One of the great things about going for a springtime trail run on Vancouver Island is that by the time you get warm enough to take your top layer off, you will probably have come across a patch of nettles.
Usually when I gather nettles I bring a plastic bag & some scissors. Some think gloves are required, but I’ve found I can cut the nettle tops right into the bag & use the scissors like chopsticks to retrieve any wayward ones.
But most recently (last weekend) I was unprepared when I came across the most glorious patch of nettles.
I’d been stuck in the city since wintertime & hadn’t eaten any nettles yet this year. I was not leaving the mountain without them
Nettles have been used historically for their analgesic (pain killing), anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, and anti-rheumatic properties, and nettle is still a common ingredient in herbal remedies for inflammatory conditions.
No doubt our foraging ancestors had elegant nettle-gathering strategies that they could manifest, or construct, at a moment’s notice.
I had a shirt & my hands.
So I used my fingernails to snip off the nettle tops and filled my shirt to the brim. Then I wrapped them up like a baby & ran back down the mountain for breakfast.
My right hand tingled with nettle stings (persistently but not unpleasantly), for the rest of the day. I’d heard of using nettle stings as a remedy for arthritis, and the next morning it seemed that my left hand felt discernibly more creaky than my right, even though I’ve never been particularly arthritic.
Despite possible nettle-sting benefits, I brought folding scissors on my mountain run the following day.
A note to those on the Autoimmune Protocol who are avoiding food additives: this recipe calls for tinned coconut cream. Most tinned coconut milk contains guar gum but I was ecstatic to discover a source for Natural Value brand additive-free tinned coconut milk on Southern Vancouver Island: Health Essentials. It is also available on amazon.ca.
Nettles for Breakfast (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)
- 3-60z ground lamb
- 1 cup zucchini, chopped
- ½ cup red cabbage, chopped
- 2 cups (firmly packed) nettle tops
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- ½ cup coconut cream
Advance prep: To make coconut cream, refrigerate a tin of full-fat coconut milk overnight & then spoon the thick cream off the top. If you get in the habit of refrigerating tins of coconut milk when you bring them home, then you can put them gently in the cupboard and the cream will always be ready to go.
Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a frying pan & cook the ground lamb. Set aside.
Add another tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan and the zucchini, cabbage, turmeric & salt. Stir. When the cabbage is slightly softened add the nettle tops & coconut aminos.
When the nettles are bright green, add the lamb & coconut cream. Cook until just bubbling & serve immediately.
Eat breakfast outdoors to fully celebrate Spring!