Here I'm going to share with you how to preserve the goodness of nettles by making a nettle powder, but first, lets talk about why this is a good thing to do!
All stinging nettles are edible and good for you, just pick away from sources of pollution like pesticides and car fumes. They are best to pick in spring, so as summer comes closer it is good to think about how to preserve nettles so you can enjoy their goodness through the summer months. Remember not to pick them if they're flowering and head to shady spots where they will flower later.
Are nettles a superfood?
Superfoods tend to be plant-based, are highly nutritious foods that often also contain antioxidants, believed to protect the body from toxins and diseases such as cancer. Nettles contain iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and calcium, vitamin A, C, K and Bs. They also contain antioxidants and can have as much as 25% protein compared to 30% protein in spinach, but nettle powder could have as much as 33% protein (1).
Harvest your own superfood and make your own protein powder!
Pick the nutritious tops of stinging nettles - use thick gloves and scissors - and dry to make your own nutritious protein powder, for free!
Making nettles powder is a convenient way to process and store nettles for energy balls, smoothies or nettle tea. I’ve also discovered that powdered and blended with the same amount of unrefined sugar makes a great dip for freshly made doughnuts, you could use my Elderflower doughnut recipe as a base for this.
Nettles are high in iron, making them a particularly good herb for women. They are also low in fat, have been used to help treat arthritis and there is some evidence that they may reduce the symptoms of hayfever.
This powder is 100% natural, isn't refined and uses a whole, real food which happens to be nutritious with a good amount of protein in. What isn't to like?!
How to make nettle powder
Makes 25 g (6 tbsp)
125 g fresh nettle tops
There are several ways to dry nettles. First, wash and dry them as much as possible, either in a salad spinner or between tea towels. If you’re baking anyway, the easiest way is to place the nettles on a large baking tray and, once you’ve finished using the oven, turn it off, place the tray on the bottom shelf and leave for a couple of hours or longer. Depending how efficient your oven is at retaining heat, this could be enough to dry out the nettles. Alternatively, place the nettles on a baking tray and place in the oven at the lowest temperature until dried.
If you’ve plenty of time and space, you could lay the nettles out in a large baking tray, or even on clean tea towels or cooling racks. Leave in a warm space and leave to air-dry for 48 hours, or until dry. Do turn them intermittently to check and separate any clumps of wet nettles.
The nettles need to be dry enough that they crumble easily when touched or rubbed. They can still sting a little, so use gloves to transfer them to a pestle and mortar or electric grinder to make the powder.
Once they are powdered they won't be able to sting you! Store in a sterilised jar, or even in a small, open pot until ready to use.
How to use Nettle powder
I love using this powder in and as a coating for my nettle energy balls. You can also blend them half and half with sugar, icing sugar and blitz to a make a nettle sugar. Use the nettle sugar to dust over cakes, roll energy balls in it or coat freshly made doughnuts in it!
To make nettle sugar
Combine 2 tbsp nettle powder with sugar and powder.
Nettle Energy Ball Recipe
This is my ultimate recipe for using nettle powder and nettle sugar, here's the recipe - Nettle Energy Ball recipe.