Do you know what this is? Yes, exactly, this is the weed which is capable of overgrowing half of your garden. Gardeners attack it with all sorts of garden weapons and pass long afternoon hours to remove the white roots from the ground.
But did you know that we can also eat nettles? Or drink? And that they are really healthy?
- Nettles can contain twice or even 4 times as much iron as beef (depending on where they grow) and 3 times as much iron as spinach. So they are actually a little miracle in the kitchen to fight against springtime lethargy which is probably caused by a lack of iron in the blood. Add a little cycling… and we can allow ourselves the ice cream from the shop around the corner as it balances out the healthiness of the nettles.
- They can mitigate joint disease, arthritis, prostate problems and bladder infections. In addition, they can alleviate bowel inflammations.
- They have a caring effect on the liver and the gall, so that you can also try it if you have digestion problems. Paracelsus prescribed the wild herb already in the 16th century against jaundice.
- They help against joint pains as they relieve the pain. That leads to the effect that we use these joints again and make them smooth.
- Even the pancreas is happy about the ingredients the nettles provide and the body can enjoy a balanced blood sugar level.
- In addition, a nettle soup is a great natural fertilizer and substitutes artificial fertilizers in the garden.
- Even the fabric industry uses the fiber s from nettle stems to produce nettle fabric.
The question is: Why don’t we use this wild, spiky plant and only leave it for school kids to throw at each other and annoy their best enemy?
As mentioned: You can drink it fresh or dried as an infusion.
Prepare it like spinach and eat it with spaghetti (what? You don’t know spaghetti and spinach as a dish? It’s the favorite meal of my most creative aunt).
Prepare it like spinach and use it up in a wonderful French quiche (I ate this marvelous recipe at a lively permaculture project in Brittany, where I stayed for 3 weeks with 7 different wwoofers and where we tried out natural, French recipes)
Just add it to a pan with fried vegetables.
In order to keep it simple I’m going to stick to the first recipe – spaghetti with nettle spinach.
Step 1: How do I get edible nettles? If possible, look for a place which is not directly located next to a street or the dog walkway of the neighborhood. Wear gloves! And off you go with the chopping: the first 4 – 6 leaves around the top can be used.
You will need a full small plastic bag for 2 people. Put on some music – it can take half an hour.
Step 2: Throw the leaves in a sieve at home and wash them thoroughly. In the meantime they lose their spiky surface. If you prefer to be very careful, better use gloves for this step, too.
Step 3: Fry onions in a pan and add the ‘green stuff’. To get a softer consistence, you can boil it down in broth. Add salt, pepper and spices, sour cream, dried tomatoes or something like that to your own taste.
Voili, voilou (how the French would say).
Step 4: On top of the spaghetti and