Spring is finally here! Happy Equinox. I love this time of year. Everything is bursting to life.
A time of new beginnings, shedding the old and bringing in new. What a great time to give your diet and lifestyle an overhaul.
One of my favorite early spring plants is Stinging Nettles Urtica dioica. A nourishing tonic and nutrient dense food. Its an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and protein. In fact its one of the highest plant sources of protein available on average containing 22% protein, with the dried leaf containing up to 40%! It’s very high in calcium, magnesium, trace minerals and chlorophyll. Nettle is also high in chromium, cobalt, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and sulfur, as well as the B complexes, especially thiamine and riboflavin. It supplies niacin, ascorbic acid and vitamins D and K. It can be used just like spinach.(Hence this saag recipe). In case you don’t know, saag is a traditional Indian dish made with spinach. This is a vegetarian version but you can feel free to add the traditional paneer(indian cheese or chicken).
Nettle is also great for seasonal allergies as it is purported to have anti-histamine properties. And don’t fear, if you don’t like to cook you can make an infusion of fresh or dried leaves and drink like a tea.
Remember be careful handling the nettles as they do sting so handle with tongs or gloves. However as a folk remedy people with arthritis in their hands have been known to stick their hands into the stinging nettles as a powerful anti-inflammatory. This is due to the formic acid released from the bristly hairs on the stems and underside of the leaves.
There’s so many benefits and uses for nettles I am only scratching the surface here. But be sure to cook or dry them to remove the sting!
You can welcome spring and start a journey to better health right now by trying this lovely stinging nettle recipe. The thing is, when you cook them the sting goes away and you have a tasty nutritious meal. And please do let me know what you think.
SPRING NETTLE SAAG
- 2 Tablespoons ghee
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger chopped
- 1 can tomatoes or 2 large or 4 medium tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- several bunches of stinging nettle
- handful of basil or cilantro (optional)
You can buy the nettle at a local farmers market in early spring, or do as I did and forage them. Be careful, they do sting but it will go away shortly. Handle with tongs or gloves to avoid stings.
Melt ghee in a large pot or dutch oven, add spices and saute until fragrant. Add onion and saute until soft. Add chopped garlic and saute until fragrant.
Then add nettle in batches until wilted. When nettle is wilted stir in tomatoes (canned or chopped fresh)
Simmer over low heat for at least an hour or if using dutch oven can place in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Puree in a blender. Can serve with rice. And enjoy!
Resources: Herbmentor.com, Umm.edu,The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D., The Whole New Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical advice. Contact your health care provider before making any nutritional changes or beginning any type of exercise program.