More Nummy Nettles!
It’s that perfect time of year to harvest fresh Stinging Nettle leaves if you haven’t already! Urtica dioica (Perennial Stinging Nettle) & Urtica urens (Small Nettle) can be found in many untamed places the world over. They love nitrogen-rich, moist soil around rivers, creek-beds & formerly cultivated lands. If you are able & inclined, we highly encourage you to explore where it might be in your area and ethically harvest this incredible wild food!
Being a wild food, Nettles are packed full of nutrients and trace minerals that are harder to get from farmed foods. Not only are Nettles incredibly nutrient rich, fiber from the stalk can be used to make remarkably strong fabrics. Nettle root also enhances the health of the prostate gland in men. Best of all in this current pollen-rich springtime, Stinging Nettles root and leaf also act as a wonderful antihistamine that effectively treats seasonal allergies.
Here are a few more recipe ideas to utilize with your Nettle harvest! If you don't have access to fresh Nettles but you want to try these, feel free to substitute with spinach, kale or another green, leafy wild food!
Nettles & Asparagus Kichari
4 cups fresh Nettles tops (top 4-6 inches) or leaves, chopped
2 cups Asparagus, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces
1 cup white basmati rice
1/2 cup mung beans
10 cups water
3 tbsp ghee
Fresh Cilantro, for garnish
NOTE: If Asparagus and Nettles aren’t in season, don’t worry! You can make this with vegetables in season or even leave them out entirely and this will still be a very medicinal dish!
Start by combining your rice and mung beans (ideally soaked in water the night before, but not necessary for the recipe to work) and the 10 cups of water. Cover and bring to a low simmer and let cook until soft, stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking to the bottom of the pan. This part take about 20-25 minutes. When it's ready the entire mixture will have a thick, porridge-like consistency. While the rice and mung are cooking, chop your Asparagus and Nettles and set aside. Then lightly grind your spices in a mortar and pestle- you could use powdered spices instead of the full seeds if desired- and set aside. Once the rice and mung are cooked, add the Nettles and Asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes. The spices and ghee are added last. Brown them for just a few minutes in the ghee- being sure not to burn them- until they start to release their aroma. Then add the ghee and spice mix to the rice, mung, and veggies and cook an additional minute or two, and you're done! Garnish with fresh cilantro and a pinch of sea salt if desired. Enjoy
4 cups washed nettle leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 Clove garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup polenta, or organic coarse-ground corn meal
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano
1/4 cup crème fraîche (Crème fraîche can be made at home by adding a small amount of cultured buttermilk or sour cream to heavy cream, and allowing to stand for several hours at room temperature until the bacterial cultures act on the cream)
-Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
-Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and, using a pair of tongs or rubber gloves, add the nettles to the pot. Blanch the nettles for about 1 minute. Drain, coarsely chop and reserve.
-In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, bring 5 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt, garlic and olive oil, then slowly pour in the polenta, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
-Reduce the heat to medium-low so the polenta cooks at a low simmer (bubbling slightly). Stir frequently until thick and creamy, about 17 to 20 minutes.
-Add the Parmigiano, crème fraîche and nettles, whisking until combined. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.
Irish Nettle Soup
Ingredients for 6 servings:
1 1/2 oz butter (or ghee)
1 1/2 lbs potatoes (you can substitute cauliflower if you wish)
4 oz onions
3 1/2 oz leeks
4 1/2 cups chicken stock/veggie stock
5 oz young nettles, washed and chopped
3/4 cup whole milk or cream (or substitute your favorite non-dairy milk)
salt and pepper to taste.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan; when it foams, add the potatoes, onions and leeks. Toss them in the butter until they are well coated.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover. Steam on gentle heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked. Add the nettle leaves and cook until soft.
- Whisk in the cream; taste and correct seasoning. Optionally, you can puree everything if you prefer that smooth texture in your soups. Serve hot and enjoy!
Have you made any delicious dishes with Nettle? Let us know!