Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stinging Nettle Tea... and more uses

Every year I try and remember to harvest some stinging nettles to dry and add to my homegrown tea batch along with the chamomile, oat straw, calendula, and native mint harvested in other seasons.
Stinging nettle is really quite an amazing plant. I've always known it was rich in iron and calcium but went looking for other nutrient qualities and found a huge wealth of information on the topic. I learned nettles are also rich in magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, sulphur, beta-carotene, B complex vitamins and Vitamin C! AND nettles are 10% protein which makes them higher in protein than any other vegetable. What an amazing plant and it requires no work to grow and is free to pick (I'm sure some gardeners would even pay you to get rid of it!) As if any other reasons were needed, it's also great for ridding the lungs of mucus and for colds in general. A true cleansing herb. Another thing I learned is that they are dioecious plants, meaning some entire plants are male and others female. Be careful if you find some and decide to try it as the stings are painful and the stingers cover the plant down to the bottom of it's stem. I usually either use some scissors and cut low or use my pincer fingers to grab the very bottom of the stem down at ground level. Inevitably I always get stung, but the stings don't last long. If I remember to I grab my gloves on the way out. Once they are dried or cooked they lose their ouch factor.
I found a simple recipe I may try. I've never really cooked with them, although I have mowed them and raked them into a pile to sit for a bit before giving them to my chickens to eat since I read somewhere long ago that they aid in egg production. I can't vouch for the truth of that but can tell you they were quickly gobbled up!

I just had to come back and post about how silly I felt for not cooking with these leaves after all I read today so I added some in place of spinach greens to my homegrown potatoes simmered with turmeric and home grown and canned stewed Taxi tomatoes. The cooked nettle leaves are a really beautiful deep green and very earthy (in a good way) tasting. I'll be cooking with them more. Free greens! Their cooked color reminded me I've seen them used as a natural dye before too. Forgot about that.
This next photo is just for the food porn aspect of things! haha! Isn't that perfect little potato so beautiful in the stewed tomatoes?

In addition to consuming stinging nettles for food and tea, they can be made into a fertilizer as well! Check out this link at Moj Vrt!

1 comment:

Ruralrose said...

Great post! I like nettles in yogurt dishes maybe a little balsamic vinegar. Do you eat lambs quarters and chick weed to, they beat spinach and lettuce hands down and free to boot. Your baby is so precious and you are feeding her so well. Peace