Stinging Nettle ~ Urtica Dioica

We are thick with Stinging nettles right now.  Any place on our property that has a bit of shade, has a patch of nettles growing nearby.  Nearly everyone I know has a nettle story that involves the prickly plant and stings somewhere unpleasant.  I have one or two of my own.  It’s generally not a big deal, and the stings go away within a day or so.

Not everyone is aware of this, but Nettle is edible and incredibly good for you.  So you can spend your weekends trying to rid of this little plant or you can use it to feed your family and help keep them well.

Some of the health benefits of Stinging Nettle include:

  • anti-allergy and hay fever
  • anti inflammatory
  • helps eczema
  • arthritis
  •  helps with respiratory aliments
  • helps with dandruff and makes hair shiny

The plan for today was to have a nettle recipe tried and reviewed for you, but sick kids and getting ready for Frank’s parents has taken priority so I’ll leave you with a few recipes.

Nettle Pesto

Stinging Nettle Soup

Nettle Aloo

Obviously you’ll want to wear gloves when picking and preparing your nettles.  The hairs on the plant is what causes the sting.  Once the plant has either been pulverized or cooked, the hairs are no long a problem.

Take care to avoid nettles if you are on blood thinners, beta blockers or a couple of other medications as it causes some interference.

The smallest and newest leaves are the most tasty.  The older ones are a bit tough.

I hope you take some time to eat your weeds this week.  I plan on making the pesto, and perhaps the soup.

Have you ever cooked with nettles?


Dandelion Jelly

Every year it is my intention to make Dandelion jelly with the kids.  Most years it happens, but sometimes not.  This year we did it and with the first sunshine yellow blooms of the year I might add!

Our recipe came from Simply Canning. We used 3 cups of sugar instead of 4.5 and also subbed in a no-sugar-needed pectin.

It tastes like jellied sunshine would if you could eat it.  I’m sure of it!


I was going to end here but the amazing Barefoot Mama over at Barefoot Five had a great post today about beneficial weeds and I thought you might want to check it out.


We have a lot of chickweed growing on the farm right now.  Huge patches of it are springing up all over the place.

Here is a pretty informative video on my favorite weed.  It’s bit long, but if you want to be sure that you’ve found chickweed this video covers quite a bit on identification.  I was able to reproduce the finding of the elastic cord in my chickweed.  I had never heard of it before and it was fun to try.  The video says that chickweed tastes like corn silk and it might, but I think it tastes like mellow grass.  It has a very green and fresh taste about it.

Susun Weed waxes poetic about chickweed here.  She’s got a unique and refreshing viewpoint of herbs.   I’m especially fond of how she personifies plants and gives them a memorable tale.  It is so much more interesting than a dry list of benefits.

After reading this bit on Susun Weed’s site, I’ll be adding more chickweed into my diet for sure.  ” Yes, you heard me correctly, drinking chickweed infusion can eliminate fat cells. I put one ounce of dried herb (I weigh it) in a quart jar and fill it to the top with boiling water. I cap it tightly and wait for at least four hours, then strain and drink it, hot or cold, with honey or miso. What I don’t consume right away, I store in the refrigerator. A quart a day is not too much to drink, but even two cups a day can help you shed those unwanted pounds. (Do remember though that subcutaneous fat, the kind you can pinch, is healthy for women, so don’t get too thin.)

Usually, chickweed makes it into my smoothies and maybe my salad.  Since variety makes the world go round, I thought it might be time to try a new recipe for Stellaria media (Side note:  Stellaria was on my baby name list for a while for our youngest, but it didn’t make the cut).  I found this chickweed pesto recipe over at Girl In An Apron.  Girl In An Apron has a lot of great recipes on her blog.  I’m looking forward to making more.

The plan is to serve it on some white fish for dinner.  I ate quite a bit of it with carrots and cucumber for lunch and it is amazing.

Chickweed Pesto

*3 cups fresh chickweed
*3 cloves garlic
*1/2 cup olive oil
*1 tsp sea salt
*fresh ground pepper
*zest from 1/2 lemon
*1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds, or toasted pine nuts, or pecans, or walnuts. . .whatever you have.

Rinse chickweed well. Spin in a salad spinner to dry. Blend chickweed, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest and seeds/nuts in a food processor briefly. With blade still in motion slowly pour in olive oil to create a paste. Serve on meat or fish, toss with roasted fingerling potatoes or pasta or spread on sourdough. Enjoy the taste of Spring!

Dinner Update:  The chickweed pesto on white fish had mixed reviews.  The adults loved it and gobbled it up, one child ate it but thought it was just OK, and two wouldn’t even try it.  I’m not going to let this discourage me.  The kids get a little weird when I put new food on their plates.   Especially if it’s green.

I think there is a little pesto left over that will be going into my eggs this morning.  Yum!

Happy Spring!