Sunday, May 3, 2009

First Food from the Garden '09!

I'm not really sure how I survive all Winter without gardening.  There's something about being outside, dirt caked under my fingernails and smeared up my legs, that makes me feel alive.  I'm not sure if it's the actual act of planting, watering, and growing food or just the fact that I'm outside touching the Earth that makes me feel this way.  

And, really, it doesn't matter why it makes me feel so awesome.  But if you want, you can pick apart the dirt and analyze why it makes people happy...

Those of you familiar with the Minnesota growing season may wonder what the heck I'm already harvesting from my garden when it was 40 degrees just a few days ago.  Well, it's actually not food I planted.

When we moved into this house there was a empty spot next to the garage covered in large pavers and surrounded by stinging nettles.  After stinging myself silly and breaking my weed whacker, I resorted to guerilla weeding techniques to remove them.  [Maybe gardening makes me feel better because I can take out any aggression on weeds?]  A machete would have come in handy.  

Now that nettle patch is filled with raspberries, blackberries and strawberries slowly waking up after the Winter.  The nettles are nothing like they once were, but you can never really get rid of nettles.  


Honestly, though, I don't really want to get rid of ALL of them.  

They're the first thing up in the spring, filled with iron, calcium, and vitamin K, and can help treat allergies.  Sure, they hurt a little when you pick them.  But the good outweighs the bad, especially when you pick them when they're young and not as stingy.  


Once you have a basketful of young, tender nettle leaves, just wash and dry them.  Heat some Earth Balance in a small saucepan and toss in some garlic scapes (just chop off a few tops of your garlic plants) and the nettles.  About 10 seconds later, they're done.  Still bright green and wilted to about 1/118 of their original size.
These are amazingly delicious.  Rich and buttery from the Earth Balance and fresh and spinachy-tasting like Spring should be.  So go out to your yard right now and do a little weeding.

Question for you cat lovers:

Has anyone else seen a cat that stretches out completely on its belly like Trouble cat?  It looks like her legs are broken, but she just stretches out like this all the time!


11 comments:

aimee said...

Yep! My fat cat does this out on a cool, concrete slab in the hottest part of the summer. Silly kitty!

Catherine said...

Your cat needs a cape! Looks like super-kitty!

legallyvegan said...

Nettles sound good! I'll have to look for them!

Lily Girl said...

One of our kitties sleeps almost like that; she doesn't usually stretch out her back legs but she *always* lays with one or both of her legs stretched all the way out. It looks so funny. She's also the one who will eat absolutely anything we give her. We refer to her as our dog.

aTxVegn said...

What a good kitty stretch!

Oooo, I just don't know about eating those nettles! I have stalks of them an inch thick and I can't pull them out without a weed digger. They make me itch like crazy - do you think they would bother me if I ate them?

On the other hand, a bunch of fresh berries would be delightful!

Liz said...

Good to know my kitty is not the only one with super-stretchy legs!

aTxVegn- Yeah, watch out for the big nettles. They're best when they are babies for eating, but cooking them disables the stingers. As long as you can harvest them safely they should be okay to eat. Easier said than done, though...

Blake said...

Almost all the dogs I know do this, but I've never seen a cat do it!

You inspired me to grow a few herbs of my own. It's a small start. :)

Vegetation said...

I've never eaten nettles before. The idea intrigues me!

And haha, I love your kitty! It never stops amazing me the strange ways cats find to be comfortable.

amy said...

My kitty Delilah lays like this all the time. Especially when she's tired from some serious playing. I see her in this position several times a day. I'm glad to know she's not the only weirdo out there. Kitties are so cute!

Erin said...

Nettles! I've only had nettles once, at Millenium back in January, but the flavor was quite good!

Haha, my cat lays like that sometimes, I call it his superman pose.

Beth said...

Yes, my cat does this ALL THE TIME!! It's so funny. She has the strangest sleep poses. Another silly one is on her belly, chin down on the floor, and one or both front legs bent back so they look like flippers.

Gotta love 'em.