I’m sure many of you saw candy recipes during Valentine’s Day. I used to make my own vegan peanut butter cups about thirty years ago. Sunflower butter cups are more updated being allergen free. It’s so easy to make. Plus I will give some tips on making tea.
Making tea out of nettle leaves (Urtica dioica) makes a great tonic. I’m told—the ones that sting—if you grab it rather than being delicate you won’t get stung. Stinging nettle is found all over the world. It’s native to Europe so it would be considered an “alien” in America. I’m told I can find it near a river where there is a lot of foot traffic. Since I haven’t seen any yet, I buy it at an herbal store. If you can’t find it near you look for an herbal store online.
Nettle leaf is nutritive. It’s an alterative tonic, which basically restores your health. It’s a great antihistamine, but fresh is better in this case. It’s an anti-inflammatory. It moderates allergic response. It’s an urinary tonic and diuretic. It’s an astringent to mucous membranes. It’s hemostatic, which means it will stop bleeding. It’s a galactagogue, which means it will help mothers increase breast milk supply. It treats skin rashes and eruptions, arthritis and passive bleeding. It’s the herbologists go-to herb.
Nettle basically tastes like veggie broth or edamame. It’s pretty bland, but I love it. And I don’t add any sweetener. It’s part of the experience of just tasting one herb. I love using a mason jar so I can see the pretty leaves and the lid keeps the nutrients in the tea.
1 Tbsp. Nettles (stinging nettles), dried
Yield: 1 cup of tea
Use a 16-ounce mason jar. Boil 12-16-ounces of water. Put one tablespoon of crushed, dried nettles into the jar. Then pour hot water into jar. Cover and let steep for at least 5 minutes. I put a strainer over the mug then pour the tea into my cup. I save the nettle leaves and dump them into my compost.
SUNFLOWER BUTTER CUPS
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup dark morsels, Enjoy Life chocolate chips
6 tsp. sunflower butter, SunButter, no sugar added
Yield: 6 sunflower butter cups
Fill pan about three fourths to the top so the bottom of the double boiler rests on the water. I’m using a 7.5” wide X 4.5” deep pot with a .63 quart stainless steel double boiler chocolate melting pot. While waiting for water to boil, measure 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Put candy paper cups in muffin tin. Candy paper cups are less deep than the muffin ones. I bought mine from Michael’s. Pour chocolate chips in the double boiler and stir until melted. Spoon about a tablespoon into each paper cup. I use the serving spoon that comes with the double boiler. Press the chocolate to stick to the sides then shake the muffin tin a little to get the chocolate level. Put the tin into the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
Measure 1/4 cup chocolate chips then melt. Turn off the heat on the stove. Spoon 1 teaspoon of sunflower butter onto hardened chocolate bottoms. I like how easy sunflower butter is to work with. Take your melted chocolate and drizzle the chocolate over the sunflower butter. To drizzle you wave spoon over cup to get those lines. Then shake the pan gently to get the chocolate level. I used some tea with dried roses, oat straw, and nettle to sprinkle on top. You can dry some roses from your garden. Or you can look to see what tea you have in your cupboard and cut open a tea bag to sprinkle the contents on top. Put the tin in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Food for Thought:
I’ve been taking a beginning herb class. I can’t wait to share some of the information with you. I was standing in the bedroom thinking I need to learn how to administer first aid using herbs. I looked up an herbal class and found one online. And the class includes us making our own first aid kit. I think I should show you when I’m done with my kit.
Another thing I wanted to learn was how to eat and survive off the land as a vegan. There is so much nutritious food out there. And it’s tasty. And most of us just think those are weeds. Even Rudolph Steiner taught ranchers and farmers how to get rid of the dandelion. I’ll never think of a dandelion as a weed again. I did have dandelion tea in my cupboard before the class but I was digging up the dandelions in my front yard and throwing them out. You can eat the leaves and make tea out of the dried root.
We went on a couple of nature walks and tasted dandelion leaves. They are now one of my favorite weeds, I mean wild plants, to eat. You can incorporate greens like dandelion into your salad. But, wild plants are highly nutritious. Our teacher warned us that she had a student who fed her boyfriend too many wild plants and he ended up with diarrhea. Our teacher also told us because there are more nutrients in wild plants you don’t have to eat as much.
I see all these plants near streams, train tracks, and the sidewalk and think why don’t the homeless eat this stuff?
Then I hear comments about how the hunters will survive and the vegans won’t during the future depression or apocalypse. So now, I know I don’t have to cook beans and rice over a fire. I have options. I can take a walk and gather some really cool leaves, seeds, and berries.
And I feel compelled to share the part about harvesting. Our teacher taught that we should introduce ourselves to the plant that we are going to take from. Then let the plant know what you are going to do with it. Also, we should leave something for the plant. Sometimes people leave more seeds of the same plant. You could give a little water. The Native American way is to give what is valuable to you. So talk to the plants and trees and lift your spirits while encouraging them to grow.
Have a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! May you have luck of an Irishman and swim with a mermaid!
Copyright 2021 Melissa Crismon