Spring Foraging: 5 Ways to Use Nettle

May 19, 2017
Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

We’re wrapping up our Spring Foraging series this week with another common wild edible, stinging nettle.   I hope you’ve been enjoying our series and have found some new ways to use wild edibles!

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our Spring Foraging series if you missed it!

Spring Foraging Week 1:  What I Found in My Backyard

Spring Foraging Week 2:  5 Ways to Use Cleavers 

Spring Foraging Week 3:  5 Ways to Use Dandelion

Spring Foraging Week 4:  5 Ways to Use Plantain

 

 Today, we’re going to talk about nettle, a highly nutritive wild edible that is often used as a vitamin supplement because it is THAT nutritious !

I love to add dried nettle to my smoothies for a nutritional boost and I also make a super infused nettle tea.

You can find nettle growing in rich, moist soils, shaded fields, forest edges and along streams and roadsides.  I found nettle growing wild beside a stream in my backyard.   Nettle is also easy to grow from seed if you’re interested in cultivating this plant.

The best time to harvest nettle for food is before it flowers in the spring.   Simply cut off the top 6 inches of the plant and it will continue to grow.  You can cut and come again several times doing it this way before it goes to seed.

One thing to beware of with nettle is the sting.  Always wear gloves when harvesting and preparing nettle as the sting can last several days.  Yes, several days!  You aren’t likely to forget a run-in with nettle!   Believe it or not, the sting in nettle can be beneficial.  Many people have experienced relief from arthritis and joint pain after walking through a patch of nettle.

 Before we dive into the recipes,  let’s look at the many, many benefits of nettle.

 

Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

Benefits of  Nettle

 

  • contains more protein than any other native plant

  • contains large amounts of iron, trace minerals, fat and chlorophyll

  • has a remarkable ability to rebuild and restore

  • builds tissue strength

  • strengthens the bones, nails, hair and teeth

  • is cleansing, detoxifying and highly nourishing

  • supports prostrate health

  • improves energy levels during the day

  •  boosts iron levels when taken as a strong infusion (tea)

  • prevents and helps seasonal allergies

  • is helpful with conditions such as gout, eczema, skin rashes and kidney stones as it removes uric acid waste products from the body

  •  as a diuretic, it increases urine production and the elimination of waste products

  • slows or stops the bleeding of wounds and nosebleeds and is helpful for heavy menstrual bleeding

  • is used to treat hay fever, asthma, itchy skin conditions and insect bites

  •  stimulates milk production in nursing mothers and stops it when children are weaned

  •  removes phlegm from the lungs

  •  applied externally, it aids in the healing of burns

  • decreases arthritic pain when fresh nettle is applied to the arthritic joints (it will sting at first)

 

Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

5 Ways to Use Nettle

 

Fresh Nettle Sun Tea

A great way to use fresh herbs (either foraged or cultivated in your garden) is to make a sun tea. Nettle is no exception and it’s an easy way to ingest some of the benefits of nettle on a daily basis.

What you’ll need: 

  • Quart Glass Jar with lid

  • 1-2 cups of fresh nettle or a combination of herbs (I like to combine nettle with mint or lemon balm)

  • 1 quart filtered or spring water

 

Instructions:

  • Place fresh herbs in a glass jar.  Fill to the top with filtered or spring water.

  • Let the jar sit in the sun all day.

  • Strain and refrigerate.   Your tea will last 2-3 days.

 

Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Wilted Nettle with Garlic & Chick Peas

Some people say that fresh nettle tastes a lot like spinach so I decided to prepare it much like my favorite spinach recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of fresh nettle greens

  • 1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans, rinsed & drained or 2 cups cooked beans

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I use 2 cloves)

  • salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  • Saute 1-2 cloves of garlic in olive oil until the oil is fragrant.

  • Add beans and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly  being careful that the garlic does not burn.

  • Add nettle, stir and cook until wilted and heated throughout.   Serve immediately as either a dinner side or an appetizer with chips, crackers or flatbread.

 

Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

Savory Nettle Chips

My family loves kale chips so I was anxious to give nettle chips a try!   This may be just the recipe to entice your family to eat nettle!  This one’s from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Savory Nettle Chips 

 

Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

 

Strengthening Hair Rinse

Nettle is so nourishing, it can even strengthen your hair when taken internally as well as externally.   This rinse can be used on all hair types.

 

Ingredients:

  • Two handfuls of fresh nettle

  • 1 quart water

 

Instructions: 

  • Using gloves, place two handful of fresh nettle in a pot with the water.

  • Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover and allow to cool completely.

  • Strain off the herbs.

  • To use the hair rinse, pour over your hair,  wait several minutes and then rinse with water.

 

Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

 

Frozen Purée  to Add to Soups, Broths, Grains and Smoothies

One way to preserve fresh nettle for use over the fall and winter is by making a frozen purée.

Simply blend your fresh nettle with water (for smoothies) or olive oil.   Scoop the puree into ice cube trays, freeze and then transfer to a freezer bag for individual size portions and an easy addition to your soups, broths, grains and smoothies.

 

Spring Foraging | 5 Ways to Use Stinging Nettle | Herbal Tea | Wilted Nettle Greens | Nettle Chips | Hair Rinse | Herbs | Healthy Recipes | DIY | My Healthy Homemade Life

 

 

To download the recipes from today’s post,

Click Here

 

Let me know:    Are you familiar with nettle?   What ways are you planning on consuming more of it? What was your favorite recipe from our Spring Foraging series?  Would you be interested in another foraging series in the future?

 I truly hope you’ve enjoyed our Spring Foraging series and have discovered some new ways to use these common, wild edibles!

Enjoy!

 

References:

 Drink in the Wild by Hilary Stewart

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH

The Earthwise Herbal by Matthew Wood

Rosalee de la Foret. http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/

This site is for educational purposes only. It does not provide medical advice. Information found on myhealthyhomemadelife.com is meant to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider.

 

 

 

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