Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring and Stinging Nettles

A few weeks ago, our small farmer's market had the first of the stinging nettles.  The farmers also had shitake mushrooms and kale to sell, so I picked up some of each to dry in the food dehydrator knowing that we couldn't eat them all quickly enough.

A few days after dehydrating the food, I heard about the compromised Fukushima nuclear plant.   I figured from the reports of a possible meltdown that we might be getting some radiation our way in Oregon- and now, of course, we know it has arrived everywhere in the rain.   While they say the amounts are small, ingesting the radiation, especially concentrated in milk, is something that I'd like to avoid.  Nettles, greens and shitake mushrooms are some of the best foods to have around when there is radiation and heavy metals to be gotten rid of in the body.  I picked up some miso and seaweeds as well.   Japanese researchers have suggested that regularly eaten,  seaweed is effective in blocking the radioactive iodine from our thyroids, and that miso can help the body to get rid of radioactive isotopes.  I can't say that we are normally daily eaters of any of these foods, but I figure that it can't hurt to get them in to our diets now, and we do love miso soup.

I thought that the nettles' stinging action would be stopped with the dehydrating, but they still retained a bit of their sting when touched by a soft part of the body, like the side of my finger or my husband's throat after I convinced him to eat one (oops, maybe I chewed mine more).  Once they are doused with boiling water or sauteed, they are definitely okay to eat.  They have a nutty, artichoke- like flavor,  a beautiful deep green color, are full of vitamins and minerals and are used by herbalists to treat a variety of ailments.  I drink them as a tea and will try them in a pesto with the next fresh batch that I get. 

I've been making miso soup for years in a quick, simple way, just filling a tea strainer with bonito flakes and adding it with a 2 inch piece of rinsed kombu to a medium size pot of water, boiling gently for a few minutes.  Sometimes I add thinly sliced veggies and tofu near the end. When I take it off the heat, I add the miso.  Saveur has a recipe which sounds more authentic, involving soaking the kombu overnight which would probably give the soup a lot more minerals.

So make sure to eat your greens, miso and mushrooms for a while- it can't hurt.

1 comment:

eatintakeout said...

yummy! now i'm really craving miso soup! - jen