Spring is upon us. While we welcome the longer daylight hours, warmer temperatures, and spring blooms, this time of year can also be hard on our bodies. A ticklish cough, sniffles, fatigue? Sounds familiar. You’re definitely not alone if April and May often mean feeling a bit under-the-weather. This beautiful season means more activity, but we also need to remind ourselves to rest. That’s why this month’s Herbivore installation is all about comforting spring recipes, perfect for combating annoying springtime colds & allergies. These recipes give us a much-needed boost to our immune systems.
Cannabis-Infused Springtime Tonic
Anytime I start to feel the beginnings of a cold coming on, I turn to this tried-and-true tea recipe. I begin to feel better after a few sips. This concoction is easily thrown together; this combination of powerful (and common) ingredients are most likely already sitting in your pantry. I also fully support “eye-balling” these measurements (excluding the cannabis tincture — use the proper dose for this ingredient) based on your particular preferences. If you want it sweeter, go heavy on the honey. Want more zest? Add a generous helping of ginger and cayenne pepper. It’s up to you and the tonic will still be effective!
Cannabis adds an anti-inflammatory and calming boost to an already potent mixture. Tinctures are super versatile; I recommend keeping one on hand for medicating as needed. These cannabis products are most quickly absorbed sub-lingually (a dose kept under the tongue). When mixed with tea, they will have a slower onset time, but maintain their strength. Furthermore, tinctures are available with varying ratios of CBD and THC depending on your desired effects.
What you’ll need:
Unflavored cannabis tincture
Water, brought to a simmer
Honey – Raw honey is preferable because is it unpasteurized and therefore maintains many of its nutrients. Conventional honey is also perfectly appropriate. Some people believe local honey helps battle local pollens (it makes sense, but is unfortunately not totally backed up by research.)
A generous shake of cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice from one half lemon
Fresh ginger, minced
Warm the ingredients together and strain into your favorite mug.
Immune-defense Stinging Nettle Soup
Stinging nettles do not sound like something you’d want to eat but you have to trust me on this one. Nettles are not commonly found in grocery stores because they are spiny before being blanched (hence the name “stinging nettles.”) They are, however, abundant in the wild. You can easily forage for your own nettles or possibly find them at your local farmers’ market. Nettles offer vast health benefits and are worth the extra work. Commonly ingested in tea, nettles are anti-inflammatory, can alleviate allergies, and have a green, spinach-like flavor when prepared in food.
The addition of cannabis in this recipe increases the anti-inflammatory benefits. Furthermore, the THC can help with pain relief & stress, making this soup simultaneously soothing and delicious.
What you’ll need:
1 bag of fresh stinging nettle tops (the tops are the tenderest part of the plant)
1 generous tbsp cannabis-infused olive oil (recipe here)
1 teaspoon butter
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove of minced garlic (or more if you love garlic like I do).
4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable broth
1-2 cups of water
Sprig of thyme
Salt and Pepper
(Optional, but a nice touch) 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Start by blanching the nettles. Remember: Anytime you’re handling the fresh nettles, make sure to wear gloves. They do sting!
Begin with one pot of boiling water and one pot of ice-cold water. Add the fresh nettles into the boiling water and allow them to “blanch” for around 2 minutes. Then use tongs to transfer them to the cold water. This shocks the plant and eliminates the painful sting. Move the blanched nettles into a colander to drain. Once drained, separate the leaves from the larger stems. You should now have a generous amount of nettles to use for this recipe! Any that are not used can be frozen for future recipes.
Now for the soup.
Saute the celery, onion, butter and infused oil in a deep pot. Try to avoid burning, but the vegetables should darken in color and soften – around 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, garlic and vegetable broth, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a robust simmer.
While the soup is simmering, roughly chop the blanched nettles. Then, add these nettles to the soup pot.
Add the water so all the ingredients are submerged. Cover with a lid and simmer until all ingredients are tender.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme twigs from the soup, and pour the soup into a blender. Gently blend the soup until it reaches a creamy, soft texture.
Right before serving, add a splash of the whipping cream and a squeeze of lemon.