Stinging nettles have a multitude of medicinal and edible uses and grow wild nearly everywhere in the world. Many do not consider these plants any more than weeds.
Stinging nettles are actually very useful not only during an emergency situation but also daily in the kitchens of folks and preppers alike who are focused on healthy eating alternatives.
The primary nutritional value of stinging nettles revolves around its natural fiber and calcium content.
During a disaster scenario, or when living off the grid where physical tasks are numerous, the green edible wonder weed may help bolster overall health and strength.
Strong bones are never more important than when increased hours of manual labor are necessary to work a homestead — or when you can’t call a doctor.
The green weed is also regarded as useful for urinary tract infections, skin treatments, seasonal allergy relief and kidney infections. Stinging nettles, when incorporated into your regular weekly food menu, will not only add extra fiber or calcium to the family’s diet but reduce the grocery store bill as well.
This wild plant is high in essential fatty acids, vitamin C and B complex vitamins, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, iodine, and silica.
How to Eat Stinging Nettles?
- Cook the nettle leaves and eat them as you would any other vegetable. They’re an excellent addition to any salad.
- Make soup stock with stinging nettles by pouring the tea from blanching into ice cube trays and freezing until needed.
- Make a green smoothie by blending 1 cup of finely chopped nettle leaves with 1 cup of almond milk, 4 strawberries, and 1 banana.
Stinging Nettles for Medicinal Purposes
- WebMD notes that stinging nettle root is used to treat urination problems related to an enlarged prostate.
- Eat recipes made with stinging nettles or drink the tea to control excessive menstruation or to prevent gout.
- The root is also widely used as a diuretic and rubbed onto joints to ease stiffness.
Stinging Nettles on the Homestead
- Adding cooked nettles to chicken feed has also been known to increase egg production.
- Some farmers feed nettles to their cows to increase milk production.
- Adding stinging nettles to composts speeds up composting.
How To Prepare Stinging Nettles
It would be a rare find to discover stinging nettles at a grocery store, so prepare to lace up your hiking boots and go find your own.
Pick a grocery bag or two full of the stinging nettles to garner enough for most medicinal and edible recipes.
Rinse the weeds in a bowl of cold water as soon as you return home.
Some folks add distilled white vinegar to the cleansing bath to make sure any animal waste has been washed away thoroughly.
Use metal tongs or rubber gloves when picking and handling the nettles to avoid injuries to the hands — death by a thousand paper cuts will come to mind quickly if you do not follow this sage advice.
Blanch the nettles in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes until the wild plants become limp — once boiled they can no longer sting you.
When lifting the nettles out of the cook pot, press them against the sides of the pot gently to remove excess water if you are not planning on putting them into a blender for a recipe.
Chop the nettles up like you would lettuce or broccoli after they have dried for at least five minutes in a strainer or on a clean dish towel.
Stinging Nettles Tea
The water left in the mixing pot after the blanching can be used as a tea to simply sip upon or be used to aid common minor ailments and skin issues.
Tea made from stinging nettles will reportedly increase a nursing mother’s milk supply, help heal throat infections and mouth sores when gargled, can be used as a facial skin tone to reduce breakouts and even heal eczema.
The tea also can be rinsed through the hair to make it more shiny and healthy.
It even can be poured into a bath like Epsom salts to soothe aches and pains and strengthen fingernails when dipped into the liquid, and some have used the mixture as a liquid multivitamin.
Stinging Nettles Beer
To make stinging nettles beer, try to avoid collecting the bottom layer of leaves — the ones on top are the freshest.
- 2 pounds of nettles to make a standard batch of beer.
- 1 pound of refined white cane sugar.
- 1 extra-large dandelion root.
- 1 tablespoon of either dried or powdered ginger.
- ½ teaspoon of citric acid.
- 1 sachet of wine yeast compound.
- Boil the dandelion root in a gallon of water with the two pounds of nettles leaves. This can be done in halves if the cook pot is not large enough. Strain the liquid into a fermentation container.
- Add a heaping spoonful of powdered ginger and a ½ teaspoon of either the citric acid or squeezings from a fresh lemon.
- Let the mixture cool to at least 90 degrees.
- Once cool, sprinkle the dry yeast compound over the mixture. As the yeast grows it will convert the sugar already added into ethanol — alcohol. The brown foam on the surface is the process of working. Once this step is complete, the foam will sink into the mixture.
- After the fermentation process is complete add ½ a teaspoon of sugar to the nettle beer after it has been poured into pint bottles. Do not drink the beer until the liquid in the bottle looks clear.
Stinging Nettles Dip
- 1 cup of blanched stinging nettles
- 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of fresh garlic or a few wild garlic leaves or 5 cloves of roasted garlic
- ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- ¾ cup of Greek yogurt
- A dash of cayenne pepper
Blend the stinging nettles until roughly chopped inside a blender or food processor. Add all of the other ingredients and blend until smooth.
Stinging Nettles Mushroom Pie
- Approximately 1 pound of stinging nettles
- 1 pound of cottage cheese
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- 10 dashes of nutmeg
- Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, salt, and pepper to taste — optional
- 1 egg — if using duck eggs, use half an egg instead
- Two cloves of garlic smashed
- Half a cup (or handful) of sliced mushrooms
- Two pinches of thyme and dill
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- Butter and/or olive oil to coat and help heat a medium-sized saucepan
- Clean the stinging nettles with water in the sink. Use tongs to avoid being stung.
- Blanch the clean nettles in a pot of boiling water until they look bright green — usually takes about 10 to 15 seconds to reach this point.
- Use just the leaves of the nettles or finely chop the stalks to garner more fiber.
- Drain the water from the nettles and toss like a salad — squeezing away any excess water.
- Combine the cottage cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and half the chunk or container of feta cheese in a food processor. This process can also be done by hand, just takes a little longer and a bit more effort. Cooking in an off-the-grid kitchen can easily double as exercise!
- Add the egg and the remaining half of the feta cheese into the mix.
- Mix or stir by hand until the ingredients appear to be silky smooth.
- Heat the olive oil and/or butter in a medium saucepan. Sautee the chopped onions, mushrooms, and cloves.
- Once the ingredients in the saucepan appear translucent, toss in the thyme and dill.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat source and pour in the stinging nettles mixture.
- Stir thoroughly and pour the combined ingredients into a pie shell in a pie pan.
- Sprinkle the top with a little more parmesan cheese and pine nuts — optional.
- Bake the stinging nettles mushroom piece for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
- Allow the pie to cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.
We hope you enjoyed our helpful tips on stinging nettles! There’s always something useful in all the plants growing around your homestead.
The smart prepper is resourceful. When you look at your homesteading property, take a look at the possible utility those very plants may have to offer.
“Always Be Ready” Max