Thursday, August 14, 2008

ode to nettles

This post is for nettles. Once more for the people at the back, I LOVE NETTLES. I introduced them into the garden especially. I love how they come up by themselves in winter, and how I have something yummy and green and super healthy to put into all my dishes all winter long.

When the parsley gets low from over picking, my lovely lovely nettles are still there.

I use them in cooking almost every night, I use them for making face cream and hair conditioner. I love them!

Did you know nettles are INCREDIBLY high in iron?

How do you harvest nettles? With washing up gloves of course. I have it down to a fine art:
  • put on gloves
  • grab scissors and a container
  • walk up to veggie patch - being careful not to step on any fluffy chickens or ducks.
  • with bowl in one hand, snip nettle stalks so that they fall into the bowl.
Eating nettles:
  • Wilting the nettles - by cooking them gently or pouring boiling water over them - will take the sting right out and you are left with a sweet and most delicately flavoured green.
Easy ways to eat nettles:
  • snip nettles - stalks and all, into soup just before serving. Stir briefly to ensure nettles have wilted.
  • snip nettles - stalks and all, into eggs for scrambled eggs.
  • Use nettles in place of silver beat in quiches and tarts.
  • snip nettles into boiled potatoes prior to mashing. The heat from the potatoes is sufficient to remove the sting.
  • Use nettles whenever you would use spinach or silver beet - except raw!

The stalks are very tender - not like silver beet at all.

Growing nettles.

They seem to be pretty tuff. I transplanted my plants from the community garden (where they grow wild in winter) a few years back. I think sometimes you can find them in paddocks where sheep have camped, or self seeding from bags of sheep poop. The little ones I have don't seem to be very high- maybe 30 -40 cm, and don't really sting very much - which is lovely!

They love moist soil. They seem to do OK with shade. The seem to self seed and reappear each winter. So I can not really take much credit for them at all!


Killi said...

I wish I could send you some of my nettles ~ almost as tall as me! How do you make face cream & conditioner from them? Bebi used to brew me nettle tea when I was crawling around the floor with back problems after birthing her little sister ~ it promoted milk production...

I must admit to never having eaten them, but Persi loves them & I'll be bringing the horses up tomorrow to eat some. :)

The Duck Herder said...

Hi Killi - this is such a late reponce - I am sorry! I guess the UK is the traditional home of the nettle - so I would expect with all your lovely rain they would be most at home!

I use them to make tea from which I make my face creams - i hope to post about this soon, when I get the recipes finalised.

hope you are well

Killi said...

We're all fine here ~ well apart from a very confused doggy. He adopted me, decided to look after my wonderful friend. Friend is away visiting his mother, so doggy is back with me & keeps trying to find friend. He's been sleeping by the front door, just in case, but last night he climbed INTO bed with me untill I fell asleep & then took up his guarding post