Out Now – Nettle seed!

Welcome to the common nettle’s best kept secret (until it was blared all over the internet, anyhow)…its seeds!!

They are not only edible, they are a superfood containing adaptogens to strengthen the immune system and help you cope with stress, whilst the iron and calcium plus other trace minerals aid vitality and endurance, and the protein and healthy fats feed you.  Also giving you lustrous hair and renewed vigour.  Sound good?  i cannot think why British people arent stuffing nettle seed down them every time i go out foraging.

Here is a picture of nettle seed at an ideal time to pick…a sort of buttery goldy green.  Make sure the nettle flower is FEMALE.  the seeds will be SPHERICAL not flat and a warmer more goldy colour than the droopy green catkins of the male flowers, and the female seeds are clustered tightly to the stem whilst the male flowers hang loosely.  It is easy to make this mistake if you don’t know what to look for.

Pick them with gloves, take only half of each nettle’s seeds and leave at least half in the patch untouched to ensure theyll be there for you next season.  You can either take the top off the nettle or if the seeds are ripe you can ‘milk’ the seeds off it into a plastic bag or lined basket underneath.  you can eat them green straight off the plant if you have a sturdy palate (as i do) but they are best dried.  Some say the green seeds are so energising they will keep you up at night, so treat them as you would caffeine, take only a few teaspoons a day of seed. Personally ive never found this to be a problem when i ate off the plants or made my electuaries (ground seed mixed with honey), although i had dried the seed in the electuaries.

Here are some recipes with nettle seed….soup, pastries, herbal salt.

Be warned…nettle seed is also an aphrodisiac that was used by the Romans, Greeks and todays Chinese in TCM.  Gypsy horse dealers used it to make the coats of the horses more shiny and give them extra vigour before they were sold for a good price.  So lets follow those horses into the nettle fields….

For those interested i will be selling some nettleseed electuary in Leighton over the next few months…for dates keep an eye on my Facebook page ‘Hedgewitch Adventures’

ciao for now…

 

 

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Out Now – Nettle seed!

Waterworld

As the rain hurls itself into the canal im reminded of the film that first made me want to become a boater…Kevin Costner’s epic masterpiece of dystopian global warming gone wrong.  who cares if it plummeted at the box office?  His trimaran was awesome and germinated a craving for the life aquatic that never went away.  Bushcraft gleanings from this film include the steampunk-esque urine and seawater filtration system, where every last drop of fluid is recycled in this saline world.  Sea water, if drunk unfiltered, is eventually lethal.

waterworld-trimaran-sailboat-2

A primitive filter can be constructed using layers of firstly coarse gravel, then grit, then sand, then activated charcoal (which removes toxins and bacteria).  Salt, however, can be removed through evaporation, so if you have time for one of these babies,  try a desert funnel evaporator…only drawback, it involves acquiring a plastic sheet in a fairly good state of repair..not too easy in apocalyptic future worlds, but ok if you live near a Homebase store, as i do.  also hard to find area where am allowed to dig several feet into the ground…roll up to the big kiddie sandpit in the park!!

Vitamin C was another must among Waterworld’s boating folk.  Provided by a carefully tended lemon, orange or tomato plant in a scrap of Dirt.  Its worth knowing some races of people, namely the Mongolians and the Inuit, traditionally survived entirely on animals they caught as Vitamin C is stored in the fat, organs and fluids of fish and blubber bearing animals such as seals.  This involves consuming raw parts of the whole animal, not just the tasty bits! and not wasting a thing.

For those who’d rather avoid this scenario of carnivorous desperation, micro greens and sprouts can be grown in very small spaces, even if you havent even got a windowsill and yes, even in winter (if you have central heating, which i dont, so make the most of it).

If you do want to try growing citrus and tomatoes, try a sheltered, sunny space and the helpful rotting straw and pee/fertiliser compost bale…the rotting bale generates heat and keeps the plants warm! Ive had a big crop of Tumbling Toms in 6 hanging baskets on my own water craft.

More film based bushcraft fun to come!

Waterworld