Wow! What a treat these are. I have recently learnt the incredible benefits of nettle seeds and wanted to find a way to enjoy them, and boy have I found one….
The Wonders of the Nettle Seed
From a young age we are aware of the nettle and its annoying sting that cause an itchy rash on the skin. The health benefits and uses of the nettle leaves are also fairly well known; nettle soup, pesto and tea are firm favourites amoungst foragers.
However, the nettle seeds, prevalent at the end of the summer, have powerful benefits that can often be forgotten.
Nettle seeds are known as an adaptogen, they help to support the adrenal and endocrine systems. when you are overly stressed or have been working very hard, these systems are in over-drive and you become exhausted, feel burnt out, have low energy and a low libido. Nettle seeds help to combat this.
Chemicals in the nettle seeds, which include acetylcholine and serotonin, simulate the automatic nervous system which heightens your mood and gives you energy. It is an energy booster, like coffee, without the anxiety and jitters that caffeine can sometimes induce. The boost you get with nettle seeds comes with heightened attention span, memory and ability to learn. Pretty powerful stuff!
How to harvest
It is the female plants you want, as they produce the seeds that contain the chemicals that give you all the benefits I mentioned above. Throughout the summer months these seeds will be developing, and they are ready to harvest late July, August and September when the seed ripens and thickens. Harvest when still green before it turns brown and dry.
The female plants will have thicker bunches of seeds which are obvious when compared to the straggly flowers the males produce.
Cut off the tops of the nettles and then snip off the seeds disposing of the rest of the plant into the compost. Unless you are feeling hardy, I would recommend wearing gloves or your hands will be stinging for days.
You can eat the seeds raw or dried. The raw seeds are more potent so you only need 1 tsp to feel the effects, compared to 2-3 tsp of dried seeds. Drying the seeds is preferable, as it is much easier to remove the seeds from the stalks. The stalks may still have some residual sting so you need to remove all the stalks before consuming. Once dried you can simply roll the stalks in you hands and the seeds come right off. This is a bit of a fiddly process but it is so worth it.
And there you have it! You can enjoy your nettle seeds however you desire. Sprinkle them on salads and smoothies, or across your porridge in the mornings, or they can be made into a tea for that morning boost.
Warning: Take care not to over consume nettle seeds. It is recommended not to take more than 30 grams in a day as they can prevent you from sleeping and may induce anxiety and heart palpitations in large doses.
So I have decided to make nettle seed truffles with my foraged haul, and I would honestly recommend – Delicious. Check out the recipe below, they are so simple, require just 3 ingredients, are vegan and gluten free! What more could you want?
**Disclaimer: If you are on any other medication, don’t take foraged remedies as it can interact with the medication. Always check with your doctor if it is safe to take herbal remedies.
Nettle Seed Truffles
A super easy recipe that everyone can enjoy. Vegan, energy boosting truffles.
Chop up the chocolate into fine pieces, the finer the better as it will melt more easily
Add the coconut milk to a pan and bring it up to a simmer (don't boil)
Pour the coconut milk onto the chocolate and then cover with a lid to stop the heat escaping. Leave lid on for about 3-4 minutes
Stir up the milk and chocolate until all has melted and there are no chunks. If you need, pop bowl into the microwaves for 10 second increments until all melted. Don't over melt or it changes the consistency of the chocolate
Put, uncovered into the fridge for around 2 hours until it is a good texture for rolling
Once set, use a teaspoon to scoop out chocolate and then roll between your hands until it is in a nice ball shape.
Roll in the nettle seeds and store in cool dry place.