It’s the time of year when the nettles are up and the green is on. This is one of the times of year when wildfoods and medicine is abundant on SongCroft so you can often find me roaming the land with a basket, shovel and scissors in hand.
Today I was out wild-harvesting the nettles, Urtica dioica, that grow here. They are growing rich and dense in very fertile soil. In fact, they are an indicator species meaning that they tend to grow where the soil is rich and full of nutrients. An added bonus of this is that when we add the nettles for our meals, we are receiving the earths gift of these beneficial nutrients. I should add, that I am super happy that nettles grow on our farm since we have never used synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or anything like that so the soil is clean and safe to harvest from. Living on unspoiled land is a blessing in our life.
Back to my friend nettle. It has many benefits but I will only share a few of the arial (above ground) parts for now and I will revisit the topic in a later post. One of the most commonly known benefits is that it is rich in iron. Historically, it has been used as a tonic herb as well as a for anemia. Many studies show that nettles have even more iron than spinach. It has been used as a diuretic dating back at least to the Ancient Greeks and was used for blood circulation and as a topical stimulant by Pacific Northwest Tribes while canoeing long distances.
Nettle is also known for its antihistamine properties but there is some misinformation here. While nettle is a mast cell stabilizer, working at the H1 receptor) and it does have the ability to assist with lowering the level of histamine in your body, it can only do that in certain forms. Nettles that have been cooked or improperly dried loose this ability. For this benefit, you need to eat it raw or to dry correctly. Freeze-dried nettle is usually a good product.
Young nettle leaves can be eaten as a cooked herb, like spinach, or even baked in to cakes, breads or even made in to a pesto “nesto” as I will share with you. Because it is not cooked, you will be able to enjoy the deliciousness, get the many vitamins and minerals as well as the antihistamine benefits.
3 Cup (packed) young nettle leaves
5 garlic cloves
1 cup walnuts (pine nuts are fine too)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (you can substitute parmesan or asiago)
1. Place nettle leaves in your blender or food processor
2. Add peeled garlic
3. Add walnuts
4. Add olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and nutritional yeast
5. Pulse until it is all blended and creamy.
6. Eat this like you would any pesto.
Toss it with pasta, put a dollop on top of grilled chicken or fish, make it a bit thicker for a healthy dip. This can also be frozen in ice cube trays or on a cookie sheet and cut in to portions before placing in a container in the freezer so it can be enjoyed out of season.
If this sort of thing interests you, this is only a glimpse of what you can learn and be able to utilize as one of my Wellness Coaching clients. Let’s work together to help you reach your goals.
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Yummy nettle pesto, or nesto. Enjoy it as a dip for veggies, on pasta or scrambled with eggs. If you love this sort of thing as much as I do and want to get more educational and fun information, as well as some special offers, sign up for our newsletter. http://songcroftnaturals.com/