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Stinging Nettle (Pesto)

Stinging nettle is a plant that is known for its stinging hairs that can cause a painful rash upon contact with skin. However, it is also used as a medicinal herb and can be cooked and eaten as a nutritious vegetable.

Stinging nettle grows best in moist, nutrient-rich soil with partial shade. Plant the seeds or rhizomes in the spring or fall, and keep the soil consistently moist. Be sure to wear gloves when handling the plant, as the leaves can cause a stinging sensation. Harvest the leaves when they are young for use in teas or as a nutritious food source.

I can attest to the sting that this wonderful plant gives, too! All I did was accidentally brush against a leave when I was weeding, and I ended up with a splotchy/itchy rash. Thankfully it doesn’t last long, but it is unpleasant enough to make me wear long sleeves around it. Interestingly, I have the same reaction with Lemongrass. Considering this, I wonder…”what would have made someone consider this plant worth eating as it is irritating?” I could wonder such things all day.

Stinging Nettle has some wonderful medicinal benefits, and several ways that it can be used.

Nettle is chock-a-block full of vitamins and minerals, which include:

  • Sulphur to support the immune system
  • Zinc for healthy memory
  • Chromium
  • Boron for healthy bones
  • Silicon to ease arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis
  • Selenium
  • Vitamins A, C, D, E, F, and P
  • Iron to build the blood
  • Calcium to support healthy bones, muscle, strengthen hair and nails, and soothe nerves

I chose to try a recipe I found online, with a few changes to go with what items I had on hand.

The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of fresh Oregano, which I cut in half. As much as I love Oregano, I felt that this amount too much for my taste buds. And I was right. When I taste tested, the Oregano was a strong contender for attention, but wasn’t overwhelming. I love the earthy combination of the Nettle and Oregano. And I added some toasted Walnuts, which added some meatiness to the pesto.

Is it even Pesto if there isn’t a generous amount of Garlic?

This recipe happened on a fly, so I had no plan to use it right away. I’m happy to report that it freezes really well!

I filled it into a little tray and froze it overnight. Then you can pop the cubes out and keep them in a ziplock bag in the

freezer, or leave them in the tray if you don’t need it for something else.

Next on my list of recipes to try is tea. I’ve heard wonderful things about Nettle tea, and I’m curious to see how my body might react to this super plant. If you have a recipe that uses Stinging Nettle, I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment, and let me know how you use it!

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