Using Nettles in 3 Different Ways
Updated: Jun 9, 2022
Stinging Nettles are often thought of as a rather unpleasant weed to come across in the wild. But any wildcrafter, forager or herbalist knows what a treat Nettles are! Fresh Nettles are an early spring staple, that tends to grow in abundance in boggy, wet, and disturbed areas. Usually alongside creeks and rivers, they thrive in partial to full shade, although I have seen some growing in areas with more sun. Their name is not joke, fresh Nettles have quite the sting to them, so if harvesting fresh, make sure to use protective gloves when handling and take care to only harvest where growing in abundance and in places that you are sure are not sprayed with any chemicals and at least 40ft back from any major roads.
While harvesting fresh nettles can be a fun and engaging way to interact with your local flora & fauna, dried nettles purchased from reputable sources is equally enjoyable and will do in a pinch or during seasons when nettles might not be as abundant. Check out our Organic Dried Nettles.
First up, Nettle Loaf
This is actually my favorite homemade bread recipe ever, mostly because it is so simple and really adaptable. You do not need to be an expert level bread maker with endless hours of free time on your plate because honestly, who has time like that. With just a few simple ingredients, an hour or two, and an oven, you totally have this.
Ingredients you will need:
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water (100-115° F or 38-47° C)
4-6 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
3 tsp dried Nettle
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup bread flour (you can use all-purpose flour in a pinch)
I find this recipe works best with a dutch oven, but you don't need one for this to work.
To begin, start by adding the active dry yeast and sugar in a bowl, then add your water (making sure it is within the temperature guidelines mentioned above). Give it a quick mix , cover with a towel and let sit for 5 mins.
Next add in dried nettles, garlic, and salt. Mix well. Begin to add in flour slowly, making sure to mix completely before adding in any more.
Once fully combined, it should still be pretty sticky, tip out onto a floured surface and cover it with flour. Then place in a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise someplace warm for 1 hour.
Tip onto a floured surface, and begin to shape by pulling outer edges and pulling them into the center, rotating slightly and repeating until a becomes tight. Place back into bowl and cover to let rise for another 30 mins.
During this time, get your oven all preheated to 460°F or 238°C. If using a dutch oven, place it in the oven during this time to also get hot.
After second rise, take out dutch oven and place on a heat proof surface, place dough directly in dutch oven-be careful to not touch the dutch oven as it will be very hot. Cover and place back in oven to bake for 30 mins, then take off top to bake uncovered for 10 mins. If not using a dutch oven, place on a baking tray and bake for 35 mins or until outside is crispy and golden.
Let cool & Enjoy!
This one is far less involved, but equally delicious!
3 Tbsp Dried Nettles
1 C Hot Water
2 C Ice Cubes
2 Tbsp Honey
2 C Sparkling Water
Start by making a strong nettle tea by placing the dried nettle in a tea pot with the hot water. Allow to steep for 15-20 mins.
Next prepare your cups, this recipe is meant for 2 servings. To a glass, add 1 Tbsp of honey and half the lemon, muddle gently. Fill glass with 1C of ice cubes. Pour in 1/2 C of the nettle tea, then fill the rest of the cup up with sparkling water. Repeat with other glass & enjoy!
And Lastly, Nettle Vinegar
This recipe is great because it is so versatile and has the longest shelf life!
3/4 C Dried Nettle
1 1/2 C Apple Cider Vinegar (or try Rice Vinegar or Red Wine Vinegar too!)
To make, simply combine nettles and vinegar in an air tight jar and store in a cool and dark place for 3-5 weeks. Then strain and store in a bottle to use in salad dressing recipes, marinades & so much more!
There are so many ways to use dried herbs, the limit is your imagination! Follow us on instagram for more herbal inspiration and check out our website to purchase organic dried herbs.