WELL SEASONED

The Blog

Welcome to our award winning blog

 

Here you can find a collection of our thoughts, reports and ramblings together with some fun things we find along the way. We try to update the blog at least once a week and more often during busy periods so make sure you check back regularly..

By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Apr 11 2017 08:00AM

At this time of year we start to see some real growth in the garden. Unfortunately for the aesthetic horticulturalist, that often means weeds rather than seedlings.


In April you really need to stay on top of things in the garden if you want to avoid undesirable interlopers. The lack of frosts and plenty of rain means its boom time for garden weeds.


But there is an upside if, like us, you find it difficult to keep things tidy in the garden. As well as being much better for wildlife, you'll occasionally get a crop that you didn't intend to grow. One in particular comes into season in early spring, and if you can bear to leave a small patch of them growing in your garden, they'll provide you with your first green (and free) meal of the year.


We are, of course, talking about stinging nettles. The first young shoots will have started to grow in mid-February so by now you should have a decent, harvestable crop.


You'll need a plastic bag and a good pair of gloves. To get flavoursome and delicate leaves, only pick the first few centimetres of the plant tips. As with most freshly picked, green leaves, nettles will keep for a few days in the fridge.


There is a definite spinachy tang to nettle leaves and they can be used in most recipes as a substitute (although you should probably avoid using them in salad.) In terms of accompaniments, you'll find that nettles have an affinity for nutmeg and most recipes will be perked up by a fresh grating. You can also make a simple, refreshing nettle tea from half a dozen fresh leaves left to infuse in boiling water for a few minutes.


By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Feb 18 2015 03:22PM

Although still pretty cold outside, the sky is blue and, when it comes out, there is some warmth in the sun, so we're just starting to think about getting back into the garden.


Now, the WS team are known for a few things, but being neat gardeners isn't one of them. (This was brought home a few years ago when we were threatened with eviction from the WS allotment because the local council thought it had been left derelict. It's probably fair to say we hadn't exactly been prioritising the aesthetics of the place.)


If occasional visits from the allotment police are the downside of being a messy gardener, the upside is that, as well as all those plants you did intend to grow, you'll occasionally get a crop that you didn't. One in particular is coming into season right now, and if you can bear to leave a small patch of them growing in your garden, they'll provide you with your first green (and free) meal of the year. We are, of course, talking about stinging nettles. The first young shoots are just starting to grow (in mid-February) and you should have a decent harvestable crop by March/April.


Nettles have an earthy flavour with a taste similar to spinach and they lend themselves to any number of dishes, the only real exception being salad; you'll always need to cook or blanch the leaves before using them.


Gather a good bag full of the first tender leaves of the year* and try them in one of our favourite recipes:


Nettle soup - the classic way to enjoy nettles.


Nettle pesto - as pesto aficionados, we can never resist this.


Nettle lasagne - a deliciously green alternative to the traditional.



*Do we need to tell you to wear gloves? Probably - there's always one... Wear gloves.

RSS Feed

Web feed

502-shortlistbutton_runnerup-v2