It's that time of year again when Mother Earth begins to awaken. The birds sign a bit louder, small buds appear on the trees and Nettles make their appearance ripe with their vibrant green energy. This year, I didn't have to wildcraft them at all, they just appeared in my garden - like "hey, here I am!"- so I knew that I must need their healing gifts.
I love coming up with different recipes to use my green allies in and this one is definitely not a new invention but it is one of my absolute favorites. I like to use Filo dough in the recipe but for some reason, I cannot find it in my hometown now. So I used Puff Pastry instead. You could use traditional pie crust too, if you like.
So let's first establish why in the world you would want to eat Nettles, or drink Nettle tea, in the first place. Well, for starters, I have found that food, unadulterated by human interference is really strong medicine. There is much more vibrancy and nutrition in food found in the wild than anything you will find in the grocery store.
Nettles are rich in minerals and vitamins, including calcium and iron. They are a tonic for pretty much every system in your body - endocrine, immune, respiratory, urinary - you name it. And they also help with seasonal allergies as they are a natural antihistamine.
When you harvest nettles, be sure to wear gloves or only touch the leaves. The hairy stems contain a chemical that causes quite an uncomfortable sting and for some, an itchy rash. Don't worry - it's deactivated as soon as you heat the plant.
Let's get to that recipe for Nettle Pie! It's absolutely delicious and easy to make.
You will need:
1 package Puff pastry
About 1 lb. of Nettles (if you have a hard time harvesting this much- you can always mix with baby Spinach)
1 Package crumbled Feta Cheese
1 c. Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Basil
1/4 tsp. Rosemary
1 Clove fresh garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine (optional)
Salt & Pepper
First, you must rinse your Nettles just to remove any debris. Then blanch them by boiling some water, shut off the heat, then quickly put the Nettles in the water for about 30 seconds. Strain and chop. Remove thick and tough stems. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the Nettles and place them in a baking dish. Beat the eggs and combine with the herbs and garlic. Pour this over the eggs and mix in the cheeses. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Top with the Puff Pastry and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the eggs are set. Enjoy!
To make a simple Nettle Tea, boil some water and steep fresh Nettle leaves for about 10 minutes. Add honey and lemon.
Here's another recipe that my family and I enjoy - Potato & Nettle Soup.
You will need:
2 c. blanched and chopped Nettles
2 large potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. chicken or veggie stock
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 T. butter or coconut oil
1/2 c. organic cream, dairy or coconut(optional)
3 T. white wine
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt & pepper
1 small lemon
Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter or oil. Add stock, wine, nettles and potatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Puree in a blender. Add cream, if using, and salt, pepper and about 2 T. lemon juice or to taste. Sprinkle a bit of red pepper flakes over individual servings.