19 Reasons To Find Yourself Some Nettles

Categories: Green

Nettle plants grow wild across the U.S., Europe and around the globe; they are used for both medicinal purposes and as food. Highly nutritious, the prickly plant is often used as a spring tonic. It's a natural cleanse that removes metabolic wastes and is both gentle and stimulating on the lymph system, promoting easy excretion through the kidneys.

All parts of the nettle plant are used; and it's available in a wide variety of medicines ranging from dried leaf, to ointments, tinctures, homeopathic remedies and herbal extracts.

To Pick Nettles you will need gloves (or incredibly thick skin) they are a must. This video also shows you the correct technique to use. If you aren’t careful, you’re in for a nasty shock!

Tiny hollow hairs on the stems and underside of the leaves contain a mixture of chemicals – including histamine, acetylcholine, serotonin and formic acid. When you touch the leaves, they break and expose sharp points that inject your skin with these toxins. You’ll end up with itching, mild pain and inflammation.

If you do happen to get stung – an inevitable experience for most foragers and gardeners – apply a paste ofbaking soda and water to soothe and quell the inflammation.

Strangely though, when these chemicals come into contact with a painful area of the body, they can actually decrease the original pain. Scientists think nettle does this by reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals and by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals.

How to Use Stinging Nettle:

In the Kitchen

Nettle leaves can be used in a variety of delicious dishes – your dinner guests will never know they are eating weeds! Keep in mind that nettle should first be cooked or steamed to destroy the chemical-containing hairs.

1. Stinging Pesto

Nettles make for a beautiful pesto – more flavorful than the traditional basil variety, and a better match for pungent and earthy garlic. It’s delicious on pasta, bruschetta, or as a marinade for meats. You’ll find the recipe here.

2. Summer Soup

Perhaps the most traditional use of nettles in the kitchen, this soup recipe is ideal for those just dabbling with foraged food. It uses fresh nettles, potato, leek and cream for a velvety yet light summer soup. Here is the mouthwatering recipe.

3. Kimchi

While traditional Korean kimchi is a spicy and sour dish made with cabbage and various seasonings, this nettle-based version is a foraged take on a fermented favorite. Eat your way to good gut health by soaking nettles, herbs and spices in a brine solution – follow these instructions and you can’t go wrong.

4. Spinach and Nettle Crust-less Spanakopita

Traditional spanakopita is a Greek savory pastry made with chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions and dill. Swap some of the spinach out for nettles and enjoy added nutrition with no compromise on flavor. Follow Stitch and Boots’ recipe here.

5. Wild Herb and Nettle Risotto

A Mediterranean inspired dish, risotto is delicious and filling. This version is packed with both nutrients and flavor thanks to its long list of ingredients: nettles (of course); herbs like parsley, tarragon, chives, wild chervil, yellow rocket, and wild garlic leaves; shallots; butter; stock and white wine. Full details can be found here.

6. Nettle Fettuccine Alfredo

While making pasta from scratch isn’t for everyone, you should give it a go at least once. And what better recipe to get you started than this fresh green nettle pasta – so good it’s almost a superfood! Serve with cream and parmesan for an impressive and hearty Alfredo. This video and recipe makes it a cinch to whip up.

7. Nettle and Potato Curry

There’s something about potatoes in a curry that take it to the next level – double the comfort of a typical spicy meal. Well, this recipe delivers in terms of comfort, taste and nutrient density thanks to the addition of stinging nettles, herbs, spices, creamy yogurt and lime juice. Check it out here.

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Found in NaturalLivingIdeas

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