Such promise in a little plant! It is very early to be picking these fellows; last year I posted elsewhere about harvesting in the first week of March - the earliest I'd ever gathered nettles.
This year it's January. I've been feeling particularly impatient to be out, picking weeds in the woods again. A little late-winter itchiness, if you will.
Crouched in deep, wet leaf-fall, stepping gingerly around ferns, we picked in silence, listening to the constant drip-drip-drip of moisture gently gathering and falling. There are days in Seattle when the weather reminds me of nothing so much as life inside a giant terrarium. Little birds twittered in the misty rain and fog as they drifted overhead, and off in a soggier depression somewhere, frogs sang their amphibious romances to each other.
A nice soak in cool water, and picking-through (with tongs!) to remove the muck and detritus.
Then a quick, 1-minute blanch, a shock in ice water, and gentle draining before pureeing into beautiful, nutritive emerald paste. Buccatini with nettles, pancetta, and black pepper is on the menu for this week, a first taste of something wild and green and woodsy-deep since summer faded last year.