Friday, January 20, 2012

Stinging Nettle Soup

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Everyone has heard of stinging nettles right? Sort of like poison oak, but milder. It doesn't affect some folks, but others who come in contact with it will develop a stinging rash.

Nettles have many benefits:

1. Pain: For many centuries stinging nettle is used as a herbal cure for treating pain, especially pain in the muscles as well as the joints. It is beneficial for treating pain associated with arthritis as well as gout.

2. Laxative and Diuretic: Stinging nettle herb is a natural laxative as well as a diuretic. Several studies have indicated that stinging nettle has a positive effect in the treatment of diarrhea and disorders of the urinary tract. It is also beneficial in treating prostate disorders. Studies have also shown that stinging nettle is also helpful in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia.

3. Hair: This herb is exceptionally is improving the health of the hair. If you use it directly on your hair it helps make them shinier, treat oily hair as well as reduce dandruff. Stinging nettle is also very good cure for treating baldness. Those who have started losing hair can use this herb to avoid further balding. Stinging nettle is also helpful in getting rid of lice.

4. Hay fever: Stinging nettle is a good cure in stopping the bouts of sneezes. It also eases itching caused by hay fever. Stinging nettle is considered to a good cure for hay fever as it has the ability to reduce the production of histamines in the body related to allergen.

5. Respiratory problems: stinging nettle is a helpful herb in treating respiratory problems like asthma, sinus, bronchitis as well as respiratory allergies. As said above stinging nettle is a very good histamine blocker which helps in keeping the allergies under control.
Stinging nettle is used to cure rhinitis and reduce inflammation without any side effects.

7. Bodybuilding aid: stinging nettle has 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran which is a testosterone-booster. This substance helps in lowering estrogen level and increasing muscle, a good supplement for bodybuilders.

YUP! Go to any supplement or bodybuilding site and you will find stinging nettles sold as a natural testosterone booster!

Side effects:
Do not take stinging nettle is you are taking medicines which are blood thinners like aspirin. This herb reduces the blood pressure.

The soup was good! David made it. A very bright cheery green, and a great texture with a hint of lemon. It is from the book  Food Heroes by Georgia Pellegrini.

Stinging Nettle Soup

Dress yourself in thick rubber gloves and collect stinging nettles. The furry, painful-to-the-touch leaves are distinctive with the help of a good field guide, like Stalking he Wild Asparagus, by Euell Gibbons. Though they don’t feel nice, they taste nice when treated well. (If you’re not feeling adventurous, you can substitute spinach leaves.)

4 quarts stinging nettles
2 T olive oil
3 onions sliced paper thin
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 quarts chicken stock
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Crème fraiche or plain yogurt for serving
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Prepare a large bowl off water and set it aside. Working in batches, drop the stinging nettles into the boiling water for a few seconds, then remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the ice water. When all of the leaves are blanched and “shocked” in the ice water, remove them from the water, squeeze out the excess water, and set them aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions, leeks, garlic, and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, keeping the temperature low enough so that they don’t gain a lot of color, about 10 minutes. Deglaze the plain with the stock. Add the lemon zest and potatoes and cook at a low simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the nettles and cook until heated through.
3. Puree the soup in a blender. Serve at room temperature, with a dab of crème fraiche or plain yogurt and lemon zest.