Nettle has been used as food, medicine, and fiber for hundreds of years, and this humble weed is incredibly nutrient-dense with a lot to offer. The flavor of nettle is similar to spinach, making it wonderfully versatile. Nettle quiche is a great way to enjoy the flavor and nutrients of nettle.
I first became acquainted with nettle on a hike in the mountains of Virginia. Brushing against the leaves created a slight burning/itching sensation, but the discomfort didn’t last long. The nettle plant – Urtica dioica, is often called stinging nettle because the leaves and stems have tiny fibers that cause a stinging, tingling, or slight burning sensation when they come into contact with the skin. (Heating and drying nettle leaves inactivates the stinging compounds.)
But don’t let this deter you from enjoying nettle as food! Nettle is amazing plant with much to offer us, and is often considered a “Super Food”, providing important benefits for our health.
Traditional Uses of Nettle
Nettle has long been valued as food and medicine. Today, nettle is frequently used to treat:
- Adrenal fatigue
- Painful muscles and joints
- Urinary problems due to enlarged prostate
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney disease
- Hay fever
You can learn more about the benefits of using nettle in 4 Herbal Remedies for Stress.
Herbalists frequently recommend nettle as part of a daily nourishing herbal infusion, using dried leaves steeped in water for several hours. But there are so many great nettle recipes, and nettle quiche is just one way to enjoy this amazing plant.
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Nettle frequently grows in woodlands and particularly along rivers and streams, although I sometimes see nettle growing in meadows.
To make life easier, I brought several plants home (wearing long sleeves and gloves), and planted them in pots. They did well, and supplied me with fresh leaves all summer long. Now I enjoy a patch of nettle I planted beneath a tree in my yard. My goal is to grow enough to have fresh, frozen, and dried leaves throughout the year.
If you are interested in growing your own medicinal herbs, I highly recommend nettle for its many benefits.
Cooking with Nettle – Nettle as Food
Nettle is similar in flavor to spinach, and can be used in most any recipe calling for greens. Heating nettle leaf inactivates the sting, and nettle leaves can be enjoyed in soups, stews, omelets, as pesto (steamed first), in breads, lasagna, and quiche.
Nutritional Benefits of Nettle
Many of our wild herbs are far more nutritious than the vegetables we buy at the grocery store. Nettle is a surprisingly good source of iron, protein, and minerals.
- Highest plant source of iron
- Vitamins A and C
- Alpha-linolenic acid , an important omega -3 fatty acid
Nettle quiche is a simple way to enjoy the nutrition of nettle. I prefer a crustless quiche, and combined my nettle with broccoli and cheese, but of course, the versatility of a quiche means an endless variety of choices for filling ingredients.
- 1 cup steamed nettle, chopped
- 1 cup of steamed broccoli, chopped
- 1 small to medium clove of garlic, minced
- 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 cup milk or cream
- 1-2 tablespoons corn starch or flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Steam your nettle – 1-2 minutes, until wilted, then chop.
- Steam the broccoli and chop.
- Combine the nettle, broccoli, and garlic and place in a greased pie plate.
- Sprinkle cheese over the filling ingredients.
- Combine the eggs, cream, corn starch, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, whisking together.
- Pour the egg/cream mixture over the vegetables and cheese, pressing down with a spoon to completely coat the vegetable filling.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. The quiche is done when the center is set. This is great served with soup.
There are so many ways to enjoy the wild foods around us. The Herbal Academy Blog has a lovely article with more nettle recipes including Nettle Soup, Nettle Oat Cakes, and Nettle Leaf Shortbread.