If you go for a walk in the Spring in Europe or western North America you might be annoyed by sharp, stinging leaves of common or stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). What you might not know of, is the plant' s ability to detoxify the body, improve metabolic efficiency, boost immune health, increase circulation, improve energy levels, manage menstruation, minimize menopausal symptoms, heal skin conditions, protect kidney and gallbladder health, lower inflammation, increase muscle mass, regulate hormonal activity, prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, soothe hemorrhoids, and improve respiratory conditions. A super plant, to say the least.
Some cultures use to make nettle soup as once you boil stinging leaves, the stinging substances are neutralized. You can enjoy the benefits in raw state as well provided you know how to harvest and store the plant. Harvest the tender tops using scissors and gloves or just pull your sleeves down over your fingers. Freshly harvested nettle will store in a bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, unwashed, for at least 2-3 days (probably longer).
Stinging Nettle Pesto
3 handfuls of common nettle leaves
1 handful of wild garlic leaves (you can use spring garlic leaves instead)
2/3 cup or 75 grams walnuts
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients. Keep in fridge for 3 days. Enjoy with brown rice pasta or as a dip with raw veggies. I took a jar of red lentil pasta with this pesto to a picnic today and my 2 year old loved it!