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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!

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The Nutritious Stinging Weed

Nowadays, thanks to the recognized nutritional qualities of nettle (Urtica dioica), it is gradually becoming integrated into our diet. Who would have thought that nettle is richer in vitamin C than an orange? But it is! 

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food ~ Hippocrates

Nettle is also an important source of iron, calcium, magnesium and protein, much more than soybeans, making it an interesting addition to diets containing little or no meat at all and/or dairy products, such as vegetarian and vegan diets.

Stinging nettle can supply higher concentrations of essential amino acids than brussels sprouts and has a better amino acid profile than most other leafy vegetables. Although similar to spinach in terms of total amino acid content, nettle contains higher levels of all essential amino acids except leucine and lysine. 

Fortunately, nettle retains significant amounts of minerals, vitamins, and other functional values after blanching or cooking. Scientific results show that processed nettle can supply 90–100% of vitamin A (including vitamin A as 𝛽-carotene). Fresh or processed nettle is recommended as a high-protein, low-calorie source of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins particularly in vegetarian, diabetic, or other specialized diets.

They eat nettle as a leafy vegetable or a curry, sour soup, a potherb or spinach alternative and vegetable complement in a dish in many cultures. In the Basque region of Spain, young shoots are eaten raw or included in omelets. In Georgia, a meal of boiled stinging nettle seasoned with walnut is common. Romanians use sour soup made from fermented wheat bran vegetables and green nettle leaves harvested from young plants.

If you would like to know more about the nutritional properties of nettle, read this or this article.

Suggested food labeling information for raw and processed stinging nettle

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Nettle Pie Recipe

A non-ordinary ingredient in a pie recipe is stinging nettle. Fortunately, a creative cook can make a pie from everything that is found in the backyard. Let’s see how to make a Nettle Pie!

Ingredients

Pie dough:

  •     500 g flour
  •     300 ml warm water
  •     25 g fresh yeast or 7 g dry yeast
  •     1 tsp. sugar
  •     1 tsp. salt

Filling:

  •     2 bunches of fresh stinging nettle leaves or 2 cups of dried nettle soaked in water for a few hours then strained
  •     3 spring onions
  •     1 bunch of fresh thyme or 2 tbsp. dried herb
  •     2 tbsp. olive oil
  •     1 cup plain yogurt
  •     Zest of one lemon
  •     Butter for topping
  •     Salt as needed

Preparation

Step 1

In a small mixing boil add the warm water, sugar and dissolve the yeast. Let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Step 2

Sift the flour and make a well in the center. Add the salt and then pour over the yeast mixture. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it proof until doubled in size.

Step 3

In a large pan, drizzle with olive oil and fry the onions and thyme until softened. Add the nettles, cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and add the yogurt. Mix well and set aside to cool.

Step 4

Preheat the oven to 250ºC. Divide the dough in 2 parts and roll it thin at the size of a large round baking tray. Grease the tray and place one of the rolled dough. Pour over the filling and grate the lemon zest on top. Cover with the remaining dough and fold the sides. 

Step 5

Chop some butter on top and bake it for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the pie with some water and cover it with a tablecloth for some minutes.

Serve the pie with plain yogurt and a nice salad. Enjoy!

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Happy New Year Nettle Fans!

Because it’s a new year, a New Year’s resolution may be on your mind. Perhaps losing weight, changing your wardrobe, saving the planet, reducing your carbon footprint, living healthier? Have you ever thought about going vegan? Give it a try for a month and you will see how many good things you can accomplish with that. Everyone is different, every body works differently, you have to find what is good for YOU. No pressure, just ask your human body: “Hey, would you fancy a vegan nettle pesto as a start of 2021 Veganuary?”. If your body says yes, here is how you can satisfy its needs:

  • 1 cup dried nettles soaked in 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup parsley
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt

Soak the dried nettles at room temperature overnight (or 6-8 hours). Drain excess water. Add all the ingredients, use a kitchen blender or food processor until creamy. Spread the pesto on top of toast, crackers or pasta. Enjoy!