Botanical name: Urtica dioica
How to grow it: Stinging nettle is considered a weed around much of the world and so it’s safe to say it’s very easy to grow in a wide climatic range. In fact the main challenge is to keep it contained as it will spread via underground runners as well as seed. Consider using barriers or growing in pots or containers- particularly if you’re growing for the first time.
I’ve found it will grow in very poor soils with virtually no care, but also responds well to regular watering and fertilising. Best to grow in an out of the way position as the stings can be painful – especially for children or the unsuspecting.
Propogation is by division of underground runners or from tip cuttings.
Will do well in pots and responds well to regular harvesting.
Nutrition: You may well ask – why on earth would you intentionally grow a weed like that?
Stinging nettle is a nutritional powerhouse containing vitamins A,B,C,D,E & K and high levels of Iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and many other trace elements.
Medicinal uses are too many for this space – I would consider Nettle one of the best general tonic herbs you can take. It’s very high in chlorophyl which is good for your blood & for your body’s ability to cleanse itself. Also thought to be very good for your digestive system.
Bizarrely, the Nettle sting has been traditionally used for pain relief – the sting is thought to be good in attracting circulation to your pain areas, though some will say the pain of the sting just diverts your attention! (I haven’t tried this yet)
Using it in the Kitchen: Obviously you wouldn’t eat Nettles raw, but as soon as you apply heat the stings are neutralised – that means you can add it to any cooked dishes – often soups and long cooked meals like casseroles. I usually throw it in to dishes stems and all & just remove the hard stems prior to serving.
If you want to include Nettle in your diet, consider using the leaves in your herbal teas. They can be added to almost any tea combination and you’ll know you’re supercharging your tea’s nutrients.
Nettle is a brilliant survival food for it’s hardiness and amazing nutrition.