Herbal tid bits, plant talk, medicine making, ooing and awing of wilderness findings, updates and stories.
I’m happy to announce the list of plants growing in and around the Morgan Botanicals School of Creative Herbalism teaching gardens. It’s a small space but the plants are happy! I use these food and medicine plants for teaching my kids, students and apprentices about herbalism, in the herb shop for products, as part of the Herbal CSA, for myself and my family for wellness, and to share with my community and the elementary school garden.
A few of these plants have reseeded themselves and are being potted up by myself and my apprentices and will be for sale in June! If any locals are interested in getting their hands on some medicine plants (or seeds) please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the list!
You know, stinging nettles may present a harsh exterior, but I think it just conceals its ooey gooey incredible goodness, and there is something seductive about an herb that can be so dangerous- and yet so healthy at the same time. Don’t you think? I do, and I think nettles teach us that appearance can be deceptive, that sometimes uncomfortable can transform into something treasured, something valuable. Did you know nettles are replacing kale as the superfood of the moment, boasting the highest levels of protein and plant-digestible iron of any other green? And it’s high in silica, vitamins A, B, C, D and K, as well as calcium, potassium, and manganese. And, this super green contains lots of protein, too. See, incredible goodness!
Furthermore, nettles are more than just a green- they are loaded with phytonutrients and have an array of beneficial medicinal properties. Whenever we eat a meal, we should also be eating good amounts of medicinal greens....they should be synonymous with each other. Why not have medicinally loaded meals! We must appreciate that we need these medicinally packed greens in our lives to stay healthy and adding them to our diets is one of the most effective measures we can take to assist our bodies in detoxing and toning, nourishing and alkalizing, and protecting against the constant battle of pathogenic assaults and degenerative processes. Nettles are medicines. Beautiful medicines. Yummy medicines. Powerful medicines. And some of the most important food medicines for daily use. Remember, food is medicine. And nettles are food....so drink a mug full of nettle tea, toss some nettles into your chicken soup along with the parsley, dump some nettles in your bean pot or bone broth, make an omelet, freeze some, hang a bunch to dry and make this amazing plant part of your life.
Oh and don’t forget that if you do happen upon a bumper crop of nettles you can simply dry them in small bunches for extended use as a herbal infusion throughout the season, especially allergy season. It’s no secret that nettles are valuable for those dreaded spring allergies, and is a natural anti-histamine alternative making it useful for sniffles, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, or even skin reactions. Plus this long known medicinal and culinary herb is great for pregnancy health and breast-feeding as well as treating a myriad of conditions from arthritis to moodiness, so eating them is not only valuable nutritionally, but medicinally and emotionally too.
But I wait eagerly every Spring for the nettles to pop up in the little wild areas around my home, or for my local farmer friends to have it available so I can get my hands on the fresh stuff. I often use it in place of spinach, kale and swiss chard for as long as the season permits. And since now is the time for Spring nettles, here is one of my favorite ways to add a whole lot of nettle love to my kitchen.
Stinging Nettle Gnocchi Recipe
For this recipe you can wildharvest your own stinging nettles or you can buy fresh stinging nettles from your farmers’ market or co-op (if they have it), or if you have some available in your freezer from the season before that would work just as well. I’ve never tried it with reconstituted dry herb but it may be worth a try! Some say making pasta from scratch is a bit daunting but gnocchi is quite easy to do and is definitely better then anything from a box, so give it a try. Plus gnocchi is simple to prepare and can be made in large quantities and frozen for further use.
I am an avid tunnel hunter. Maybe because within the tunnel there is the dark, the unknown... and the unknown is exciting. Mysterious.
And when you come out, there is more unknown. It's even more intriguing. Breath taking....