Nettle Soup and Advisors at the Farmers’ Market

“G’day”.
(That’s what my Grandpa would say while holding out his hand for a Snickers before letting you on the boat.)

That’s what I said to my cool Masters advisor, Ralph Martin, at the Guelph Farmer’s Market this morning. I run into him all over the place: Moksha yoga, biking down the street, farmers’ market, and (pretty obviously) campus. Today it was a short “G’day” as I was in a bit of a rush to get to the Guelph Center for Urban Organic Farming for their seedling sale. He asked how things (with the Masters) were going. I said “Yah, they’re going pretty well. You should come by and see the sites some time.”

He agreed. He said that he would really enjoy that.

What I was really thinking was: “Ahhh, I’m doing alright. It’s been a bit crazy, actually. I finally got all the equipment I need for sampling the soil (for fungi and bacteria levels, and physical properties). I am hoping to do all the sampling next week so that I can get the understory (under the apple tree) plants in the ground. The last 12 apple trees, which have been heeled into sand for the past week, are being planted tomorrow up at the Ignatius Farm. It’s going to be good. Plant, plant, plant, yup! What’s been really amazing is all the volunteers that keep coming out and shedding their sweat to help me get these plants in. That’s what is really awesome! They keep coming back, too. It’s like they’re enjoying it or something (big wink!). You should come out when it’s all planted and see how beautiful it is.”

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Yeah, that’s what I should’ve said. Then I ran off to the GCUOF plant sale.

later, I was up at the Ignatius Farm looking at (one of) the sites and realized that I was surrounded by nettle. Now, If you were the kind of person that would pop-a-squat in nettle when you were younger, you might have been terrified, but I was exhilarated. “Yes! Fresh greens.” So I took ’em home after watering my siberian pea shrubs and comfrey (they’re still potted waiting to get planted).

Then I made a Nettle Soup!

It’s kind of like making a good soup and adding nettle. Another example is like kale soup, but with nettle. It’s pretty simple, yah.

Here’s how I did it (Ingredients/Directions):

– soaked 2 cups dried green lentils for 2-8 hours
– removed leaves from nettle stem (with gloves)
– chopped up 4 stalks of celery
– chopped up 2 med white onions
– chopped up 2 carrots (they were orange)
– half cup flax seeds
– 5 cups water (add more as needed)
– 1 tbsp oil (I used coconut)
-2 tsp sea salt
– 1 tbsp black pepper
– 1 tbsp curry powder
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1 tsp basil (dried)
– 1 tsp cumin
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***The more of these ingredients that we can grow ourselves the better (leave your tips on how you grow some or substitute some that I’ve used with more local options)

I placed the soaked lentils in a big soup pot with the 5 cups of water. Put to boil. Added the nettle next (you want these to have a good amount of time in that hot water so that the thistles dissolve). Then I popped in the celery, carrots and onions. Turned the boil down to a good simmer (med heat). At about 8 minutes I added everything else. Stirred occasionally and smelled the wonderful wafts of goodness often. After about 25-30 minutes from beginning the lentils I turned the heat off and scooped myself a good bowl’s worth.

Then I sat down, thanked the farmers and the land for the good food and enjoyed a healthy bowl of nettle soup. It’s really great. Here’s a forum at Permies.com about harvesting and eating nettles. Get into it!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for future goodies about the masters. If you haven’t already, “LIKE” Many Rivers Permaculture on Facebook and follow us @WAWWEMP on Twitter.

Keep up the good,
-Paul Lion 

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