Stinging Nettles can be found growing across the world. There is even archaeological evidence proving that they were consumed during prehistoric times. ‘Nettle Pudding’ is claimed to be Britain’s oldest recipe. (I’ve added it to the end of this post.)
Stinging Nettles are proven to have numerous health benefits and although they don’t look terribly appetizing they actually have a lovely flavour. So, I decided to try making a Stinging Nettle Cordial (we love them in soup, quiche and casserole too!)
This recipe makes a deliciously sweet syrup that we dilute with water. You only need a tiny amount to make a refreshing sweet drink that tastes a little like elderflower.
Stinging Nettles are packed with nutrients including:
Vitamins: Vitamins A, C and K, as well as several B vitamins
Minerals: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium
Fats: Linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid
Amino acids: All of the essential amino acids
Polyphenols: Kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids
Pigments: Beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids
What’s more, many of these nutrients act as antioxidants inside your body.
Antioxidants are molecules that help defend your cells against damage from free radicals. Damage caused by free radicals is linked to aging, as well as cancer and other harmful diseaseshttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stinging-nettle#section2
There is some research to show that Stinging Nettles may help suppress inflammation, however further research is needed to confirm initial findings.
Stinging Nettles have traditionally been used to treat high blood pressure and although further human studies are required, animal studies, have shown that treatment effectively lowered blood pressure levels.
Another benefit that looks promising but again requires more testing is using Stinging Nettles to treat blood sugar levels.
Nettles also make an amazing organic natural fertilizer for the garden!
The best time to harvest stinging nettles is in late March and April.
‘At the first sign of flowers you must stop picking. The plant will now start producing cystoliths – microscopic rods of calium carbonate – which can be absorbed by the body where they will mechanically interfere with kidney function.’John Wright (from his Hedgerow book)
To pick make sure your arms and legs are well-covered and wear thick gloves. You can snip with scissors or pick by hand depending on how brave you’re feeling!
I pick the nettles straight into a colander and wash by running under a tap while stirring with a wooden spoon.
So, now we know how amazing these “weeds” are I’ll give you the Stinging Nettles Syrup Recipe…
You can substitute the sugar for half a cup of honey if you prefer to use a natural sweetener.
To strain, I used a cotton bag over a sieve and caught the syrup in a bowl.
Let me know if you make this Stinging Nettles Syrup Recipe.