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Nettle for your Kids

Well, the new school year has started already. Kids are forced to sit for several hours a day in school, concentrating and learning a lot of new things that hopefully they will benefit from later on in their lives. Studying can be really tiring for a young, still-developing brain, that’s why sleeping and proper nutrition are necessary.

Giving your not too small little babies – they go to school already! – an extra mineral boost with a herbal infusion works great. Nettle is filled with nutrients that a kid needs, so it’s a great choice to prepare nettle for your kids. Nettle contains so much calcium that it is an excellent remedy for growing pains in children. And everyone needs a big refuel at lunchtime, so pack this nettle infusion to their lunch. This kid-friendly hydrating and mineral-rich herbal infusion recipe is for your family: 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp nettle
  • 2 tsp hibiscus
  • 1 litre of water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp honey 

Preparation:

Put the nettle and hibiscus at a mason jar, French Press, or teapot. Pour the cold water over the herbs and let them steep overnight. You can steep up to 24 hours if you wish. After the infusion has steeped, strain off the herbs and enjoy. You can add a squeeze of lemon and for the kids new to herbal tea you can drizzle in the raw honey. Just shake up the infusion and honey in a jar and it will dissolve.

Good herbal power for school!

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Nettle Beer

6th August 2021 International Beer Day

International Beer Day is a global celebration of beer, taking place in pubs, breweries, and backyards all over the world. It’s a day for beer lovers everywhere to celebrate the craft of brewing and to show appreciation for those involved in the making of beer.

The majority of beers on the market today are either ales or lagers. Lagers tend to have a more smooth and mellow flavor, while ales are more full-bodied and slightly bitter, due to the yeast and fermentation process. Lagers are fermented for longer at lower temperatures, while ales are fermented at higher temperatures for a shorter period of time.

The hop (Humulus lupulus), which is now the quintessential aromatic and bittering herb of our contemporary beers, was often completely unknown in some brewing areas of Europe. In fact, hopped beer has only been popular in the UK for the last five hundred years. Instead, brewers relied on a healthy collection of herbs. This was the unhopped Gruit Ale. For example, yarrow ale was the traditional wedding beer in some cultures. 

Today, Gruit is making a comeback, as many breweries are riding a wave of interest in speciality beers. There are hundreds of ingredients they use to taste beers, like fruits and herbs.

The Celts have started to use nettle (Urtica dioica) for making beer as far back as the Bronze Age. The brewing of nettle beer is mostly unrecorded, probably because it was strictly a rural activity carried out by the poor and illiterate. Most recipes miss out both hops and malt. 

Modern enthusiastic foragers who become talented homebrewers, usually use fresh nettle tops, ginger, lemon or orange to make nettle beer. If you are planning to impress your friends and loved ones with your homemade nettle beer on International Beer Day, you can find several nettle beer recipes on the internet. Don’t hesitate to brew your own beer!

Happy International Beer Day!

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Nettle Cheeses

20 July International Cheese Day

Blessed be the cheesemakers, for they shall inherit the earth!” ~ Life of Brian

There are lots of types of cheese in the market and the cheese making businesses are blooming worldwide. The biggest cheese consumer countries are in Europe, in addition the tradition of cheese making as well a part of many European cultures.

Did you know that nettle is essential in many cheeses?

There are some award winner cheeses – lots of them from the UK – that contain nettle (Urtica dioica) leaves, but nettle is more common in other not specifically nettle cheeses too. Why?

Cheese makers use nettle in the coagulation process of milk. The chemical content found in nettle is used to acidify the milk and lower its pH in order to make the curd, separating solid and fluid fraction of milk. Using nettle rennet is an ancient form of milk coagulation. It’s simple to make, easy to use and a great vegetarian alternative to animal-derived rennet. 

There are two main types of rennet: animal and plant based rennet. The primary enzyme (chymosin) in animal rennet is collected from the lining of the fourth stomach of a newborn calf. The enzyme is produced there to help baby cows digest milk. It can be a problem for vegetarians. That is why the use of ancient nettle rennet is coming back. When this type of rennet is used, it makes the cheese vegetarian.

