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It's May - shall we pick some nettles?
It’s such a great thought, we have all this free food that is so nutritious on our door steps, if only we knew how to use it. I always feel that when we arrive in May, we are now really into the warmer weather and this time of year I love nothing better than to go foraging.
This month we are going to start with a very simple foraging food that I am sure most of you will be able to find in the hedgerows, or if you are like me in the garden. The humble nettle.
I know what you are thinking, ‘Kate I am going to get stung’, yep, you will get stung if you do not have a good, thick pair of gloves or washing up gloves to protect your hands, I would also cover any exposed skin too.
We will be looking at how to choose the right nettles, picking them, what they are good for, how to get the best from them and how to use them by creating recipes.
If you would like to make a start, we have a fantastic Nettle Pesto Recipe, here .
Let’s start with where to find them as I don’t think you need much advice on what they look like, I think most of us will have been stung one time or another by them. They are on most continents, you will be able to find nettles in any untended ground, gardens hedgerows and woodland from early spring. Many gardeners consider nettles as weeds, but they have been used since medieval times to treat many conditions, painful joints and muscles, anaemia, eczema, arthritis, gout, hay fever and as a natural detoxifier.
They were known as the spring tonic and no medicine cabinet would have been without this tonic in it. Why are they so powerful? They have high levels of vitamins A and C are rich in calcium, manganese which helps the body absorb iron and vitamins easier.
Join me this month on our nettle foraging and cooking via my blog and social media feeds.
Next week will be looking at the best nettles to use and how we can incorporate them in our food.
But I will leave you with this little fun-fact, in the Second World War, when vegetables were in short supply, nettles were a great source of green vegetable, and were widely picked and eaten.