Nettles. My most favorite herb and yet one I haven’t really talked about on this site. Odd seeing how it is my go-to for all kinds of things! We’ll chat some more at stinging nettles in a minute but first…
Let’s talk about dairy free nettle berry ice cream.
Delicious. Refreshing. Boosts so many health benefits. Super easy to make with or without an ice cream maker. Dairy free or not if you prefer. Loved by kids and adults. Dogs typically won’t pass it up either! This is seriously a powerhouse ice cream and one that I don’t feel one bit guilty about enjoying any time.
Back to nettles. AKA stinging nettles.
The stinging nettle, Latin name, Urtica dioica, has been used medicinally since at least 3 B.C. It is considered an invasive plant and one that you will never forget should you brush up against it or pick it with your bare hands. It didn’t get the name stinging nettle for no reason. Nature being the trickster that she is decided to gift us with this true powerhouse of health in the form of something that brings about a lot of grief should you be less than careful cultivating it.
I purchase it dried because I have been stung before and am a big wimp about harvesting it now. I wear my wimpyness with pride! But for this recipe, you will need fresh nettles. So glove up and get to picking!
Nettle contains vitamins C and K, B vitamins, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron, to name a few. It also has amino acids and antioxidants, which may help fight free radicals.
Here are a few more health benefits you can get from nettles:
- Helps detoxify the body as it is a gentle diuretic. This makes it a great choice for men suffering from Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. In general, it supports kidney health by keeping things flowing.
- Alleviates allergic reactions. I LOVE it for a sudden onset allergy attack. The ingestion of nettles (nettle tea specifically) is known to help dampen the body’s response to allergens by binding with the body’s histamine receptors.
- Reduces inflammation. The antioxidant properties of the nettle plant have been observed to help minimize inflammation. This means it is great for people suffering from arthritis. While I prefer to use CBD oil for inflammation, adding nettles to the mix certainly can only help.
- Promotes healthy blood circulation and cardiovascular health. Nettle contains iron and vitamin C. Vitamin C improves the body’s absorption of iron, which aids in alleviating anemia and fatigue. This herb also contains a considerable amount of potassium, a mineral that reduces tension in your arteries and blood vessels, lowering your risk for strokes.
- Has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Serves as a complimentary treatment for pre-diabetics and diabetics. There has been some preliminary research regarding the use of nettle tea for treating type-2 diabetes, and a 2011 study did find that it was effective in decreasing interleukin 6 (IL-6) and high sensitive c-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in diabetic patients versus a control group after eight weeks of treatment. Another study discovered that nettles had a significant effect on the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes.
- Helps with weight loss. Although no official studies have been done as of yet regarding the effect of nettle on weight loss, the herb with its cleansing properties may help shed the pounds by effectively ridding the body of unwanted metabolic waste.
- Increases testosterone. In a 2014 study regarding the negative effects of nicotine on sperm in mice, researchers discovered that increasing the dose of nettle “significantly boosted motility, count, normal morphology of sperm cells, seminiferous tubules diameter, and testosterone in all groups compared to control.” Nettle extracts have been touted for bodybuilders because they appear to impact the level of testosterone in the body.
Back to this awesome nettle berry ice cream.
When you combine nettles with berries you not only get a ton of antioxidants but you also get a ton of naturally sweetened goodness. Nettles are earthy but mild. They pair very well with berries, strawberries in particular. In fact, when you use my little trick to sweeten this up even more, you would never know you were eating an herb ice cream.
Let’s get to this recipe for dairy free nettle berry ice cream shall we?
- Boil a small saucepan full of water.
- Drop the nettle tops in it for 2 minutes.
- Remove the nettles and allow them to “drip dry” why you make the rest of the recipe.
- Place the berries and the coconut oil in a medium saucepan.
- Over low heat, cook them until the juice starts to come out of the fruit. Believe it or not, releasing the juice makes the berries sweeter. If you like your ice cream really sweet (or sweeter than the berries offer at that time) simply add a little maple syrup or honey to taste.
- Add the berries, coconut milk, lemon juice, and salt to a blender and blend until mostly smooth. Don’t liquefy this! It is good to have a few berry chunks.
- If using an ice cream maker, pour ¾ of this mixture into the ice cream maker.
- Add the stinging nettle tops into the remaining mixture in the blender and blend completely.
- Add the nettle mixture to the ice cream maker.
- Fire up your ice cream maker and let it do its thing. Mine takes about 20 minutes.
When it is done, serve immediately or put in glass containers and freeze. You can top this with toasted coconut, nuts, or even hemp seeds! Delicious!
Don’t have an ice cream maker? No worries. Here is what you do.
Complete steps 1-6 above. Then...
- Pour ¾ of the mixture into a glass bowl.
- Add the nettle tops to the blender with the rest of the berry mixture and blend completely.
- Pour the nettle mixture into the bowl and gently mix it all together by hand.
- Poor into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
- When you are ready for the ice cream, pop the nettle berry ice cream cubes out and place 8 at a time back in your blender. The key is blending in batches.
- Once you have all your nettle berry ice cream cubes blended, pour the mixture into a glass loaf pan.
- Freeze for one hour and then scoop and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 60 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 70mg Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 11g Protein: 1g