Let’s see some nettle cheeses that worth mentioning:

Cornish Yarg Cheese is wrapped in nettle leaves and allowed to age about 6 weeks, which will result a semi hard cheese made from grass rich Cornish milk. The cheeses are sold still wrapped in the nettle leaves, under which the crust of the cheese is green with grey, white or green mould. Inside, the pale yellow cheese is creamy under the crust, firm towards the middle, and slightly crumbly in the middle. The crust is edible. The cheese has a slightly lemony taste.

Northumberland Nettle Cheese is made with cows’ milk with the addition of real nettles. It is made with vegetarian rennet, and the addition of nettles encourages the beautiful creaminess of the Gouda-influenced cheese. This cheese is matured for 3 months which allows the subtle flavor to develop. It’s fabulous with courgette on a vegetarian pizza!

Teifi Nettle Cheese is made with nettles that are added during the cheese making process. The nettle has a light herby and distinct flavor that makes it a very unique cheese. This award-winning artisan cheese is made from the finest organic raw milk.

Happy International Cheese Day!

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Nettle for Athletes

23 July 2021 Olympic Games 2020

Games of the XXXII Olympiad and commonly known as Tokyo 2020, is an upcoming international multi-sport event. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

For many athletes, energy ebbs and flows. Some days you’re feeling on top of your game, but others you’re barely limping along. That’s pretty normal for most people, but athletes notice it more keenly because it can dramatically change their performance.

Athletes are among the heaviest users of complementary and alternative medicine. Unlike non-athletes, athletes may use it not just for prevention, treatment or rehabilitation from illness or injuries, but also for performance enhancement. 

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is the best friend of athletes. It is used for joint ailments, osteoarthritis (OA), musculoskeletal aches and pains. Nettle is a good blood purification, wound healer herb and a general tonic. Above all, a tasty food ingredient filled with essential nutrients.

Do you want the same health and energy as athletes have? Try this daily infusion to support your training and your life. Whether you make it a hot tea or a cold summer beverage, it will help you detoxify the body, help reduce inflammation all the while improving your energy levels.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part dried nettle 
  • 1 part dried oatstraw 
  • 1 part dried raspberry leaf 
  • 1/2 part dried rose hips or hibiscus 
  • 1/2 part dried tulsi (holy basil) leaf

Blend all herbs and store them in an airtight container. Be sure to label your blend. 

For a cup of tea, use 2 tablespoons of herb in a cup (250 ml) of water. Let the herbs steep in the water for 20 minutes if the water was hot or several hours if it was cold. Strain and enjoy.

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Nettle Ice Tea

If you are still looking for the perfect beverage to drink on hot summer days, this nettle-fennel iced tea recipe is for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre water
  • 3 tablespoon dried nettle
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh fennel (bulb or fronds)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation:

Heat the water in a pot, bring it to a boil, then remove from the stove. Add nettle to the pot and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Add fennel and mint, stir in the honey. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Filter your tea, strain into a pitcher, and stir in the lemon juice. Serve over ice.

Enjoy!

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Picking and preserving nettle

We are fortunate to be gifted every spring with an abundance of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). While it’s sting can be unpleasant, it teaches us to pay attention to our surroundings and that’s a good thing.  It also offers food, medicine and fiber if one knows how to properly harvest it.

Don’t kill all the nettles out of your garden, because you might benefit from this weed-like herb! Not to mention, it is the perfect habitat for a lot of pollinator and predatory insects that will keep your other plants healthy.

If you would like to use nettle for food or drink (tea, beer, wine, kombucha), then harvest them before they flower. Picking the tender tops (usually 4-6 leaves) is the best for food. For fiber, harvest the entire stem, clip it near the ground. If you want to use the seeds, harvest them when they are still green and use them fresh or dry them for later use.

When harvesting nettle, use scissors and wear long sleeves, long pants and work gloves. When looking at your nettle, you can see little hairs on the stem and leaves. These hairs are hollow and when they get under your skin, the tips break off and allow the acidic juice under your skin. Even the lightest touch will get you stung, so don’t forget your gloves.

