Yes, the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica.) This is no April Fools joke.
And, some of you will think I’m really strange for wanting to eat the plant that can cause such discomfort when you accidentally brush against it.
Early spring is my favorite time of the year because I can harvest nettles and many other wild herbs. As I discuss in Roots and Branches, the best way to use herbs as medicine is to use them as food. We all know that an important part of staying healthy is to eat well. Vibrant food is our best medicine. Many of our wild herbs are far more nutritious than the vegetables we buy in the grocery stores.
Did you know that nettles contain the highest plant source of iron? It is an EXCELLENT source of vitamins, minerals and protein. It is literally a “super-food.” Forget all these designer capsules and energy drinks. Nettles are far more nutritious, and they are FREE!
This is where it gets hard for people, but I make it easy.
There are a lot of people who have heard this about wild plants such as nettles and dandelions, but I know you may be asking yourself, “How do I find nettle, gather it, and actually use this plant?”
This is EXACTLY what LearningHerbs.com is all about.
I am going to make this REALLY easy.
First, I will tell you how to cook with nettles.
I could list a bunch of recipes, but instead I am going to simply tell you to find any recipe you like that calls for greens, such as spinach or kale. Then, replace those greens with nettles.
Get out your favorite soup, stew, quiche, lasagna, pesto or even spanakopita recipe, and replace the greens in the recipe with nettles.
Kimberly actually made Nettle Spanakopita as a potluck dish at our friends wedding this Spring! It was all eaten up by the time I made it through the food line. :( In case you were wondering, she simply used the recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook and replaced spinach with nettles.
Heck, you can simply steam nettles and serve them as a delicious side dish. Sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on top is really nice.
Good question. Definitely use gloves to transport the nettles to your pan or pot, but as soon as it begins to cook, the sting goes away. The sting quickly dissipates once you steam or cook it.
How do I pick nettles?
I know there is the real barrier separating people from harvesting nettles. To make this extra clear, I even took a little movie on my digital camera for you.
First, the instructions…
If you do not have QuickTime, click here to download it for free.
How do I find where to harvest nettles or learn about plants in general?
Well, I realize that not everyone reading this is going to know where to find nettles. Or, maybe you do, and you do not feel confident enough yet to actually go out and harvest.
BELIEVE ME, I understand this.
That’s why I put together the Herbal Medicine Making Kit. A nettles herbal infusion packet is included in the Herbal Medicine Making Kit. In the course, you use two awesome herb books to journal this extraordinary herb.
I can’t teach you all about nettles in a web page, but I did develop a comprehensive learning system in this Kit and LearningHerbs.com.
With my kit, course, and a little practice, you'll be well on your way to being a home medicine maker!
Need dried nettles or herbal supplies?