My sister-in-law Gloria is an avid rower who races frequently with her Dragon Boat Team. Last year as a special request, she asked for a wildcrafted energy bar. I knew I wanted to make something with nettle seeds (tell you why shortly) but I could never find enough seeds on hand without decimating entire nettle patches. But recently someone offered to let me raid their gigantic nettle field (no joke) and I did so most happily! So here Gloria is your bar – and it should keep you & and your team going right across that finish line!
Now everyone knows Stinging Nettle is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, even protein – but few realise the seeds also pack quite the nutritional & medicinal punch. Herbalists Susun Weed and Kiva Rose believe they are adaptogenic which means they help our bodies deal with stress and support the adrenals.
In her book Healing Wise, Weed praises their ability to nourish the thyroid and endocrine glands and Rose writes “Nettle seed is fairy dust for your adrenals, and brings back sparkle, clarity and spring to the step”. Love that! She adds they “are especially effective for those suffering from severe burnout, resulting in profound fatigue, brain fog, chronic pain and alternating feelings of depression and intense anxiety.”
Nettle seeds can be eaten fresh or dried but be warned – the fresh seeds can be “overstimulating” for some and shouldn’t be consumed before bed. Kiva recommends “In sensitive individuals, this may only be a small pinch and can range up to a tablespoon. Others may need to take a teaspoon per day for a week or so to notice significant effects, although results are usually noticed within a few days. I recommend starting with a small dose and working up as needed.” So keep that in mind before adding the seeds to the bars. She continues “Unlike simple stimulants, one does not “crash” on Nettle seeds when their effect wears off (usually 4-7 hours after ingestion), and appropriate rest and relaxation is actually often enhanced by their use.”
Generally, it is recommended to harvest the seeds when they plump and hang straight down from the stem (see above) and just before they begin to darken and brown. Use gloves – remember they are called stinging nettles for good reason! I cut the whole stems then hang them for a few days to give the bugs a chance to escape. Once dry, I strip off the strands of seeds and then rub them through these flat baskets which work perfectly! You can also use a sieve of course.
Dandelion flowers are my sister in law’s favourite weed which is why they made it into this bar. But they are also mildly sweet, a good source of vitamins A, B, and C, beta-carotene, iron, zinc, potassium and a superb source of lecithin – which is believed to support brain function and the liver. But please only choose only dandelions you are certain haven’t been sprayed with chemicals. Try your own backyard or friends as roadside or park dandelions are not recommended! Also if you can’t find dandelions try calendula petals, they’re beautiful, add colour and taken internally are wonderful for helping soothe the digestive track. As is the ginger – which gives this bar a little tasty zing and heat!
Also please try to use organic un-sulphured apricots if you can get your hands on them. They’re not as vibrant orange and pretty, but better for you! I used mine all up for my first batch of bars but when I went back to the store for more they were all out. All in all these bars are super easy to make, they just take a few whizzes in the food processor. You can add more or fewer nuts or apricots depending on how you like firmness and texture. But if they come out a bit too crumbly they make a super good energy ball too! And hopefully, my sister in law & her team will love them! Enjoy.
Nettle Seed & Dandelion Blossom Energy Bars
- 1 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup almonds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 4 -6 tablespoons nettle seeds (how much is up to you!)
- 4 – 6 tablespoons of dandelion blossoms (or calendula)
- 4 – 5 cubes of candied ginger
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- Line and 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pulse nuts until crumbly, put aside in a separate bowl.
- Pulse apricots until finely chopped. Add all other ingredients to the apricot mixture and process until well combined.
- Add the nuts to the mixture and pulse until well mixed.
- Once the whole thing starts to stick together and ball up in the food processor you are done.
- Firmly press mixture into the baking pan using something flat to press it down.
- Place pan in the freezer for 30 min (or so) then remove and cut into bars.
- Garnish w/ a few extra nettle & sesame seeds.
- Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for a month or so.