If you would like to dry your nettle for tea, there are many options. The simplest way is to make a bouquet of nettles and hang it to a dry place with a string and let the blowing air do the job. Once it’s dry, it’s much safer to handle since it loses the ability to sting. However, the hairs are still there and can be irritating to the skin or give you a sliver if you’re not careful. You can tell they are ready to store in a glass jar when the stems snap. Make sure not to dry the nettle to the point where it loses its green colour and turn brown or black. It’s just fine to use fresh plant material to make tea, but a lot of people prefer the taste of dried nettle.

Freezing your nettle for use throughout the year is also possible. Just toss them into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Then, put them into freezer-safe containers and store until you need them. The mechanical action of the food processor will break the hollow hairs so they are unable to sting you. Some people recommend blanching the nettles (adding them to boiling water, plunging into ice water, then using). Many of the nutrients are lost to the water and thrown out when blanching. Experiment and you will find a way that works best for you and your family.

Stinging nettle can substitute for spinach in any cooked recipe (they lose their sting when cooked). You can add them to lasagna, make pasta with them, throw them in soups or stews, etc. Online recipes abound.

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Nettle in the Sushi

18 June International Sushi Day

International Sushi Day celebrates this potentially delicious meal and seeks to raise awareness about the truths and fictions surrounding it. Sushi had changed from a way to preserve fish to a new form of cuisine. But this wasn’t the last stage in the food’s evolution.

It was in between 1600 and 1800 AD in Japan, that the traditional form of sushi we know today came to exist. At this point it was unique to Japanese culture and consisted of fish and vegetables wrapped in rice, that was mixed with vinegar. This form of sushi had regional variations, but the basic idea is still one of the most popular forms of sushi today.

Making your own sushi is always fun, isn’t it? It is not going to taste anywhere near the standard of a proper sushi chef, but worth a try. Enjoy Sushi Day with your friends today!

Nettle and algae are a combination of elemental force. It is not common at all, using nettle in sushi, but sounds like a promising experiment.

Let’s see how to make an easy sushi inspired nettle-nori superfood…

Ingredients:

  • 200 g cashew
  • 300 ml water
  • a small bunch of parsley
  • 3 tbsp dried nettle seed
  • 1-2 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 nori plate
  • 1-2 tsp tamari or wasabi to taste

Preparation:

  1. Soak cashew nuts in water for 2 to 3 hours, drain and rinse. Put them in a blender with parsley, nettle seeds, tamari and salt and process until creamy.
  2. Spread the mixture evenly on a nori plate. Place a second sheet of algae on top and press lightly (and evenly) with a board. Put the whole thing in the dehydrator and let it dry for 8 hours or overnight at 42 ° C.
  3. Then cut it even to rhombus shape and serve with tamari or wasabi as a sophisticated nettle superfood snack.
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Wellness with Nettle Chips

12 June 2021 Global Wellness Day

With the slogan “One day can change your whole life“, we celebrate Global Wellness Day on the second Saturday of June every year as an international day. 

All of us would like to be healthier, to look better, and to live well both physically and spiritually. Living well is almost the entire world’s shared dream.

Today is about adopting nutrition, exercise, and healthy living by eating healthy, sleeping on time, and spending more time with loved ones. Wellness and healthy living is everything. Without good health, happiness, and peace, there is no point living and nothing really matters if we don’t have these key aspects of life in place or in our control.

Healthy food comes from natural ingredients. Today, try to cook your own meal. Try to go outside in nature, take a walk in the forest or by the river. Breath! Pay attention to herbs, as they are nature’s gift to us to restore and maintain our health. Illness takes a long time to develop, so medicinal plants take a long time as well to cure the illness. Be patient and give your body and soul a pause to relaxation and healing from everyday rush and stress.

Use nettle to clean your system and charge your batteries. Slow down a bit, have a cup of tea and enjoy the moment you spend with your family and friends. Let nettle tea detoxify your blood, clean your veins, upload you with lots of useful minerals like iron, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K and other nutrients.

