STINGING NETTLE

That’s right, the flavor of today is the infamous stinging nettle. I’m sure some are wondering how in the world to taste a stinging nettle without suffering some horrible ramifications.

nettleyumThankfully, you do not have to fall on it with your tongue. 

Nettles are actually a very delicious and extremely nutritious food. The young nettle leaves have a slight sweet, earthy quality. I’d compare them to another green vegetable but truly, they stand alone (and not because they sting all the other vegetables). I was first introduced to nettle as a ‘food’ source many years ago when a friend made a pot of nettle tea to help get over a prolonged bout with the flu. It worked. I’d love to say the nettle tea was delicious but it wasn’t. It was earthy, slightly bitter and pretty astringent; adding honey definitely helped. I was, however, very intrigued to know more about the beneficial qualities of such an ill reputed plant. My friend then showed me how to cook with nettle and introduce it into my diet in some very delicious ways; nettle soup, nettle leaves in salad, even nettle on pizza.

She also taught me how to gather, handle and prepare nettle, which is a requirement if you are going to use them and remain on good terms with them.  Believe it or not, they won’t sting you if you don’t offend them. Think about it, when’s the last time a stinging nettle came over to your house walked in and stung you? Usually, it happens when you’ve been aimlessly strolling through the countryside and trod through their house.

Nettle for dinner is a culinary treat (or breakfast, or tea, or whenever). It’s also a health bonus extraordinaire.

In fact, what prompted me to choose nettle today, besides sipping nettle tea which I now love, is a piece of research just released demonstrating the beneficial impact of nettle in the fight against cancer. It appears there is a chemical compound that not only is anti-carcinogenic on its own but also enhances the effectiveness of cancer fighting pharmaceuticals.

Nettle is high in iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. It is a great source of beneficial fatty acids and it is high in fiber. It’s also high in flavonoids and other phytonutrients that help balance

Research demonstrates that it is anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. It boosts digestive function, purifies the blood, helps the liver function more efficiently, and has a multitude of other health remedies. Nettle has long been a medicinal intervention in cultures all over the world. It also is an amazing beauty treatment; If you steep nettle leaves for 15-20 minutes and then use it as a hair rinse it makes your hair soft and shiny. You can also use it as a toner on your skin to clear acne and other skin irritations and rashes.

If you live in an area where nettle is common, it could be interesting to learn how to harvest it and introduce it to your kitchen. 

For more info on how to find, harvest, and prepare nettle you could try these great resources: 

Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal

Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers

Or better yet, sign up for a Bohemian Mojo Magical Mystery tour and we can sip nettle tea together.