Reply To: Stinging Nettle

  • Redcap

    January 5, 2024 at 2:54 pm

    I have used nettles as a simple rennet before. I also eat them, dry them and drink the infusion regularly. It’s a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, 300-500mg of calcium per cup of infusion (not tea). I also dry it and mix it into my chicken feed for winter so they get greens, along with tons of chickweed and henbit. But nettle is a great food. The longer you cook it, the higher the vitamin A load as cooking breaks down plant cell walls. Humans don’t have the digestive enzymes to break down most plant cell walls so cooked vegetables are more nutrient bioavailable than raw or lightly steamed. Cooking just means breaking down cell walls: freezing, drying, fermenting, heating – boiling, baking, marinating in oil or fat. Just a handful of nettle in a slow-cooked soup or stew is a huge nutrient hit.

    This is why we grow it. Our acre is all rock and trash, apparently, and we are too shaded to garden. Food forest is a better means of providing, but that means less variety and few modern foods. So we eat historically around here, more like medieval people or early American colonists living away from settlements. A lot of nettle, dandelions, and poke for us.