Friday, June 3, 2011

Nettle Walk, Nettle Smoothie and Nettle Ice Cubes

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with some friends up in the hills by our last home.  I wanted to find some young nettle to pick and since everything is at least 6 weeks to 2 months behind up there I figured it might be a good time.  We went to where I had found some last year while I was hiking with my Dad and there it was just waiting to be harvested. 

There were sweet little yellow violets.
There were trillium (in white and purple).
And, most importantly, there was lots of nettle - young, tender delicious nettle whereas down here it has all gone to seed.  We all picked some before  heading off for a bit of a hike.
And then I couldn't resist picking a bit more.  I had in mind to try grinding some in my Vita-mix and then freezing it in ice cubes because I wanted to take some to my folks for their smoothies.
I blended it with a tiny bit of water (just enough to get the blender to blend) and then poured it into ice cubes trays and froze it overnight.

I tested one of the cubes out in our smoothie this morning and it worked so well I plan to go pick lots more and make a supply to last my own family through the winter as well.  It will be such a nice way to get some nettle into our smoothies when there is no longer fresh nettle available.

I set this batch aside to dry for infusions (all kinds of nettle love here as well as how I make infusions) and with that and the nettle a dear friend brought me  I should have enough now to last through the year.
Hopefully on the next trip up to get more fresh nettle to blend we'll be lucky enough to find some Shaggy Manes too.


Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I know we have nettle in our area, but I just cant find it. I am sure I am overlooking it somewhere. Where does it like to grow?

Jacinda said...

Perfect idea re: the ice cubes. I do this with basil but hadn't thought as far as nettle. Nettle is always a bit thin on the ground around here and so whatever i can find usually gets used up fresh in salads and soups.

Heather said...

Hi Jane, I usually look in wetter areas. Here it is usually found along creeks or in low areas and around ponds. It isn't super noticeable when it is young (unless you are looking for it) but you can spot it quite easily once it has gone to seed so even if you miss getting the young nettle this year keep your eyes out for tall, gone-to-seed nettle and then you'll know where to get it next spring. ;-)
Or maybe if you know any herbalists or older Europeans you could ask them where you might find some - lots of Europeans still eat it as a regular spring vegetable/green.

Hi Watching Kereru, I wonder if you would want to collect some seeds of it and then purposefully cultivate a bigger patch of it. It really is such a useful plant. I'm using some (of the older, tougher plants) right now as fertilizer on my cold, sad tomato plants.

Anonymous said...

I never knew you could use it in this manner. I knew about basil, but never nettle.

Thank you so much for sharing the information :-D


Laeli said...

That's a smart idea! I've never tried nettle before..hmmm..must look for some.

erin said...

I think I can make some fertilizer too, I never did get much to harvest. It has seeded and is now very intimidating at 6' tall!

So for fertilizer, I can wack it down, rake it into piles of submission, chop it up and shove it in a 5 gallon bucket with water? (Gosh, sounds like the hockey game tonight ;-))

If I wack down the best patches hopefully I'll soon have regrowth!

Ice cube are brilliant! I may try with my blender if i find any at all next time I look, but it only an Oster...

Unknown said...

great idea with the ice cubes...I make it with raspberry leaves in ice tea

Heather said...

That sounds about right, Erin. I just grab some of the tall stems, break or cut them in half then put them in a big garbage can. I add water and let it sit a week or two. Sometimes I stir with a stick but really only because I can resist playing with my potions every once in a while...I don't think there is really any need to stir. ;-) Then when I want to use it I just dilute it well (like almost fill my big watering jug with regular water and then add a yogurt container of nettle fertilizer to it - just as you would compost or manure tea).

Erin said...

Thank you Heather. That is easy for me too, and I'm hoping it will be readt in a couple of weeks to use. Better get on it, now that we finally have most things planted!! Yay!

And my apologies if the hockey comment was offensive to anyone...i hadn't realized the outcome of the game :(