I love my hubby, our children, our animals, but i also really love our plants.
I love our domestic, cultivated plants, but I also love the wild or naturalized ones that just happen to show up, usually when you need them.
One of my absolute faves is Stinging Nettle aka Urtica dioica.
She will sting you if you happen upon her stingers without protection (use dishgloves) but if you have arthritis, it may be just the sting you are looking for or if you are a cranky toddler, I suggest you find a nice clean plantain leaf nearby, chew it up and spit it out on the sting ( distracting and effective, i believe).
But if you boil, steam, juice, dehydrate or blend, the stingers also become inactivated and you may consume all her goodness without the pain.
Nettle tastes great. Its free if you can find it on your own ( fun family adventure). or you can always come buy some from us too. It really really is a local springtime superfood. It is something like 25% protein by dry weight, high in iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, and also in vitamins A,C & K. It is a cleansing diuretic that stimulates your lymph system. Increases thyroid, gets your bowels moving and boosts that metabolism too. Can help allergies, enlarged prostrate, autoimmune disorders, pms, kidney stones, digestive issues, arthritis, and can even boost mommas milk and testosterone levels naturally. Its absolutely incredible. Google it. There is a bunch of research starting to support all the anecdotal evidence too.
So, How do I use it?
Boiled-use as you would any cooked green in any recipe
Tea- don’t throw out that water from boiling, its tea! Drink it, feed it to your plants, bathe in it!
Juice it or blend it- goes well with lemons ginger cukes and apples but its all your choice
Soup- Love this, kids love this, if you need a recipe, ask, and i’ll post one next time i make soup
DeHydrated chips!!!- Like kale chips, they are awesome tasty and healthy, you can use the dehydrator or an oven on the lowest temp with the door ajar.
What part of the plant do i use?
Always try to get young nettle, older nettle does have a different texture, not as conducive to eating as a vegetable. The best part is the top bud and the first 2-3 sets of leaves, this is what I will use if i am sauteeing it as a veg, or making a tincture. For teas or drying, i’ll use all the leaves. and for juicing or soups, i’ll often throw the whole plant, without the roots, into the pot or juicer. Depends how much you have and what you are using it for.
In the late summer, we’ll talk nettle seeds too!
Any questions, just ask. I love to talk about what we do.
So go out and get your (gloved) hands on some Nettle!
Ps. I’ve been thinking about putting them in place of Kale in my Green Goddess sausages for the spring batch?!?!?