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Hollyhock Cooks: Stinging Nettle Pesto

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It can seem as if the snow has barely melted from the ground when these determined little buds are ready to eat! Nettles can grow up to 5 feet high but are at their peak of tenderness and nutrient when just 5 inches out of the ground. That’s the time to harvest. Nettles will grow just about anyplace: from the tiniest of city parks to the most expansive wilds. Serve this pesto over pasta, spread in a sandwich or use to make Pizza with Stinging Nettle Pesto (48). Nettles don’t need to be cooked to disable their sting: vigorous blending will do the trick as well. 

Makes 1 1/2 cups – Vegan, Gluten Free 

  • 1/2 lb fresh stinging nettle leaves
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 6 medium garlic cloves 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper 
  • Pinch of chili flakes, optional 


COMBINE all of the ingredients in a food processor until they reach the desired consistency. 

Recipe by Moreka Jolar. Originally published in Hollyhock Cooks (New Society Publishers, 2003)  

Forage & Ferment at Hollyhock

The Hollyhock kitchen and gardens not only inspire the delicious meals at Hollyhock but this year have also inspired two new programs to connect food and place.

Coastal Foraging Adventure

Go on a Coastal Foraging Adventure to forage for wild food and cook with professional forager, cookbook author and sommelier Chef Robin Kort of Swallow Tail Culinary Adventures in May. Click through the images below and explore Chef Robin’s website for recipes, videos and more. This program is almost full so register quickly to save your spot!

Fermentation of Place

October 6-10, 2024 join world-renowned fermenter, Kirsten K. Shockey for Fermentation of Place a unique fermentation master class to learn how to ferment confidently and safely in your kitchen. You’ll learn the art and science of this ancient craft by exploring the abundance of Hollyhock during harvest—vegetables, apples, sea vegetables and salt. 

Get inspired by the photos below and register by July 7th for a discount on accommodation.

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