My peers and i have been generally discouraging of the stuporfood industry, peddled by death mongering corporate dinner lackeys and served to impressionable, ravenous youth at mainstream outdoor centres. Kurt Hahn would turn in his grave. Part of the pushback has been modeling forage and providing nutritious alternatives from primary ingredients. Onesuch alternative makes use of the ubiquitous stinging nettle, which forms the subject of this blog.
Nettles all your round.
A good one at the start of the year, particularly with our volunteers, was nettle beer-a ‘quick beer’ which normally has to get drunk before the bottles explode. Procure a Cornelius keg, which, having a pressure release valve, allows the elixir to be stored without any undesired outcome.
I love saag dishes, but in good conscience you need about 10kg of organic spinach to feed 30 people if your night’s a curry night; which is impossible in terms of cost and procurement. So here’s my top tips… Use your favourite saag recipe and subbstitute the spinich with nettle tips, cook in a pressure cooker and use a blender; and you’ve got yourself a powerful lunch for the price of some spices and about 20p worth of gas. I make my nettle soups ‘thick’ like this with a touch of bouillion, the young people dubbed it ‘shrek soup’ and it went down a storm for the couple weeks it was in season.
A few years back I read this article on the use of nettle seeds in adrenal fatigue. Since that time, I’ve been harvesting for autumn/winter store. I’ve finally arrived at a fairly efficient form of harvesting and processing. To get there, I’ve experimented with the following.
1. Picking and hanging whole plant to dry. Drying naturally. Collecting seeds in newspaper.
2. Picking individual bunches of seeds off plant, drying Naturally.
3. Picking individual bunches of seeds off plant, drying in reducing oven. By reducing oven, I mean, using oven for cooking a meal; and placing the foraged material in it to dry after it has been turned off. Sieve out seeds.
4. Harvesting whole plant with knife/billhook and stripping plant into baking tray. Drying in reducing oven. Picking out leaves and sieving out seeds.
5. Harvesting whole plant with knife/billhook, placing whole plant in reducing oven. Shaking out seeds into baking tray and discarding plant. Sieve out seeds.
Method 5 is efficient, large batches of nutritious, oil-rich seed can be harvested with minimal effort.
Ladies & Gentlemen, One in three men get prostate cancer. A good preventative (besides moola bandha) is nettle roots. They are easily dug up and washed and can be stored in alcohol in the same way one prepares other tinctures.
Dried tips, of course; can be stewed and served as a strong hot or cold beverage throughout the winter.
Note: Despite accounts of the great sage, hero and ascetic yogi Milarepa subsisting on nothing but nettles, Urtica dioica should be consumed as part of a diet you enjoy; best wishes for the autumn harvest!