I know it’s been a while, but here I am. Let me tell you about how this green creation came to life. I was crossing my garden coming home from a meeting, realising I was almost stepping on the nettles that had started to grow. You know those annoying stinging things that most people don’t want in their gardens. Well, except for me, I was thrilled! I walked inside to get a pair of gloves and started picking my lunch.
I placed the leaves directly in a bowl and washed them with cold water and then left them to dry on a kitchen towel. At this point, you could freeze the leaves, store them in the fridge for about a week (in a ziplock bag) or use them straight as I did.
Before I get to the recipe, let me say a few words about my friend, the nettle. It’s literally bursting with nutrients and has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. They say spinach is a super veggie, but the nettle is like the extra-super version of the spinach! If you happen to be anaemic or lacking iron, go pick some nettles!
We’ve all heard the word antioxidant, but what does it really mean? Antioxidants (found for example in leafy green vegetables) help fight free radicals in our bodies. And what are free radicals?? They are harmful molecules caused by stress, pollution, poor quality food, sun exposure etc. They are in part what causes disease in our bodies. And antioxidants help to fight these bad guys.
As all leafy greens, nettles are also highly alkaline. Our modern western diet tends to be more acidic than what’s good for us and any green leafy foods will help you restore the balance. Pathogens, like cancer cells strive in acidic environments, so adding alkaline foods helps keeping you healthy.
Use nettles as you would use spinach: in soups, smoothies, pancakes, omelettes, sautéed, to make pesto or as a herb instead of (or alongside) cilantro and parsley. Or make a tea out of the fresh or dried leaves (mixing with mint and lemon).
Green stinging nettle smoothie
- 20 g nettles (a good handful)
- 40 g spinach (fresh or frozen, organic)
- 1 stalk celery (organic)
- 1/3 banana
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 pear (organic)
- 1/2 cup coconut water (can be replaced with water)
Wash your greens and chop them up. Blend everything on high until reaching a smooth texture. Serve immediately.
(I mention “organic” on the produce included in the dirty dozen list, which tend to have the most pesticide residue, as these are the ones where you make the biggest difference by choosing organic)
One last note: nettles can be high in nitrates depending on where they grow. If the spot where you pick them has clean ground, they don’t need to be blanched, but if you’re not sure, it’s better to boil them in plenty of water for 1-2 minutes. Drying the nettles has the same effect as blanching, lowering the levels of nitrates.