By Fredrica Syren:
The other day someone told me they found stinging nettle and I could barely contain my excitement. Stingingnettle is one of the earliest green plants to emerge each spring in many cold climates and is worth the hard work of finding them, picking them without getting a rash, and then taking care of them. Here is a great web site with information on how to find, identify and pick stinging nettle.
can be used in so many ways. First and foremost, it’s a delicacy that is also super nutritional and contains chlorophyll, which makes it a superfood. But nettle can be used also as a natural fertilizer for the garden and food for chickens.
To make chicken feed, dry the nettles before feeding the chickens nettle flakes.
Fertilizer for Garden
To make fertilizer, make sure to use only nettle leaves without seeds or you will end up with nettle growing in your garden. Cover a bucketful with water and let sit for 3-5 days, depending how warm it is. (Warmer=shorter soaking time). Use it to water plants.
Stinging nettle can be dried and used as a tea. It contains restorative elements which boost the immune system. Nettle contains lots of vitamins A, C, K, calcium, potassium and iron. During my pregnancy and after giving birth, I drank nettle tea to boost my iron level. To make dried tea, dry nettle leaves on low heat (I use a dehydrator) until completely dry, about 10 hours, then crumble them. To brew the tea, add 1 tsp. dried stinging nettle leaf to 16 oz. hot water. Steep for 2-3 minutes.
If, like my husband, you are suffering from seasonal allergies, stinging nettle can help. It contains compounds that actually inhibit histamine release and reduce inflammation. It’s recommended to drink 1 to 2 cups of nettle tea daily to help ease seasonal allergies.
Besides making nettle tea, I also like to make a superfood powder that I use in smoothies. I just put dried nettle leaves into a vitamixer and process until it’s a powder. Perfect for the morning smoothie.
Nettles in Food
As I said before, stinging nettle is a delicacy. Here are links to some of my favorite nettle recipes: