Gypsy elixir… Nettle seed

Even the country folk of us, who enjoy a nettle tea or soup, often don’t realise that common Nettle (Urtica dioica/urens) SEEDS are a nutritious and tasty meal. Ths female seeds are chock full of essential fatty acids, protein, Vitamin C and energy rich oil. You can taste this when you eat them, it is similar to hemp oil in taste (and a whole lot cheaper!)

Gypsy horse dealers used to feed their ageing charges nettle seed before sale. The horse would frisk about with a shiny coat and bright eyes, to all appearances a much younger steed. The ruse was only discovered once the new owner stopped feeding the horse nettle seed. (So, naturally, I have been chugging the stuff down each day!)

The trick is to pick the female seeds, not the male parts! The female seeds stand proud of the stem, and are spherical. They start off green then go golden through to brown. You want to get them while golden if you want to store them – once they go brown they tend to fall off into the undergrowth. The male ‘bits’ drop close to the stem and are flat discs of green.

There are all sorts of delicious recipes you can make with nettle seed. Add to a salad, stir fry, any way you would use hemp seed. Put in breakfast yoghurt or a smoothie. I make Nettle Seed Electuary, which is dried seed crushed with a pestle and mortar then mixed with honey. It keeps for years and is great taken daily as a tonic for hair, skin, adrenal (kidneys and liver) and thyroid system. It is also an aphrodisiac!

You can also mix the seeds with nettle leaves, spices and ground oatmeal to make Nettle seed Falafels. These below were made on one of my full day Wildfood cookery classes at Howe Park Wood. With tangy Hawthorn Berry sauce and yoghurt!

It is the same way for vegan burgers, just make sure to use something that binds the burger or falafel together .Enjoy!

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