Monday, 6 April 2020

Strange Times Week 4 and Stinging Nettles

My small battery strimmer isn't man enough for some jobs so this year no one will cut down the stinging nettles, and I don't mind that at all as they provide vital food for some butterflies while they are in the  caterpillar stage. There aren't many nettles here really, just along the top of the ditch in a few places. But BiL would have zoomed through them with the big petrol strimmer - just like Colin would have done in the past. Neither of them would have taken a bit of notice of me saying "can you leave a few nettles"!

Lacking fresh veg I decided to pinch out a few nettle tops and use them in an omelette as a change from the wild garlic.   They were blanched by pouring boiling water over them twice - tested to check the  stinging-ness had gone then chopped up and added to two eggs.

Turns out they are totally tasteless - but all that green-ness must be good for you.....right?
I investigated........


 This is from the middle book - 'Nature in Your Basket'. I picked out a few relevant bits.............

Urtica dioica
 People and nettles are old companions. Wherever the soil has been enriched by the refuse of human settlement - there will be nettles. They have very high levels of Vitamin A and C, 2.3% by weight of iron and a remarkable 5.5% of protein.
Pick the young tops between March and June.
Mankind has been using nettles from Prehistoric times. During the WWII nettles were harvested to supply chlorophyll for medicines. 

The page above mentions the soup made in a BBC TV series "Living in the Past" from many years ago when a group of families lived in a replica of an Iron Age Farm Settlement.
When I read this I had to go and look at my copy of the book which was an amazing find from somewhere ( I can usually remember where I found a treasure but this alludes me.)
The series was made in the late 70's and through one of the wettest summers ever. The families spent a lot of the time wading through mud and never having enough to eat.


Meanwhile the weekend here was lovely, sunny but too windy for sitting out!

Back Tomorrow
Sue

86 comments:

  1. I remember that series. Like you, my overwhelming impression was mud, more mud, rain, dirty faces and misery. Not an uplifting set of programmes at all! Interesting though.
    You're brave to try nettles!
    xx

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    Replies
    1. I only vaguely remember it - probably one of the first of those type of programmes. The book has pictures of them wading through the mud.

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  2. My mum once made vegetable lasagne with stinging nettles. It must have been OK a) I'm still here and b) we all eat it including my husband who was a very fussy eater

    Julie xxxxxxxx

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    Replies
    1. Hello, welcome back to blogging.
      Veg lasagne with nettles sounds interesting! It would need a lot of something else to give it any sort of flavour I think

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  3. Morning Sue....nettles don't appeal to me either. I'm just glad we don't live in a time when we'd have to eat them as there was nothing else....although that time might yet come back!!

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  4. Yes. I remember that series too - as Joy says above it was mostly Mud & Misery! After my disastrous attempt at dandelion crisps, I'm not rushing to pick the nettles just yet.

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    Replies
    1. I've used dandelion leaves in a mixed salad - but don't seem to have many growing here.

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  5. I live near the Medway estuary and not only are there nettles to pick but also lots of wild rocket sea samphire and sea beat then come the damsons and blackberries so it is quite a productive place. I always take a bag with me when I walk the dogs so I can collect any goodies I find.

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    Replies
    1. I'd love to live close to somewhere to harvest samphire - delicious

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    2. All along the North Norfolk coast Sue.

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  6. There has to be a reason that the farmers are not growing fields of them Sue!! Thanks for trying them so I don't have to. I completely trust your judgement!

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    Replies
    1. Farmers are out spraying the fields today so they don't grow nettles! (or it might have been a bug spray) I hate the smell and happened to step out the back door just as he did the bit of field right near me

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  7. I worked for 20 years with one of the men who took part in the Iron Age thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remind me next time we meet up and I'll bring the book so you can show me which bloke it was

      Delete
  8. I have that Living in the Past too - although I think I have put it in one of the boxes of books to be sold at Fairs or Car Boot Sales - next year sometime now I reckon. I can remember the series (filmed at Butser Hill) too. My abiding memory - apart from the mud - is someone asked them about how they managed for sex, as they were all living in the one hut, and the answer was well, you got used to the lack of privacy when there was no alternative!

    It sounds like the nettles need something with them for flavour, but they do seem to be Very Good For You. We have lots of them here, but leave them for the Butterflies.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might try a soup recipe next, still plenty left for the butterflies

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  9. Nettle soup is delicious. I speak from experience. Thanks for reminding me.
    The Green Rabbit

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  10. Apart from the colour and fibre all you need would be salt and pepper. I dont have the salt now.

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    Replies
    1. How are things with you Potty, I never see you these days?

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    2. The salt and pepper were the only things I could taste in the omlette

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  11. I've had nettle soup but it was well seasoned with nutmeg. It was OK - in fact I enjoyed it - but it wasn't really worth the faff.

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  12. Trying adding some garlic and onions to the mix should you use nettles again.

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  13. Hubby has had nettle and cheese quiche and says it was ok, quite a strong cheese as that was what he could taste. I will take his and your word for it, it just doesn't appeal. Helen S.

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    Replies
    1. Oh a quiche - another idea to use instead of using spinach

      Delete
  14. I have to honestly admit to never trying to cook with or eat nettles. I was once going to make some Dandelion Honey until I read the line that said 'first pick 200 dandelion heads' ... even on a good day in a one acre paddock we don't have that many!!

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  15. Such an interesting post. We seldom see nettles and I have never tried to eat them even though herbs and foraging are quite an interest of mine.

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  16. Another vote in favour of nettle soup. HFW recipe using rice as a thickener.

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  17. I tried a cheese a few months back that was flavoured with nettles but I had a bit of an allergic reaction to it so wouldn't risk it again. However, I do remember that it tasted quite nice and the friend I was with really liked it.

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  18. Wow that's a little different. I must admit I've never tried eating them. The only thing I know about nettles is that they hurt when you get stung! I remember as a child getting stung almost every year (before I learned to watch where I was stepping) and then trying to find a 'doc' leaf to soothe the sting lol.

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  19. I never knew that you could eat nettles!

    Those books are wonderful.

    God bless.

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  20. My oldest brother was in a German POW camp and they were served Nettle Soup. I doubt it was as tasty as the recipes you showed.

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