We love nettles (Urtica Dioica) here at Forgotten Forest. They are so nutritious. Full of vitamins and minerals. It has vitamin A C K and B. It is full of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium as well as many others. It act as an antioxidant inside your body to protect you from free radical. It really is a super food… it’s everywhere and it’s free too.
We have used nettles for food and medicine throughout history but unfortunately their amazing properties are often forgotten
Some of the the brilliant recipes you can make are Nettle soup, crisps, nettle, beer, tea, latte, seed balls, risotto, pasta filling and as a spinach substitute.
I have made a quite successful nettle cake too.
The seeds can be dried and added to a nettle seed ball for an energy boost too.
All the children love to try nettle crisps and and nettle tea at Forgotten Forest. It’s such an easy one to forage as it is unmistakable. There is the sting to watch out for but some marigold gloves stop the sting. The top young leaves are the best to eat. It is also important to make sure you don’t forage for nettles after they seed (around June) . They become quite bitter and can have a laxative effect and they can upset urinary tracts.
Nettles are often said to be detoxifying and that is usually because it makes us urinate more. If you are taking medications you can end up concentrating the effects in your body so it is always worth checking with your doctor if you are pregnant, on medication or breast feeding.
Heating the nettles helps to breakdown the sting. Usually by boiling or frying but you can bash it too to break the stings.
I have recently made a gorgeous nettle pasta after getting a pasta machine as a present.
Nettle pasta is really easy to make you just need
100g of flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
5 nettle tops
this makes enough of one generous portion.
Put your flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add your egg into the middle.
Grind your nettles using a pestle and mortar or a blender. Sprinkle into your mixture.
Mix up throughly until you can form a ball with your mixture. Then you need to knead it vigorously for 5 minutes.
Roll out your dough with a rolling pin. If you have a pasta machine you can pop it through to make it really thin. Then put it through again to slice it. If you don’t have a pasta machine then you can roll it thinly and slice with a knife.
Boil your pasta for 5 minutes in a pan and drain. Then add your usual pasta sauce. We made a gorgeous wild garlic pesto for ours and added Scarlett elf cup mushrooms.
Check my other blog for wild garlic pesto recipe.