Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica....

Nettle is the epitomy of all the 'good stuff' thats in leafy greens that led to mothers repeatedly asking us to 'eat your greens'. She contains chlorophyll, calcium, chromium, magnesium, zinc, abundant iron, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, protein, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, vitamins A, K and C. She can rebuild damaged adrenals, and nourishes the nervous system, creating earthed energy and endurance with regular drinking of her leaves and stems as an infusion (a strong tea brewed for 4 hours or more) or tincture. She helps build strengthened systems and cells. When you are exhausted or drained all the time and reaching for anotha cup of coffee, why not get to know sista nettle...

"At one time the nettlebed was a characteristic feature of an English country garden and highly treasured for its riches of protein, minerals and vitamins. Nettles were traditionally taken as a spring tonic in the form of soup or tea, as they were said to purify the blood- no doubt they did, too being the first green vegetable to appear after the long winter's diet of salted meat. Their cultivation was part of a natural plant rotation and they were sold in 18th century markets as a vegetable. Victorian cookbooks include nettles as a matter of course and it is only in recent years, in the hey-day of the supermarket, that they have been forgotten. They make a tasty vegetable and have the advantage of being available throughout the growing season. When cut back they re-grow vigorously within a few weeks"

                                             Rosamond Richardson in Hedgerow Cookery

Wild Nettle Greens, Mayonaisse and Poached egg on toast
Nettle greens to steam
200-250ml a mild tasting oil, vegetable oil is good
1 egg
A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
 A half teaspoon of mustard
 Beat egg in a blender on high, add the vinegar and mustard and blend. Add a pinch of salt and sugar. Trick is to add the oil slowly beating in between. To thicken, if it’s too runny, add more oil.
While your eggs are poaching, steam your greens.
Get you toast and layer on mayonnaise, greens and then eggs on top. A bit of salt and cracked pepper and its breakfast time....

 "Nettles are so well known that they need no description. They may be found, by feeling, in the darkest night."
               Nicholas Culpeper (1561)

 'Stinging' nettle is so named for the small hairs that cover the underside of the leaves and stem of the plant, tipped in formic acid, serotonin and histamine. Nettles most dramatic use is for 'urtication', where the hairs are brushed over arthritic or swollen joints to draw blood to the area. A lady asked if she could try using some nettles from our patch for her mother, for just this reason. She had relief from pain that had bothered her for years. Once you come to know nettles softer sides, her 'sting'  is a call to awareness, a buzzing heat guiding you as you harvest.

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