Fresh or processed nettle is recommended as a high-protein, low-calorie source of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Let’s try the easiest and most delicious Nettle Chips recipe!

Nettle Chips Recipe

1. Preheat your oven to its hottest setting, around 220˚C.

2. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Arrange the nettle leaves in a single layer and lightly spray them with olive oil. Turn the leaves over and spray the other side, then put the tray into the oven for 3-5 minutes, until the leaves are crisp, bright green and slightly translucent.

3. Season with salt and pepper, and eat.

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Nettle in a Cheese?

In order to preserve milk, it needs to be transformed  into cheese. This process involves coagulating milk and draining off excess liquid. Humans realised the usefulness of this technique very early on and began to produce curd cheese in the 5th millennium B.C. Hard, cooked-curd cheeses appeared in the late Middle Ages. There are thousands of types of cheese in the world today.

Did you know that nettle leaves serve as a preservative in cheese making?

In the United Kingdom, cheesemakers use stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) as a natural preservative. Cornish Yarg cheese is a semi-hard cheese made in Cornwall with a distinctive rind made by wrapping the cheese in nettle leaves. The earliest recipe dates back to the 13th century. “Yarg” is simply “Gray” spelt backwards. It is named after Alan and Jenny Gray, enterprising farmers who found a 1615 recipe for a nettle-wrapped semi-hard cheese in their attic. Today, the cheese is produced at Lynher Dairies Cheese Company on Pengreep Farm, by Catherine Mead.

Cornish Yarg wins international awards every year. Leaf-wrapped Yarg takes about 4-5 weeks to mature, by which time a beautiful white bloom appears on the nettles.

Made from grass rich Cornish milk, Cornish Yarg is tangy under its natural rind and slightly crumbly in the core. The nettle leaves, which attract naturally occurring moulds, are brushed onto the cheese in concentric circles. As the cheese matures, the edible wrap imparts a delicate, mushroomy taste and develops its unique bloomy white appearance.

And finally an English cheese joke:

“What would be a Cornish pirate’s favourite cheese?”/”Yarrrrg.”

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Nettle Hummus?

A super nutritious dip, spread, or savory dish that is packed with plant-based protein, HUMMUS. It’s not only delicious, hummus is a great source of dietary fiber, which can improve digestive health. 

13th May International Hummus Day

The basic ingredient is chickpea, which is one of the earliest legumes ever cultivated. The chickpea dates back more than 10,000 years in Turkey. Tahini, the sesame paste that is vital to hummus is mentioned in 13th-Century Arabic cookbooks. Hummus is the word for chickpea in Arabic. We are not sure who invented hummus, but it became a symbol of all the tension in the Middle East.

There is an eclectic, touching documentary film about the delicious superfood sweeping across America: Hummus the Movie (2015). The movie is about secret recipes, a Guinness World Record and the power of hummus to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews together in the Middle East, America and around the world.

The cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic is the classic way to make hummus. It is naturally free of common food allergens and irritants, such as gluten, nuts and dairy, which means it can be enjoyed by most people. There are a million other ingredients you can use to boost the traditional recipe depending on the season and your creativity. Nettle is one of the extra seasoning that makes hummus more nutritious and lovable.

Nettle Hummus Recipe:

  •  1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  •  4 cups of fresh nettle tops and leaves 
  •  ½ a lemon
  •  2 tablespoons of tahini
  •  1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (in early spring, you can add wild garlic as well)
  •  2 tablespoons of olive oil
  •  1 teaspoon of salt & pepper

Boil a pot of water and place the nettle in it for 30 seconds, then drain (you can drink the nettle tea). Put the nettle in a blender with the lemon juice, garlic and salt & pepper. Blend for about 30 seconds. Add in olive oil, tahini and rinsed chickpeas and blend for a minute or so. You can add more or less of the ingredients to taste or to achieve your desired consistency.

Enjoy with some crackers, carrots & celery!