Why Eat Nettles?
Nettles are such a rich source of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C and iron and has antihistamine, anti inflammatory, astringent and diuretic properties. (Balick 2014) and as such practitioners can use nettle to treat anaemia, poor circulation, arthritis, allergies, menstrual problems, urinary tract infection and kidney stones.
Nettle is a wonderful herb for women’s health in general at the different stages of life/menstrual cycle. High in iron, it is a good blood builder for when bleeding and it is a great herb for menopause as I discovered from Susan Weed’s Wise Woman Way:
“Stinging nettle builds energy, strengthens the adrenals, and is said to restore youthful flexibility to blood vessels. A cup of nettle infusion contains 500 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, and zinc. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, D, E, and K. For flexible bones, a healthy heart, thick hair, beautiful skin, and lots of energy, make friends with sister stinging nettle. It may make you feel so good you’ll jump up and exercise” Susan Weed (2002)
Growing and Nettles
I love growing nettles! It is an easy to grow ‘weed’.
As well as having great nutritional value, Nettle is a are great addition to a permaculture garden and can be used in a range of composting methods as a soil conditioner. I make a liquid manure/tea from nettle which is a great feed to give to plants for growth, particularly for greens.
Here on our property, I let nettle self seed, and allow it to establish in different parts of the garden for what we need. Here are two photos of some of our nettle crop this year. A big bunch growing on the edge of the broad bean bed and a patch of nettle (and random asian greens) growing in our chicken coup. Our 6 new pullets will be moving in soon and will most certainly finish off the greens!
Harvesting the nettle
I find the fresh, newer leaves are the best for this soup. It is best to harvest just before flowering. Once the nettle starts to go to seed. I find once the leaves start to darken and toughen up they are less sweet and juicy.
Many people can be afraid of nettle because of its ‘sting’. The solution is to wear gloves when handing fresh nettles. And then the sting is lost in the process of cooking or drying. Here is a photo of me trimming the juicy green nettle leaves for this soup.
Yummy Nettle Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 leek washed and finely sliced
- 1 large floury potato thinly sliced
- 1 L chicken or vegetable stock
- 400g nettle leaves
- 50g butter
- 50ml double cream
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, leek and potato, and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the stock and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the potato is soft.
Add the nettle leaves simmer for 1 minute until they wilt. Blend the soup.
Season to taste, then stir in the butter and cream.
NB I find this soup is best eaten fresh. Whilst I have frozen some, unlike soup such as Minestrone, it does not taste better with warming up.
Balick, MJ (2014) 21st Century Herbal. Rodale.
* The health information presented on this site is provided for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your medical or other health professional. Do not use this information to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider.
© 2018 Jane Mallick. All rights reserved.