I'm discovering tasty ways to use the 'free' edible weeds that grow abundantly in my garden. Nettles are one of our most nutritious weeds, and I often use them to make nettle soup for my family - It's their favourite soup!
I've been experimenting with ways to eat nettles raw, by adding them to smoothies and juices. I've discovered they are delicious juiced with apples, but more of an acquired taste in smoothies.
This juice tastes lovely :)
With my Samson Juicer I juice the nettles by adding them a stem at a time into the juicer, then I juice the apples and lemon. If your using a centrifugal juicer I'd alternate juicing the nettle with juicing the apples. The apple should help push the nettle through, and stop the juicer getting blocked up.
This vegetable juice recipe was so successful that I only got a few sips of it. My six year old son decided he was thirsty and drank the lot!
How to Make
I've been experimenting with juicing nettles to make a seriously green vegetable juice. I juiced a huge handful of cleavers stems, another big handful of nettle stems, and some nice sweet apples. The resulting green drink is far too green to drink a large glass of, but makes an excellent substitute for wheatgrass juice.
If you make too much like I did you can freeze some in an ice-cube tray and defrost an ice-cube in a shot glass when needed.
You'll need a juicer that handles greens well for this one!
As well as adding nettles to juices, you can also blend them to create healthy green smoothies.
I added some young spring nettle tops to create an unusual raw food recipe for my lunch time smoothie.
Last night I soaked the dates in a cup of water. This isn't essential
but makes it much easier on the blender. If your short on time warm water will soften the
This tasted sweet and fresh.
This is a lovely raw food recipe. The mint and nettles are very fresh and powerful.
This makes a very thick smoothie, more of a pudding really. I usually like to eat my smoothies with a spoon. If you prefer to drink your smoothies then add another cup of water.
If the green colour puts you off you can always turn your green smoothie a lovely shade of purple.
This tastes lovely. The seeds from the backberries give it a crunchy texture. For a totally smooth smoothie make it using blackberry almond milk, or use blueberries instead.
It's great to get out there and forage for your own free superfoods, but sometmes I just don't have the time, or the weathers so cold that even nettles won't grow!
When your can't get fresh nettles it's really handy to have dried nettle leaf to make nettle tea or add to your smoothies for a blast of extra nutrition.
Nettle leaf contains a natural antihistamine and I often use nettle tea to stop my eyes from itching when it's hay fever season. You can make the tea from freshly foraged nettle tops or you use dried nettles. It's handy to have a supply of dried organic nettle leaf in your cupboard so you've always got some on hand. Store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.
If you don't like the taste of nettles you can still get the benefits by taking them in capsule form. You can buy Nature's Way Nettle Leaf Capsules here.