or lemon juice (optional)

Combine crushed *fresh cherry bark with water in a jar. Let it *cold infuse on the counter for 12+ hours. The water will change color. When it’s a nice strong color, strain out the solids – squeeze solids to get all liquid out. Add sugar or honey to the liquid, mix well. Keeps in a sterile jar for 4+ weeks. (Optional: stir in vodka or lemon juice to preserve long and well.)
*Because of the possible cyanide components of cherry bark as it breaks down, we recommend using fresh bark only and cold infusion instead of hot infusion.*

Elecampane Syrup

2 Tablespoons dried Elecampane Root
3 cups water
2 cups sugar (or 1.5 c raw honey)
1 Tablespoon vodka or lemon juice (optional)

Combine crushed Elecampane root with water in a saucepan. Simmer on low for 20 mins. Strain out the solids – squeeze solids to get all liquid out. Add sugar or honey to the liquid, mix well. Keeps in a sterile jar for 4+ weeks. (Optional: stir in vodka or lemon juice to preserve long and well.)

Witch Hazel Topical Solution

1 Tablespoon Witch Hazel Bark
1 Cup water
25% alcohol (optional)

Combine crushed Witch Hazel Bark with water in a saucepan. Simmer on low for 10 mins. Strain solids – squeeze solids to get all liquid out. Use liquid topically to clean & tighten skin, wounds. Keeps in a sterile jar for 3+ weeks.
(Optional: add 25% alcohol to preserve for years.)

Chokes Au Gratin

Note: If you are looking for ways to cook chokes, most potato recipes can be followed substituting chokes for potato equally.  The exception is chokes take a little longer than potatoes to cook through, so give your dish more cooking time than the recipe says.  If you are mixing roots together and want them to cook evenly, try boiling your chokes about 10 min first, then follow your potato recipe instructions.
-2 lb Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)
-4 Tablespoons melted butter
-salt to taste
-1 teaspoon ground pepper
-optional spices: nutmeg, spice bush, cinnamon… use tiny amounts
-fresh garlic to taste
-1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
-1 cup cheese of your choice (parmigiana, sharp cheddar, gruyere, etc)
-1 cup broth (chicken broth, or milk or cream, or half broth half cream, etc)

1. Thoroughly clean your chokes first. Cut into 1/4 inch slices
2. Add butter to 13″ x 9″ baking dish
3. Layer chokes, onions, garlic evenly in the casserole dish
4. Add spices: pepper, salt, etc., into the dish as you layer
5. Pour broth across whole dish
6. Last add cheese
7. Cover and bake on 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until tender when forked
8. Uncover and bake 20 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly
(Adapted from various online articles and experimentation.)

Sage Blossom Pesto

-2 cups sage flowers (leaves are okay too)
-1/4 cups roasted nuts (cashew, walnut or pine nuts)
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 clove garlic, peeled
-1/4 cup of onion coarsely chopped
-1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

1. Remove sage leaves and blossoms from plant stalks, if you haven’t already
2. Roast your nuts, if you haven’t already. It’s also yummy to roast your garlic and onion.
3. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get the consistency and texture you like (chunky or smooth)
4. Toss with any cooked pasta, rice, or root you like for a yummy meal!
5. Can also toss with salad greens and use the pesto like a dressing. Or place in a serving dish, top with a dollop of olive oil and squirt of lemon. Use as a dip.
(Adapted from:

Red Beet Macaroons

-3/4 C dried beets (can use sugar beets, red beets, etc).  Shred the dried beets, or grind to a powder
-5 Tbs cane sugar
-2 tsp. flour
-1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
-5 Tbs unsalted butter
-2 lg eggs, whites only

Mix all ingredients, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Consistency should be a little thicker than pancake batter – if it’s runnier, let it chill longer.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Plop tablespoonfulls of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving plenty of space between the cookies.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 until browned and firm.
(Adapted from Chelsea Gandy’s recipe, Fox Hollow Farm, Fredericktown, OH)

The perfect companion dessert to the Red Beet Macaroons is custard!  Double the macaroon recipe so you have 4 egg yolks leftover.

Baked Custard

-4 lg eggs, yolks only
-2 C milk
-1/4 – 1/2 C cane sugar
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-a pinch of cinnamon
-optional ingredients: 2-3 Tbs cocoa powder, raisins, a few Tbs jam, dried fruit, a pinch of ground spice bush

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Whisk all ingredients thoroughly.  Put them in a double boiler (a bowl resting in a pot of shallow water), and put this in the oven for 1 hour, or until the top is firm.  Remove from the oven, and when cool enough to put in the fridge, chill a couple hours.  Serve cold.
(Adapted from the Joy of Cooking, Iram Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker)

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Pizza

Quantities of these ingredients are all: as much as you want on your pizza
-Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
-Sliced Garlic
-Zucchini or other toppings (optional)
-Pizza Sauce
-Cheese (optional)

For the dough – use your favorite pizza dough recipe!  Ours is roughly this:  Use equal parts organic white flour and organic whole wheat flour, plus some organic barley flour. Salt, sugar, olive oil, yeast, water.  Work by hand. Let rise 30-40 minutes. Roll and stretch.

Cut up the amount of mushrooms you want on your pizza – as thin as you like them, but not too thin because of the next step.

“Sweat” the mushrooms (and other vegetable toppings) in a dry pan – put the pan on very low heat for awhile with the mushrooms sitting inside. Until both sides of each piece are golden brown.  Watch the pan to make sure you are “sweating” the mushrooms and not cooking them.

Fry mushrooms (and other vegetable toppings) in butter

Add sliced garlic – as much as you like – 1 minute before removing from heat

Add all ingredients to dough with sauce

Pre-heat oven to 475. When ready, bake pizza 15-20 minutes or until crust and toppings are golden brown. (or whatever your dough directions instruct you to do for cook time and temp)

(Adapted from a post by Experimental Farm Network)