Stinging Nettles: Foraging Guide and Recipes
A high protein green – 25% protein. Rich in Vitamin A, C, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, and Calcium. Used as treatment for arthritis, acne, and weight-loss.
While temporary and not harmful, as the name suggests these plants sting unprotected skin. In fact, many people, myself included, have ended up discovering this wild food the hard way - after trudging through a patch. Luckily for us however, revenge is sweet. Been stung by nettles? Put on your rubber gloves, pull them up, and cook them for dinner! They lose their stinging ability when cooked and taste like spinach. That’ll show’em!
LOOK: Spring. Stinging nettles thrive in areas where fertile soil, high in phosphorus and nitrogen, has been disturbed.They need a good amount of water so they are more common to areas with high rainfall or near bodies of water. Nettles often grow around abandoned buildings. I have TONS growing near a path alongside a river. You almost never find just one lonely stinging nettle plant.
COLLECT: Thick rubber gloves and scissors should prevent any stings while handling the uncooked plant, but if you do end up being stung, you can relieve the sting by washing with soap and water and applying an antihistamine.
USE: Cooked nettle leaves are said to taste like spinach and cucumber and are commonly used as a green or herb. Stinging nettles are a very popular vegetable in Kashmir where they are called ‘Soi.’ Nettle soup is common in Northern and Eastern Europe. Pestos or puree are two other commonly uses. Stinging nettle tea is drunk as a treatment for acne and an aid to weight loss.