Life’s opportunities have to be grabbed the moment they appear, because those chances might never appear again. Things are similar with nature, but with a little difference. Every year, its cycles succeed once again, giving us a new chance to get the nourishing benefit from its seasonal veggies and fruits. Eating seasonally is definitely an opportunity for supporting the health of our bodies that we just can’t afford to miss. Well, as they’re only available for a couple of weeks, I see spring nettles as a once-a-year chance to give my body a real treat and help it restore and gain its health balance after the cold season.
Among all the spring greens, nettle is the queen. These freakish stinging leaves, with their posh, vibrant green color hide an incredible nutritional treasure, with excellent health benefits for the activity of the liver, the whole natural detoxification process and balanced hormone production. Every now and then, I have a cup of nettle tea, but consuming the fresh plant gives me access to its whole nourishing properties.
The main health benefits of consuming nettles are its diuretic effects, which ensures that neutralized toxins are quickly eliminated through urine, but also its nephritic ones, easing the symptoms of gallbladder and kidney stones and even breaking these down and eliminating them. Nettles also have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, acting as a liver tonic.
A tired liver, deprived of fresh nutrients during the winter months, cannot process the excess estrogen, resulting in an imbalanced hormone production and accumulation of old estrogen. This can worsen PMS, and also contributes to cyst formation. Magnesium, iron, antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin K in nettles are only some of the other important reasons to consume these little plants during their season in March and early April.
Raw and slightly cooked are the best ways to get the maximum benefit from the healing properties of nettles. I use them raw and crush them together with garlic, salt, seeds and olive oil to make a fresh pesto, or steep them for a few seconds in hot water and add them to salads or soups. This cream soup combines the nutrients in nettles with the benefits of vegetable broth, creating a mineral- and antioxidant-rich dish to give your body a health boost to start the new season fresh.
- 1 cup fresh stinging nettles, rinsed and drained
- 1 parsnip, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 parsley root, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp tahini
- 4 cups purified water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Black sesame, to garnish
- Add the vegetables into a soup pot, cover them with water and bring to boil over medium heat.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Scald the nettles into the soup pot for two or three minutes, then transfer everything into the blender.
- Add the tahini, lemon, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and process to obtain a creamy soup.
- Serve warm, garnished with black sesame seeds.