Reading time: 3 minutesPublished: May 8, 2018
Take the sting out of your grocery bill this week by making your own nettle recipes.There are so many ways to use them from drinks to desserts.
Nettles are at their best right now and are easy to find on any walk. I love to forage. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. It’s amazing how abundant the hedgerow is. When picking nettles just make sure to pick them away from the roadside. Remember to wear protective gloves or use scissors to cut the leaves directly into a bowl or bag. The sting is easily denatured by either exposing to heat (boiling in water or steaming, or blitzing in a food processor to break down the cellulose wall.
Nettles are rich in vitamins A, B2, C, D, and K and have important nutrients like antioxidants, amino acids and chlorophyll. And most importantly, nettles have an amazing mineral load – they’re rich in calcium, potassium, iodine, manganese, and especially iron!
Nettles have traditionally been used for urination problems, kidney stones, joint ailments and as a diuretic.
Other amazing properties of stinging nettles include:
- Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-rheumatic, anti-convulsant, antihistamine, astringent and hypotensive properties.
- Each cup of nettles supplies an impressive 1,790 IU of vitamin A (3 times the RDA)
- Treating anaemia and fatigue due to a high iron and chlorophyll content.
- Reducing the pain associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Relief of arthritis, joint pain and gout when taken internally or used topically.
- Reducing the symptoms of hay fever and allergies by acting as an anti-inflammatory. Some research has linked treatment with nettle leaf to relief of symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes. In one study, 57% of patients rated nettles as effective in relieving allergies, and 48% said that nettles were more effective than allergy medications they had used previously.
In the kitchen nettles are amazingly versatile and you can take the sting out of your grocery bill by using nettles as a substitute for spinach. They can be eaten either raw, steamed or baked, added to stews and soups, biscuits, breads and bakes. There are so many recipes to share but I'll give you just a couple here which are easy to make, quick and tasty.
I like to eat nettle pesto on spiralised zucchini or carrot pasta. I love the simplicity of this quick and easy, fresh dish, particularly since the pesto can be made ahead of time and frozen to be used as required. This is useful to know as nettles are not always in season. Here’s my recipe for a simple nettle pesto:
1 pint jug of nettle leaves
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 drop of dōTERRA lemon essential oil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or ground cashew nuts for vegan version)
Steam the nettle leaves or if you prefer leave them raw (blitzing them in the food processor will take the sting out of the leaves as the cell walls are broken down). Blend to a paste.
Add the garlic, pine nuts, salt, and pepper to taste until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and essential oil and process until well blended. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Add the cheese or ground cashew nuts if making the vegan option, pulse briefly, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice.
It really is that simple!
The next recipe is for chick pea flour and nettle flat breads.
Chick pea flour, also known as besan, is widely available and is simply the flour made from ground chick peas. Besan is the traditional Indian name for chickpea flour, which is also called gramflour
Chickpea flour is light yellow in colour and has a mild nutty scent and flavour to it.
It is gluten free and lower in carbs than standard wheat flour so it is better for those needing to control blood sugar levels.
2 cups gramflour
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional - I like to add it because it enhances the colour)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 - 1 cup wilted nettle leaves
3 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
To make the flat breads simply take 2 cups of chick pea flour and 1 cup of nettle leaves (wilt them in hot water to denature the sting) and then add them to the flour. Process to chop the leaves into small pieces to blend into the flour.
Add sufficient water to make a thick batter and leave to stand for 2 hours.
Just before cooking add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the batter and stir thoroughly.
Spread a ladle of the mixture onto a hot pancake pan and cook until the mixture comes away from the pan. Flip and finish cooking the other side. To keep the flat breads soft brush them on one side with a scant amount of oil or ghee (homemade is best). Keep warm and serve with curry, dhal or salad or get creative and use as a pizza base. The choices are endless. How will you take the sting out of your grocery bill this week?
Written by: Mimi