It’s easy to switch out spinach or basil for stinging nettles. Early spring is the best time to pick and use nettles. They are intended to be used this time of year only. Any new substance should be introduced gradually to your body. Those new to nettles should start with small amounts.
Stinging Nettles are a powerful source of protein, magnesium, potassium and iron, helpful for anemia and skin conditions, beneficial for the kidneys, and as a general blood tonic.
Nettles are easy to identify. The dark green leaves are rough with coarse teeth. The leaf tip is pointed and its base is heart-shaped.
Find a secluded source as free of toxins as possible. Wear long sleeves and gloves for protection. Tender leaves are best. Use leaves up to 3″ wide.
‘Stinging’ nettles are given this name for good reason. If you touch any part of the plant, you will be stung. The sting is mildly painful and can last for hours. Use a scissors or garden clippers to cut the top two bracts of leaves, leaving the rest of the plant to regenerate. Set a pot or bag alongside the plant and clip directly into the container. Once they are cooked or brewed in a tea, they lose their sting.
- 3 cups nettle leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, or almond meal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Parmesan or Asiago cheese or yellow yeast flakes if vegan
- Put a pot of water on. When it’s boiling, dump the fresh nettles in for just one minute.
- Strain well and get as much water out as possible. Add nettles to a blender or food processor.
- Add garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and cheese or yellow yeast flakes.
- Pulse until smooth and creamy and salt/pepper to taste. Serve on whole grain or GF pasta, soft tortillas, over rice or as a dip for roasted veggies.
Coconut Sweet Potato Soup with Nettles
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2″ fresh ginger root
- 1/4 whole lime
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 lb. stinging nettles (blanched for 3 minutes, drained, patted dry, and chopped finely)
- 2 cups diced sweet potatoes
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth
- Express lime juice into a medium sauce pot.
- Grate ginger with a cheese grater.
- Add all ingredients except nettles to the pot.
- Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat until potatoes are tender.
- Puree with a hand blender.
- Add nettles and parboil for 3 minutes.
- 1 cup fresh stinging nettle leaves
- 2 cups water
Place nettle leaves in a small sauce pan. Add water to your nettle leaves and heat to a near boil. You can make the tea stronger by steeping longer or weaker by adding more water. Once the water is near boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for a couple minutes. Pour through a small strainer and the tea is ready to drink. 1-2 cups/day is sufficient.