Spring is here and I love wild things at this vibrant time of the year. The energy of nature is going upwards, into exuberant growth, and we can use this flow to do a deep cleanse, shake off winter sluggishness and wake up and energize our metabolism. Herbs are a cornerstone of any cleanse, and one of my absolute favorites is stinging nettles – yes, you read it right! Stinging nettles in my smoothie will help cleanse, invigorate and build blood, cleanse the lymph and deliver a super load of vital nutrients and just pure raw energy. This a a truly Super Ninja cleansing and energizing smoothie! Oh, and they don’t sting once grounded or lightly cooked. Nettles are also my greens of choice for omelettes, soups, nettle-copita, sautéing and stir-frying.
Young snap pea shoots
Go Ji berries
A pear ( I know, it looks a bit like a potato in this photo 🙂
Raw coconut water
Coconut milk or grape seed oil
Well, this sounds great, but how does one approach them to make a smoothie and those other things? Yes, you need to be prepared and treat them with respect, so that you can unlock and enjoy this energy powerhouse.
A word about wild things. I always encourage people to buy locally and sustainably grown produce, ideally organic, to make sure that we get the freshest and most nutrient-rich foods, and in the process make this world better and cleaner. Foraging, i.e. picking things that grow wild in nature, is even a step up from that, as we pick the plants grown in the environment rich in organic matter, nutrients and energy that came from generations of various organisms. They grew in beautiful synergy, nourished and nurtured by vital force of nature and its elements. This vital force is alive and abundant in these plants, and it connects easily and harmoniously with its source in you, supporting vibrant health. Be mindful and grateful when gathering this gift of nature, respect the environment and leave as little damage as you possibly can.
Whenever foraging, make sure you find a clean habitat, away from automobile traffic and industrial areas. I pick nettles on my run in a beautiful old-growth park that I am fortunate to live near. Stinging nettles grow abundantly in the Pacific Northwest, and they are at their best now through late May- early June: young, stout, juicy little plants with bright-green leaves that are unfolding in pairs along the stem. Have a breathable canvas bag and a pair of gloves ready. Choose young healthy plants and snap off the top with a gloved hand.
Nettles require a gloved hand treatment …
Pretty quickly your bag gets filled and you are off to the kitchen!
Use a pair of gloves to chop the nettles as you preparing them for cooking. Once the fresh nettles are put through the blender for smoothie or thermally processed the little prickles filled with silica crystals break and the plant no longer stings.
Use them fresh in smoothies or green smoothies, cook them as you would spinach or other tender greens. You can also store them refrigerated for a few days, in a plastic bag, to be used until next picking.
Enjoy this adventurous treat!