Nettles are high in iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, vitamins A, C and protein (a whopping protein of 25%). Nutritionally, nettles are better than spinach from Popeye: higher in protein, calcium (4 times), slightly more health benefits … and almost the same taste.
And it is not that hard to harvest them safely. Some rubber dishwashing gloves should provide adequate protection. You will need a small bucket and a pair of kitchen scissors, too. Snip the stems right under the nettle plants’ top four leaves, and let them fall into the pot or bowl. If the nettles are selected early in the season (March-April); the stems and the leaves can be eaten together. One does not harvest stinging nettles while in bloom.
My grandmother picked them with her bare hands and she said you will not feel anything after picking up 10-15 stinging nettles.
Nettles are used as a natural remedy that can help cure arthritis, anemia, fever in the hay that kidney problems, among other ailments. Dried leaves can be used to make a tea useful for alleviating symptoms of allergies.
Nettles, including Bark Bread, are often considered a famine food; Sego lily bulbs or orache.
You need to learn first that keeping the nettles in your home for a day (room temperature) will reduce their ability to sting.
So it will be safe to sort the nettles from other weeds or dirt.
Wash the nettles very well! (I did it 3 times)
Boil the nettles for about 5 minutes (5 minutes when the water boils effectively). You’ll find that you’re left with just a handful of nettles when you remove them from the pot;
Do not throw out all the water (it needs to be green by now). And just keep one galss full, at least. You’ll need that in a few moments. Yet you should keep some as well, as it is very nutritious. My parents drank it. (But this is by no means tasty)
Now it’s time to blend the nettles and add one large tablespoon of flour.
Stir the nettles and add some water left from boiling the nettles (at least half a glass). Pour in a pot just a bit of olive oil and add the nettles.
While cooking the nettles (for at least 20 minutes), peel and cut some garlic (7-10 cloves).
Grate a horseradish just to “sprinkle” over the nettles (see photo below).
Now it’s ready! You may enjoy it just like that, but I prefer it with polenta, some goat cheese and an egg.
Did You Know That Stinging Nettles Are Also Used For:
- Making a beer. All you need for the brew is nettles, sugar, water, yeast, an orange and a lemon and cream of tartar.
- Making a liquid plant food. You will love to combine nettles with water to create a nitrogen rich feed plant. Cut or crush the nettles into small pieces and place them in a large jar. Nettles are weighted down with big bricks or rocks. If you add water, it will stop them from floating around. Apply water to the bottle, then leave for 4 weeks. Dilute the solution to make a liquid plant food suitable for direct use. Using about one component concentrate per 10 parts of water.
- Making nettle tea. In addition to being delicious, nettle tea is reputed to help battle many ailments, eczema included, asthma, hay fever and muscle aches. Only steep a couple of fresh tips in boiling water, extract them when the water goes green, prevent bitterness.
- To trap aphid. Spring’s fresh growth attracts aphids in their thousands-sucking plant life, stunting their growth. Fortunately, aphids love new nettle shoots, which has many benefits for the garden – meaning you can use them as sacrificial plants, save valuable ornamentals, and can even hinder the growth of nettles. The birds get their delicacies, too.
- Nettles are number one destination for egg-laying ladybirds. Such eggs become larvae of ladybirds, which predate garden pests, including aphids, white fly and red spider mites.