Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Dead Stinging Nettle

First things first, I'm asking you to take a step out side of the grocery store and check out your yard or your neighbors yard for this early spring green. Yes, it's what we would consider a weed, but it is edible. 

Second, it's name is a bit of a misnomer, it's not a nettle but from the mint family. It's a beautiful green and purple, not dead as the name implies. The dead refers to the fact that it doesn't actually sting. It is often confused with henbit, which is edible too, but the leaves are a bit different. And as the name implies Chickens are big fans of both.

If you are going to be adventurous, it has a very short lifespan, so be on the look out for it in your area in early spring. It grows best when days or warm but nights are still cool. It is one of the earliest blooming plants and even if you don't harvest it for yourself, don't pull it up. The bees and hummingbirds are very happy to visit it.
 It can be a bit invasive but the short lifespan keeps it from being a problem.

If you do decide to try it, think smoothies, it's is full of antioxidants and the flowers are on the sweet side. The leaves have a bit of a texture that can be hard to get over but if blended you'll never know. They can me mixed into salads also but I personally would go the smoothie route or perhaps as a tea.

It originated in Europe but as most weeds are they travel with people and grow in any area that is receptive. Purple Dead nettle means "the devouring purple monster" Did I mention it could be invasive...

It has many multiple medicinal uses as a tinsane, it has been used a diuretic, astringent and purgative. Fresh leaves are helpful for external wounds, too.

So far this month we've talked about greens from the garden and greens from your yard, we'll be exploring other new ideas for your garden and kitchen, so be sure to check back tomorrow for E and to see if I can keep up the next few weeks for the rest of the alphabet!

If you liked the idea of blogging the Alphabet make sure you check out the other blogs on the A to Z Blogging Challenge.