Stinging nettles pop up near bodies of water each spring and are packed with vitamins and minerals. From nettle tea to nettle pesto to nettle lasagne and more, these special plants must be handled with care but are beyond worth it!
Flavor profile: Nettles have a sweet, savory, earthy flavor similar to spinach or amaranth but very uniquely nettle-flavored. They make for a very rich, creamy, nourishing tea and once cooked/processed to remove their stingers they can be used just like any other green.
Uses: Edible Uses: tea, pesto, pasta, lasagne, spanakopita, etc.; Topical Sting Treatment: Nettles have long been used to stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems in the body.
Pairs with: lemon, honey, garlic, nuts, etc.
Storage: For tea, you can hang your nettles or place them on a drying rack to dry, fluffing them regularly so that they dry evenly. To store fresh nettles, store in a plastic or paper bag in the fridge making sure they aren’t too compacted. They don’t contain a lot of moisture, so they tend to have a longer shelf life.
Other names: Nettles, Stinging Nettles, Ts’exts’ix in the Squamish language, Latin name: Urtica dioica
Nutrients: Nettles are incredibly beneficial in a variety of ways. When consumed, nettles have high levels of iron and protein (harvest when new growth has a red blush for highest iron levels), vitamins A, B, C, and K, copper, manganese, and so much more! They are known for being brewed into tea for a respiratory aid that helps with asthma and seasonal allergies, and this topical sting itself can be used medicinally to stimulate circulation of the blood and the lymphatic system.
History: Nettles grow all around the world and come up in the springtime as the medicine we need right at that time of year. They have long been used as both food and medicine by Indigenous people all around the world.
Why it's a great crop: Although some farms do cultivate nettles, the majority of the nettles we enjoy are foraged. Any time we forage foods it is absolutely essential to know how to identify that plant, head to the United Plant Savers website to check and see if that plant is on the endangered species list in your area (and if it is, choose not to harvest it), and make sure not to take more than you need not to deplete the area. Make sure to take gloves and clippers with you to harvest and handle nettles, this is a special plant that requires special care.