Natures Larder: The Stinging Nettle

To most people, stinging nettle is just an inconvenient weed and is one of the reasons why we can’t wear shorts if we intend to go for a walk in the countryside.

But to those of us who are better educated, Nettles are an amazing plant that offers an abundance of benefits.

Foraging For Food
Wild foods like the nettle and dandelions are found everywhere, and although we made this site to present how we are growing food from our tiny patio garden, we also happen to be a big fan of foraging and taking advantage of the free foods that nature has provided us with.

Foraging is not only a fun and fascinating skill to learn; it is also potentially a lifesaver. If ever we found ourselves in a bad situation where getting our hands-on food became difficult, knowing about the naturally occurring wilds foods available to us could help bolster and maintain our food supplies.

It is a skill we, as a society, lost a very long time ago, as we became dependent on the supermarkets for our existence. But in my discussions about the principals of ‘survival gardening‘, we revealed just how delicate our infrastructure and supply-chain is, and how it wouldn’t take much to interrupt or even collapse it. As someone who considered themselves a fan of moderate preparedness, just relying on the food we are growing in our garden doesn’t make sense when there are bountiful supplies of useful plants and food out there in the field, that mother nature has provided.

The Stinging Nettle
This particular page is all about stinging nettles, and in particular Nettle tea. To most people, this is just a nasty and inconvenient weed that bites back! But to those of us who are better educated and more appreciative of the natural world, this luscious green plant is an amazing provider of food and medicine.

Soaking them in water, blanching or cooking them will remove the stinging chemicals.

They can be cooked and eaten just like greens and have a flavor similar to that of spinach. They provide one of the highest levels of naturally occurring protein. They are rich in Vitamins A, C, D & K, they also contain high levels of iron, calcium, manganese, and potassium. you can use them to make an amazing tea (see the video below). They are used for treating all kinds of ailments from urinary tract infections to Osteoarthritis. They can also reduce hay fever symptoms and provide relief from tendonitis, and insect bites. If you’re looking for an unusual herb packed with vitamins and minerals, read this guide about Nettle.

They are used for creating natural fabric dyes, as well as for making beer and wine. They can be used to make a powerful plant food and the fibers of the stem can be utilized to make rope.

Once they have begun to flower, they will develop a gritty particle that can irritate the urinary tract, so it is important to harvest them before they flower.

One of our favorite uses for nettles is tea, and in the springtime, we like to go out and gather some for exactly that purpose.

The video below logs my latest jaunt to the countryside to collect nettles and shows how I preserve them, and make tea from them. Enjoy!