The summer food season starts with nettles. Those itchy, burning weeds that grow everywhere they shouldn't. But they also turn into great food and contain lot of vitamins, iron and whatever good stuff.
If you want to pick nettle leaves for food, the time is now - you only have couple of weeks. Picking nettles is every man's right in Finland, as long as you don't go to anybody's backyard. I recommend not to pick them right next to a road (because of dust from the cars) or pedestrian paths (because of peeing dogs), but close to a jogging route will do just fine. Take scissors and gloves with you. I've picked only the leaves and left the rod and the roots into forest.
Once you come back home with the catch, you need to wash and cook the leaves: 5 minutes in loose, boiling water will do it. Pour away the water, let the nettles cool and grind them in a food processor. Then what to do with mashed nettles? Well, whatever you'd do with spinach: soup, pancakes, omelet, or even pesto.
For pancakes you need about 1 dl of nettle pure, 5 dl of milk, couple of eggs, a little bit of salt, some couple of dls flour and butter for the pan. Serve with smoked fish, salad, Manchego cheese and sour creme.
If you think weeds are waste and not good enough for you, I want to remind you that crown princess Victoria of Sweden had nettles in her wedding menu. If it's good enough for Vickan, it's good enough for you too.