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…