Purple Dead Nettle, New Kale, and Old Kale

Today I waded through the wet 60-degree grass to take a picture of two of the kale I planted back in October, picked in November and again in February and did not expect to pick again. But here it is rising from the Purple Dead Nettle, which I only just learned about, thanks to google images. The Purple Dead Nettle has taken over my little side garden where I successfully grew winter kale for the first time. If the kale didn’t rise above the Purple would you see it in this sea of green and purple?

Purple Dead Nettle, responds to a rainy day, while rain-dropped kale stands unpurturbed

Purple Dead Nettle, responds to a rainy day, while rain-dropped kale stands unpurturbed

Here’s another shot (okay, I’m learning how to use photoshop on my raw images–does it look new?), which you can compare with my truly “new” kale (below if I can find it and not if I can’t) that I planted in early spring last year, and which was so beautiful, but did not survive the bugs that gobbled the leaves up, seemingly overnight:

My old kale in new spring

My old kale in new spring

Now, all that said about new kale, old kale and Dead Nettle (a good thing), Purple, I’ve also just learned that it works well in a smoothie….well, coincidences upon co-incidents! Just this weekend I finally threw the over-ripe bananas I had in the freezer, with some store-bought frozen strawberries (probably not NGO), some vanilla yogurt, and 1/4 cup of orange juice. Voila! A smoothie to write home about. And if you’re writing home to Dharamsala, to your Tibetan friends, make that a Goji….even better.

Here’s what I learned about the purple nettle, from the wonderful “First Ways: urban foraging and other adventures” Blog: http://firstways.com/2011/02/17/purple-dead-nettle-a-weed-good-to-eat/

That is Lamium purpureum, a mint family plant known as purple dead nettle. You may wonder: Why eat it? Because it is said to be high in a number of nutrients including antioxidants, those cancer-busting compounds we can all use more of! I have been into putting it in my smoothies ever since I read this piece by a Tennessee homesteader. I blend it because the fuzzy texture and bland, grassy flavor does not make for awesome eating as a whole plant. (That said, with a little creativity, anything is possible.)

So I picked some Dead Nettle (a la purpella), ran to the store for above ingredients, or as close as I could get, and threw them into the blender….was it better than my original Goji? See for yourself!

First, the ingredients, then the pouring of the libations….I can’t show you how good it tastes. I put in all the Pupolis Deadus Nettalis (Lamium purpureum to be fair) that you see in the picture, two bananas, a bunch of strawberries (8?), some juice, and half the yogurt….

5 ingredients, that's all!

5 ingredients, that’s all!

Thick, lucsious smoothie with Purple Dead Nettle, minty!

Thick, lucsious smoothie with Purple Dead Nettle, minty!

So, here’s the site map:

begin with picture of kale you didn’t know you had growing because you’re only just now venturing out of your house and into the spring…..

get mildly curious about the purply weed taking over, almost thatching your treasured kale, curious enough to see what google says (take a photo or two)

discover that someone EATS THE STUFF

run to the store (in your car), come home, compile ingredients, more photos (for evidence)

drink (and share)

This is how you go from a long day at work home and make a little sense of your day….ahhhh.

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