Sunday, March 16, 2008

Careful Harvest

Here at FOTL we're in full nettle harvest mode. The other day I found Stinging Nettle Nirvana. The combative buggers were everywhere. It was a bushwhacker's nightmare. The only problem is these huge patches are on city property... Scofflawing aside, the time is now to harvest. (Don't forget your rubber gloves.) Soon the nettles near sea level will be too big. I've been finding the best ones in shady areas; nettles in full sun or even partial sun are much more robust and less tender, while the wispy shade-dwellers can be nipped off stalk and all.

We've got nettles drying on screens with a fan on high, nettles in bags waiting to be blanched and frozen, and a bucket of Sweet Potato Nettle Soup in the fridge. Soon the nettles will start emerging higher up in elevation. That's one of the many nice things about living close to mountains: the season is much longer. Foragers in the flat states have about a month or six weeks to gather their nettles before they become too bitter and stringy. Here in the Northwest, our season starts in late February and extends well into June. The same is true for morels. While May is morel month in much of the country, I've seen reports of morels found on north-facing slopes in the Cascades well into September.

I saw my first salmonberry blossoms the other day while picking nettles. Seems kind of late for this area. No doubt the overwintering Anna's hummingbirds have these early flowers dialed in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey finspot;I love this blog! I dont know if your into eating the 4inch nettle shoots but I cant get enough. [literally] Its jan 3rd and my patch is allready popping. The sandy bluffs at discovery park are carpeted with em. I thought I would mention because most authorities cite march as pickin time but the tastiest nettle nuggets are out now!