SPRING INTO STINGING NETTLE!
Stinging Nettle is abundant, beautiful and deliciously nourishing at this time. We encourage everyone to harvest some fresh Nettle!
HARVESTING NETTLE :
• Pack scissors or clippers, leather gloves, a basket, and wear long pants.
• Locate a fresh Nettle patch, usually in rich soil that gets plenty of water. Be aware of the surroundings of the patch – ideally 100 feet away from a road, and in a place that does not get sprayed or where other toxins could be present.
• If you are unsure of what Nettle looks like, bring a plant id book with you. And if you need confirmation, it’s sting will let you know! You want to look for Nettle that is fresh and harvest it before it flowers. The flowers look like little hanging strings that dangle below from the nodes of the plant.
• Always ask permission of the plant before harvesting, and be sure to provide an offering to the plant (a refreshing exhalation, a sip of water, or any other trinket or wish.)
• Simply cut the fresh tender tops (6 inches to one foot of plant.) Viola! You now have fresh Nettle for use in teas, recipes, tinctures, or to dry and keep for later. View some fun Springtime Nettle Recipes below!
4-6 cloves of garlic (Allium sativum),
½ cup of nuts or seeds of your choice, lightly roasted,
1 cup of olive oil or herb infused olive oil,
4 loosely filled cups of:
1 part fresh Nettle leaves and tops
1 part Lemon Balm leaves, fresh
¼ part Parsley, fresh
¼ part Rosemary, fresh
Cover with a thin layer of oil and put in a small size container to minimize air space. It will keep in fridge for about 3 weeks, and may also be frozen. Enjoy on pasta, rice, bread, in soups, etc.
Harvest the fresh young tips of the Nettle plant (about the top 2 inches.) Loosely fill a pint jar with the nettle tops. Cover with ½ part apple cider vinegar, ½ part Tamari, and 1 tbsp honey. Add 3-4 cloves of garlic, and a sprinkling of fresh Rosemary leaves or flowers. Cover and let sit for 2 weeks to 1 month. Enjoy the fresh pickled Nettle on salads, hour’derves on crackers with goat cheese, or as a daily mineral snack.
Nettle Faux Spinach
Cut the fresh nettle tops, leaves, and stems so they fit easily into a sauce pan. Fill the pot with Nettle, and add about an inch or two of water. Cover the pot and let the Nettle cook for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and tender and no longer stinging. Remove the Nettle from the pot, and strain off the water for a nourishing Nettle tea. Then put the Nettle into freezer bags or jars to preserve for later use. Use this frozen Nettle as you would Spinach in Quiches, Lasagna other culinary creations!
Dry Nettle Herb
Wearing gloves, find a basket and line it with a thin cloth, lay the Nettle out in the basket and keep in a dry, warm area for 3-5 days until it is completely dry. Once dry, place in a paper bag and with gloves on, use your hands to garble the Nettle (break it up into small pieces.) Put into a glass jar and use in future tea or syrup recipes….hmmm, it’s the best dry nettle one can get!
This recipe is based on Laura Krieger’s for a Spring Cleansing Soup that I found in NETTLES by Janice Schofield.
The quantities reflect what I did for the soup from yesterday; the procedures reflect how I would modify the process for next time. I don’t think exactitude is overly important with this soup.
- 6 medium onions
- 4 medium beets
- 4 medium carrots
- 12 garlic cloves
- 5 medium large potatoes
- 2 1/2 cups shitake mushrooms
- 4-16 cups broth
- Add all of the above to a soup kettle containing the broth. I used 4-6 cups of vegetable broth made from a commercial concentrate. All the rest was the cooking water from when I had cooked nettles and other greens in water.
- Chop these ingredients and sauté slowly for 5-10 minutes in up to 6 tbs. extra virgin olive oil. I would probably have used less oil, but I had to use two large pans to hold all these ingredients.
- You could add more broth if your kettle could hold it. I think the soup is better if it is not too thick.
- 4 cups chopped Italian parsley
Add the parsley to the soup, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
- 8 large calendula blossoms
When the soup is done, stir in the petals from the calendula blossoms.
NOTE: This recipe’s portions may be greatly reduced.
NOTE: You should always know and positively identify any herb before harvesting it. Here are some of the yummy herbs and those to avoid.
Some are beautiful to see, but pack an unhealthy punch if ingested or with contact!
Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Lupine (Lupinus spp.)
Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
Poison Oak (Rhus spp.)
Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
Water Hemlock (Cicuta douglasii)