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Nettle Pies, Nettle Pesto & Other Lockdown Stories

I have got two big loves, well apart from my family; good food and homeopathy.

I find them both deeply healing, nurturing, comforting and greatly rewarding.

My love for food I suppose stems from my Greek heritage and I always find myself going back to old forgotten recipes, interrogating my aunties about their well kept secrets and how they create traditional delicacies with the simplest of ingredients. I find that simple ,staple, homey food gives me the most comfort. Takes me back to my roots.

Well, recently being in lockdown and only allowed out in the walking proximity of my home, in one of our cycling adventures with the children, we found stinging nettles, and lots of them! I usually don't pay attention, but then I remembered that a good friend of mine and amazing foodie, recently made a nettle pie with Greek filo pastry and another good friend was picking nettles with her son to make some vegan pesto.

So, my childhood memories awoke, my taste buds started tingling and I remembered that I had one of the most delicious nettle pies a few years back, courtesy of one of my husband's aunts, who makes the best pies in the world (for real), and it was absolutely scrumptious! Simple but nevertheless mouthwatering and heartwarming!

Off we went then on our bikes, picked up almost 2 kilos of stinging nettles in two big carrier bags, and not one sting in sight! Success!

We made a nettle pie, some vegan "Nesto" -that is nettle pesto according to my youngest daughter-and brewed some nettle tea with fresh leaves and dried some more to keep in a glass jar container.

Vegan Nettle pesto aka "Nesto"
One cup of steamed nettles
2-3 handfuls of nuts (pines nuts, macadamia or any other nut works fine)
Fresh juice of one lemon
3 tbs dry nutritional yeast ( a great cheesy, vegan substitute for parmesan or any other cheese really) 
100g extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves or garlic
salt to taste
Blitz everything together and your "Nesto" is ready! Happy days! :) 

Then of course, I became obsessed with nettles and I started researching about this magnificent plant and found out all its wonderful medicinal properties and uses, as it has been a staple in herbal medicine for centuries. Talking about super food!

Ancient Egyptians used stinging nettle to treat arthritis and lower back pains and the plant contains many nutrients and antioxidants. Stinging nettle offers a variety of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, polyphenols and pigments — many of which also act as antioxidants inside our magnificent bodies. And if there is a time when we need all that goodness in our lives, then that time is now for sure!

Studies suggest that it may reduce inflammation, hay fever symptoms, blood pressure and blood sugar levels — among other benefits. It can also provide relief in enlarged prostate symptoms and save you from spending a penny at night! (An expression I recently became familiar with and I am becoming fond of!)

In Homeopathy the stinging nettles-the dwarf nettles are actually used, to produce a fabulous first aid remedy with a wide sphere of action. Urtica Urens is a remedy used in allergic skin reactions especially the ones you get from consumption of shellfish, with red hot blotches and itching, reminiscent of the effects the plant has on our bare skin. It's a remedy that can help arthritic conditions and gout, especially the ones that are accompanied with urticaria-like symptoms on the skin. Urtica Urens can provide relief to lactating mothers that produce too much milk and suffer with pain and heat on the breasts , mothers that are NOT producing enough milk for their baby, or more rarely women who can produce milk without being pregnant or having a baby. Urtica Urens is a wonderful remedy to have on hand at home, for minor burns from fire or steam, that can cause redness, blisters and stinging. Symptoms from bites and stings can also be alleviated especially the ones that can cause a rash, burning and itching. I usually use it in 30c potency. If the symptoms persist though or worsen, always consult your health care professional.

From pies and vegan nettle pesto aka "Nesto", to first aid homeopathy and treating gout and arthritis, the nettle is a wonderful plant to have and use in your kitchen pantry or your homeopathic cabinet. I have been using both recently and somehow obsessively, as a fresh plant and also as a homeopathic remedy for minor burns ( from making nettle pie in the hot oven!) with wonderful results. A foraging tip though :always wear plastic gloves and pick the top bits that are tender, fresh and lovely. Happy nettling! 🌿

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