I was researching recipes and it led me to “what is the oldest recipe still in use?”.
You would never guess, it is Nettle Pudding.
Nettle Pudding the oldest recipe (that’s rich in nutrition) that is still in use and dates back to 6000 BCE. The pudding is made with stinging nettles (wild leafy plant), breadcrumbs, suet, onions and other herbs and spices. It is then steamed cooked to achieve a mousse like consistency
I don’t know if you remember being stung by a nettle when you were a child, it was a very painful experience and the area could hurt for hours. Nettles may look innocent enough, but they sting.
The sharp hairs (trichomes) act as hypodermic needles, injecting histamine into the unlucky person who touches them. Though typically relatively harmless to humans, this can produce a painful sensation at the site of contact. Burning, itchiness, and redness caused by touching nettle will usually subside after a few hours or with the use of antihistamine creams. You may need a trip to the Chemist or Doctor.
Stinging nettles may seem like an unlikely addition to your diet, but these vibrant green plants have been making a resurgence in popularity for their remarkable health benefits. There is a caution however “DO NOT EAT NETTLE RAW!”
While eating raw nettle may seem dangerous to eat soaking or cooking nettle leaves removes the stinging chemicals and render them harmless.
Nettle Spanakopita Recipe
For the Filling
- 4 cups fresh young nettle leaves washed and chopped
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the Pastry:
- 10 sheets phyllo dough
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
Prepare the Nettles:
- Wear gloves to handle the nettles, as they can still sting even after cooking. Rinse the nettles thoroughly in cold water. Blanch them in boiling water for about 2 minutes, then drain and chop finely.
- Make the Filling:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped nettles, feta cheese, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Prepare the Pastry:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Brush each sheet of phyllo dough with melted butter and layer them on top of each other.
- Add the Filling:
- Spread the nettle and cheese mixture evenly over the phyllo pastry.
- Roll and Shape:
- Carefully roll the pastry into a log or coil, similar to a jelly roll. If you prefer, you can also shape it into a spiral or coil shape.
- Place the rolled spanakopita on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crispy.
- Allow the spanakopita to cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Since it tastes so similar to spinach, cooked nettle is used in many of the same ways: in pastas, in sauces, in soups, or sautéed and served as a side.
Why Are Stinging Nettles Gaining Popularity?
In recent years, stinging nettles have gained a well-deserved spotlight for their potent health-boosting properties. Packed with essential nutrients and versatile in culinary applications, they’ve garnered attention from health enthusiasts and culinary experts alike.
Why Do They Sting?
The sting of nettles is caused by tiny hairs on the leaves and stems that contain formic acid, histamine, and other irritants. While the sting may be uncomfortable, it’s important to note that once cooked or dried, these hairs lose their sting, making nettles a safe and highly nutritious addition to your diet.
Where Can You Find Stinging Nettles?
Stinging nettles thrive in nutrient-rich soil and can be found in various regions worldwide. They often grow in wooded areas, along riverbanks, and in meadows. Foraging for nettles can be a rewarding experience, but it’s crucial to wear protective gloves to avoid their sting.
Nutritional Value of Stinging Nettles:
Stinging nettles are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Additionally, they boast high levels of chlorophyll, which supports detoxification and overall vitality.
Health Benefits of Incorporating Stinging Nettles:
- Joint Health: Nettles have been traditionally used to alleviate joint pain and inflammation, making them a valuable natural remedy for conditions like arthritis.
- Improved Digestion: The high fiber content in nettles supports a healthy digestive system, aiding in nutrient absorption and promoting regular bowel movements.
- Boosted Immunity: Thanks to their vitamin and mineral profile, nettles strengthen the immune system, helping the body ward off infections.
- Allergy Relief: Surprisingly, nettles can help alleviate seasonal allergies. Their natural antihistamine properties may reduce symptoms like sneezing and itching.
Nettle Tea: A Soothing Elixir for Wellness
One of the most popular ways to enjoy the benefits of stinging nettles is through Nettle Tea. By steeping dried nettles in hot water, you create a soothing infusion that retains many of the plant’s nutrients. Nettle tea is known for its calming effects and is often consumed for its potential to support various aspects of health.
Conclusion: With their remarkable nutritional profile and versatile applications, stinging nettles are emerging as a powerhouse in the world of holistic health. While their sting might deter some, the benefits far outweigh the momentary discomfort. So, consider embracing this natural wonder, and unlock the potential it holds for your well-being.Jump to Recipe