We are so excited to see the Spring crop of Stinging Nettles coming up here on the North Coast. This wild food is so delicious and rich in nutritive vitamins and minerals as well.
This plant is native to western North America, Asia, some regions in North Africa and has migrated with people to other parts of the world as well. It typically grows from early spring through the summer (although here in northern Humboldt County we will often see an Autumn crop come up). Nettle grows from 3 - 7 feet tall with serrated, deep green leaves. The "stinging" comes from a combination of acids (formic acid, oxalic acid, etc.) and neurotransmitters (histamine, seratonin, etc.) that cause a stinging sensation and irritation in our skin.Scientists have not yet isolated all the chemical components that cause this reaction, but some healing traditions have found that this sting can help alleviate some symptoms of arthritis.
Here are some links to great recipes we've found. We'd love to see what you've made with your wild Nettles, so feel free to comment with pictures, recipes, etc!
Spring Lasagna with Asparagus, Peas, and Stinging Nettles: https://bit.ly/2UzIWFt
Feeling like some sweets? Try a delicious Nettle Cake: https://bit.ly/2Ulo0m6
Simple Nettle Gnudi (similar to gnocchi) by Katie Stacy: https://bit.ly/2UzDX7E
Nettle Ramen Noodles: https://bit.ly/2Uk8Nlh
In terms of flavor and texture, one might describe Nettle as a "hairy spinach" and it fulfills a similar roll in recipes. Nettle soup and nettle pesto are wonderful simple recipes to make as well. Enjoy!
*Image by Manfred Richter