The health benefits of nettle (Urtica dioica) are absolutely amazing! We can use the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds of nettle for different purposes. The leaves and stems are covered with stinging hairs that stop most people from using nettle.
How to use nettle when you don’t want to touch them in the first place? And how can you add nettle to your eating plan if you don’t grow your own fresh stinging nettle?
One of the practical forms of using nettle is leaf powder. The powder made of dried nettle leaves is actually a concentrated form of nutrients contained in these leaves that are rich in minerals (calcium, potassium, silica, sulfur, magnesium, iron, copper), vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B9, vitamin C, Vitamin D, vitamin K), amino acids, proteins, polysaccharides, plant pigments (chlorophyll, carotenoids), fatty acids, sterols, tannins and many other phytochemicals.
Nettle leaf powder can be used as a nutrient-rich food additive in sauces, soups or salads, as well as a conditioning agent in cosmetic preparations, shampoos and hair masks. It is rich in green pigment, chlorophyll, so it is perfectly usable as natural food, cosmetic and soap colorant. Its high content of proteins, vitamins and minerals makes nettle leaf powder a great dietary supplement. It is often sold in capsule or tablet form as well. Nettle is well-known for its high iron content and it is often recommended to people suffering from iron deficiency.
You can use nettle leaf powder in cookies and biscuits as well. Sweet nettle may sound unusual, but worth a try. This nettle shortbread recipe is based on traditional Scottish shortbreads.
Nettle shortbread recipe
- 160 g butter at room temperature
- 310 g flour
- 70 g sugar
- 3 tablespoons nettle leaf powder
- ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 egg yolks
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Cut butter into small pieces.
- Mix the dry ingredients (flour, nettle powder, baking powder and sugar).
- Add butter and mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolks and form a ball of the dough. If you want a softer dough, add a tablespoon milk.
- Roll dough on parchment paper to about 1 cm thick. Cut into squares, triangles or use a decorative cutter.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy this green shortbread with a cup of tea, while lying on the sofa with a book to read on the cold winter days!