Farewell to our dear friend, Muli Green.
He was filled with light, intelligence, a passion for life, wisdom, generosity, and above all, love for his wife and two daughters.
Look at the joy in his eyes.
Muli with his wife Zipi and beautiful daughters, Mia and Zoe.
I’d also like to take a moment to pay tribute to Alec Sutton. He was taken away from the world, his mother and his friends by a drunk driver late last year. 18 years old, a young man of imagination, cleverness and a future about which he was greatly excited.
We will all miss him enormously.
I welcome our guest writer, Mary Houston, who has genrously written for Musings in the past. We have stinging nettle on my farm in Puerto Rico, and I can sometimes buy it at the Farmers’ Market at Union Square in NY. I can usually find it at the Windfall Farms stand, as I did this past week. I knew to use it for tea — but pesto? This is such good news for me, as I make fresh pesto every week from Farmers’ Market basil. Now I have a recipe to enhance the benefits of my delicious pesto. I made it in abundance this past week, and passed it on to grateful friends. Ate some of it myself; delicioso. Put the rest in the freezer.
Thank you, Mary.
THE AMAZING HEALING BENEFITS OF
My journey — and journey it has been! — with stinging nettles began about ten years ago. I was sitting in a café in Vermont reading a book on Indian philosophy when a young man at the next table asked me about the book. We soon began talking philosophy and then he told me his story.
He had been homeless, living on the street and mentally ill with psychotic delusions. It was during this time he began to pray and heard a voice speaking to him. The voice guided him to eat the weed along the side of the road. He began to live off the weed for the most part and, as he did, his delusions subsided and he began to get well and strong. He later researched the weed and discovered it was stinging nettles. As soon as I returned home I looked up all the research I could find on stinging nettles.
Stinging nettles are the most amazing herb. It’s free and grows everywhere. It has so many health benefits. What helped the young man get well, amongst many of its attributes, was that it contains high amounts of serotonin. Serotonin is one of two brain chemicals that, when out of balance, cause depression, mental illness and psychosis.
Of course, there are other possible reasons and chemical imbalances that cause depression and mental illness. However stinging nettles worked for this young man. Perhaps Divine intervention!
Here are some of its other benefits: Hildegard Von Bingen, the medieval mystic, first historical composer, healer, herbalist, playwright, and the first woman to be the head of a monastery, used stinging nettles in the early Spring to detox the body. It’s also used for dissolving kidney stones. It’s wonderful for anemia and increases circulation. It stimulates the metabolism and is anti-inflammatory. Studies in Frankfurt and Munich Universities demonstrated small amounts eaten every day seem to remove the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.
This was only my first brush with the legacy of stinging nettles. It’s been used throughout recorded history. The Greeks and Romans used it on wounds and as poultices to heal wounds and pain.
I took a book reading class at the Monastery in Woodstock and we read The Life of Milarepa. Milarepa was an enlightened Tibetan Mystic. He lived for long periods of time on only stinging nettles… so much so that he apparently turned green! I often wondered if this helped him achieve the State of the Clear Light. First of all, it detoxifies and cleanses the body, and it alters brain chemistry. Perhaps someday we will know?
Since I eat mostly raw, I don’t cook my stinging nettles, but you can find many recipes that do. You can make a stinging nettles soup with vegetable stock. Just add handfuls of nettles (wearing rubber gloves, of course), add other veggies (carrots, turnips or potatoes) and simmer until softened.
You can also make nettle tea. After picking your nettles hang them upside down to dry. Once dried, place them in a clean container. Use a teaspoon or two for tea.
I make a stinging nettles pesto. Pick your nettles in early Spring. I wear gloves, long sleeves and pants because the little hairs really sting which is why most people blanch or cook them. However we discovered that if you put them in the food processor they lose their sting. Some people are not bothered by them.
Here is my recipe for STINGING NETTLES PESTO:
Makes: 1 generous cup
1/2 pound nettles
4 large garlic cloves, smashed (or less)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
(1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese: OPTIONAL. I use almond cheese made at home.)
Optionally, you can also add some basil to your nettle pesto.
The pesto freezes well so you can make enough to last you throughout the summer and fall. You can have it on spaghetti. I also like to serve it on raw spiralized zucchini spaghetti. Put it on sliced tomatoes with mozzarella or almond cheese for a snack. Use it as a salad dressing. Wilt it to put in a salad or as a vegetable for dinner.
Bon appétit and enlightenment!
You can find Mary — and many more wonderful recipes — on her Facebook page.