Turquoise Barn

An Eco-Conscious, Green-Certified Retreat, Event, & Education Center located in the Catskill Mountains on an Organic farm. Offering group workshops, retreats, outdoor event space....specializing in sustainable Botanical Cuisine, Nature Therapy, and more! An ideal venue for YOUR retreat, wedding, or friends/family gathering. For more information, please visit our website.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Love Affair with STINGING NETTLES
 Nettles.....Stinging Nettles.....Oh how I love thee…..
let me count the ways and share them with you.

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

(Note:  This is an updated post from 2011 - I added some additional info and pictures but it is basically the same post - thought it was an appropriate time to reshare : ))

Although I’ve known about this plant for many years,  my love affair with Stinging Nettles began after really "experiencing" this amazing plant.   It was actually one of the first “weeds” I discovered over 15 years ago when I first moved onto my property.  Before I knew better, Nettles was a just a scary weed that I would avoid brushing against or weeding without gloves, lest I’d feel the sting and breakout in a rash. 

My very first encounter with Nettles was casual.  

In 1993 I was diagnosed with anemia and a friend recommended I try Nettles tea to bring up my iron levels.  So I bought some from the health food store and began drinking as a tea.   It wasn’t long before I had forgotten all about the Nettles of my past -  until I became pregnant. 
I had read that nettles was a good tonic for pregnancy so I decided to buy some get back to drinking it again.  I also drank red raspberry leaf tea, another tonic recommended for pregnant women.  

Nettles, Red Clover, Mallow

I was excited to discover that I had red raspberry leaves on my property and decided to try and harvest the raspberry leaves myself to make a tea.

However, it was inconceivable to me to even think of harvesting, stinging nettles – ouch! 

For a long while I had read & heard of stories of individuals actually harvesting & eating wild nettles not just for medicinal purposes but for food.  

Really?  I was intriguedWell, it took me awhile but about 7 years ago I decided to FINALLY give it a try.  It had been on my “list of things to do” for a long time.

Honestly, I really wasn’t interested in sautéing or cooking with them since I prefer to eat a diet of mostly raw foods, especially when it comes to greens.  

I had heard of people using them raw in smoothies.  Since I was already drinking green smoothies everyday, this just seemed like the most logical place for me to start.  

And needless to say, stinging nettles & I have become good friends........that's how my love affair began.  

Yes, nettles and I have progressed - our “relationship” has evolved - in fact, I love nettles so much that I no longer need to wear gloves to harvest.  

Just like any relationship, if you are gentle, respectful & kind, you will be repaid with gentleness, respect, and kindness (and in the case of nettles lots of health benefits too) – if not – look out – your gonna get stung!   
 Needless to say, I love the taste and smell of nettles – for some reason it reminds me of green tea but without the caffeine side effects.   In fact, I make a delicious nettles ice cream that tastes like green tea.  (I'll be making this for my upcoming retreat)  

Other ways I love my nettles include: 

Incorporating them into my crackers, cheeses, dips & desserts to add a unique flavor and loads of nutrition. 

Also wonderful both fresh 

and dried as a tea, for infusions, and tonics. 
I use the leaves, stems, & seeds.  

Why Nettles?

Nettles are a great source of Calcium, Manganese, Vitamin A, K, and protein.   Medicinally, Nettles have been used to help with a variety of aliments including (but not limited to) anemia, joint & muscle pain, arthritis, allergies, bladder infections, bronchitis, gout, hives, kidney stones, PMS, dandruff.  

If you are interesting in learning more and experiencing this wonderful herb first hand, we will be harvesting, preparing, and EATING Nettles at our upcoming retreat (along with some other nutrient dense, delicious wild food tonics, elixirs, and botanical cuisine)  For details, click here.  

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite Nettles Smoothies

Wild Edible Green Smoothie 
We serve this whenever in season at the B&B and during our retreats – besides being high in protein, loaded with vitamins & minerals; it’s also great for cleansing.  Wild edibles are much more nutrient dense than cultivated greens;  you may actually feel a “buzz” of energy after you drink this.  But what about the “stinging” of the nettles?  You can wear gloves to harvest – once blended, the sting will be gone.  And……you may also be wondering about taste…..absolutely wonderful….I refuse to eat or drink anything JUST because it’s “good for you” – no nose holding going on here.  

1-2  cups stinging nettle leaves
½ lambsquarters
1/2 cup kale
2 frozen bananas
1 cup blueberries or 1 cup papaya
1 cup pineapple (optional - for extra sweetness)
½ cup spring water

Blend all ingredients together in a *high speed blender and serve.
Optional: Top w fresh or dried nettle seeds,  bee pollen or cacao nibs 

Note:  When harvesting Nettles, use just the leaves and only harvest BEFORE they begin going to seed. At this point, you can harvest the seeds; use fresh or dried for toppings on salads, smoothies or soups.  

If you do not have access to any of these greens – you can substitute spinach, swiss chard, kale, or collards.

*You can make this in a regular blender, although I prefer using a Vita-Mix 

Caution:  Do not harvest or eat nettles when they begin flowering or going to seed – can cause irritation to the urinary tract.   

NOTE:  The information offered on or blog & website; in our workshops, classes, & retreats, represents the views of the author/presenter.  The views & information offered are intended for informational purposes only and not intended as medical or health advice.  We do not accept any responsibilities for any liabilities resulting from the use of this information.   We recommend consulting with a licensed health professional before using essential oils, herbs or making any changes to your diet, exercise program, or lifestyle.

No comments:

Post a Comment