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Wednesday, December 9th, 2020
By late spring, the nettles are 3 to 6+ feet high, the largest leaves are upwards of 7 inches long and they are flowering lovely whitish/greenish inflorescences or clusters. Some people recommend blanching the nettles (adding them to boiling water, plunging into ice water, then using). Cooked stinging nettles are an extremely healthy green vegetable. An additional variety from Central Asia (U. d. afghanica) is sometimes stingless, and sometimes not. My brother swears that mud does the trick for him. Difficulty: Moderate – While nettles require no special preparation before cooking, care must be used to avoid getting stung by the tiny hairs. Once they’re dry, they are much safer to handle since they lose the ability to sting. I avoid picking any that are very dark brown/black. Rinse the nettles in cold water, then strip the leaves into a large bowl, discarding the stalks. Nettles can also be rendered sting-free by drying, though this is more commonly done when preparing nettles for teas and traditional herbal remedies. I put mine in a paper bag or cardboard box in front of my furnace and let the warm, blowing air do the job. Then I put them into freezer-safe containers and store until I need them. There's some confusion and disagreement about the naming and validity of the various subspecies (or species), but for culinary purposes it's worth pointing out that all varieties have stinging hairs with the exception of the European 'fen nettle' (Urtica dioica galeopsifolia, sometimes called U. d. pubescens). Wear gloves to protect your hands from the stinging hairs or you will likely regret it! Consider working with a respected herbalist or naturopathic physician in your area – someone who uses plants as medicine on a regular basis and knows from experience what they will and will not do. If you run your finger from cleft to point, you will not get stung and you will impress your friends. Nettles are found throughout much of the cooler regions of the world. Nettles are best when very tender, so pick in the spring when the nettles are just coming up or later in the season. When I return home with my harvest, I’ll decide whether to use them right away or store them for later use. The pesto will turn dark on top as the plant material is exposed to air (like a cut apple turning brown), but this doesn’t impact the flavor. Some experienced nettle harvesters pick them with bare hands, but they benefit from years of building resistance. If not, then perhaps you could consult a field guide such as Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon (the best field guide, bar none, for this region). Beet greens are quite close in terms of texture, though somewhat earthier. If you run your finger from the pointy end up toward the cleft and central stem, chances are excellent you will get stung. Keep the gloves on while you’re preparing the nettles as well. And, it’s certainly not enough of a negative to keep me from harvesting and enjoying these amazing plants. As the nettle grows, the strongly serrate/toothed margins or edges of the leaves become more evident. That’s why I recommend cooking until crisp – so you feel a little more confident. No definitely not safe if they have any discoloration. That’s a great question. For training with Kim on wild edible and medicinal plant topics, check out: For In-Depth Learning, Join Our Weekly Online Classes: Can you harvest nettles that dried and have frozen through the winter? I recommend handling them with gloves or tongs at this point, though you can choose to do it without. Never put anything in your mouth unless you are 100% sure it is safe to ingest. As a kid my first contact with nettles were by a river and I naturally reached for the cooling river mud. Let’s imagine you wish to harvest some nettles, and you have your scissors but forgot your gloves. You can tell they are ready to store in a glass jar when the stems snap. Be sure to where gloves when picking nettles and when handling them. I’ve not personally found scientific evidence that nettles are harmful after flowering and I don’t want to spread mistruths. Not for food and the nettles probably rotted before they froze. They lose their sting in the first 30 seconds of cooking. As a general rule, only the youngest shoots and most tender stinging nettle leaves are eaten. Experiment and you will find a way that works best for you and your family. It's right there in the name after all. I’m not sure of the efficacy of that idea, since I think an alkaline compound would be needed to counteract the acidic nature of nettle stings. Nettle leaves must first be cooked or steamed to destroy the hairs on them, which contain a number of irritating chemicals. The only time we can hang anything outside to dry is during relatively low humidity / warm / windy days, and never after the dew sets / overnight. Almost always cooked, as raw nettles can deliver a painful sting. Picking Stinging Nettles. Freshly harvested nettle will store in a bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, unwashed, for at least 2-3 days (probably longer). They’re certainly worth the slight challenge involved in picking them, for they are rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, flavonoids, histamine, and serotonin—all the great chemicals one needs to reenergize after a cold winter and to … Place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with 1 knob of butter, strip in the marjoram and stir in the leeks. This guide is culinary in scope and doesn't aim to address medicinal use in detail, but it is worth mentioning that nettle stings have long been used to treat inflammatory joint disorders (e.g. or … If you choose to go this route, be extra careful. Voila, no sting, because you know the hairs don’t point straight out, they angle down the leaf. My favorite ways to eat nettles are: a simple saute, steamed on top of sauteed veggies or a raw pesto. You’ll find that different remedies work for different people, so you may have to try a few to find what works for you. Nettles aren't dangerous unless you have a serious allergy (which is rare), but their stings can be quite painful. That being said, fresh kale tends to be tougher and a little more green and mustardy in taste than nettles. Let us know what it’s like! We do use nettles in other ways throughout the summer, however: fresh flowers and a few leaves for one meal or in survival situations; seed heads for same purpose but we don’t know of any studies on nutritional / hazardous content at that stage; then stems for fiber / rope-making before they deteriorate/mold in the fall. She has a B.S. It's best to do this in the spring when the vitamin content is highest, before the flowers appear. Join Agent Sophie in the garden as she forages for stinging nettles, and shows how this delicious wild food can be used in the kitchen. If it can – how long would it be appropriate to freeze for, That’s a great question. FIND - Nettles are a very common wild food, especially in cooler and wetter climates. If you’re wearing gloves, grasp the base in one hand and run your other hand from base to tip in order to strip off the leaves. Now I don’t know if every hair is hollow or if every hollow hair has acid associated with it. USE - Unless you're a masochist, you don't really want to eat raw nettle leaves as-is. Your email address will not be published. This guide is culinary in scope and doesn't aim to address medicinal use in detail, but it is worth mentioning that nettle stings have long been used to treat inflammatory joint disorders (e.g. So I shall err on the side of caution and recommend that you harvest prior to flowering until reliable and replicatable evidence to the contrary becomes available. Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) Smaller, younger leaves are more heart-shaped. It grows rapidly and order levitra tablets canada will reach its typical 3-5 foot height quite quickly. Any nettles picked from a clean, uncontaminated area can be considered effectively organic. The relatively narrow, heart-shaped leaves have a serrated edge, prominent veins on the underside, and of course the aforementioned glassy looking stinging hairs. The leaves have a characteristic heart shape to them with a small stem attaching the cleft or top of the heart to the central stem. Online recipes abound. Slowly add olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency. The plant itself emerges from the ground very early in the spring and grows quickly. Once wilted they can no longer sting you. Note that the tiny spine-like hairs visible are fairly soft, and incapable of delivering any type of sting at this point. We dry them inside the house, a short distance away from a hvac vent. Remember that squirrels and jays need nuts, too, and honor that…. Trim the leeks, halve lengthways, wash and slice 2cm thick. Don't worry too much though - they're easy to handle with gloves on, and once cooked or fully dried, however, they become entirely harmless (and very healthy!). 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And Science perspective its name, stinging nettle leaves so that you don ’ hurt! Sting in the spring they have any discoloration fiber if one knows how to properly it... First contact with it mild sweetness and elements of cucumber and pepper because you the! Website in this browser for the fun of it used but we ’ picking stinging nettles preparing the nettles probably before! At 425-248-0253 or send an email anytime or prevent any disease medicine and fiber if one how!
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