I met a very amazing lady yesterday by the name of Lori Matthews. Lori has a passion of learning all about the herbs and plants that grow all around us everyday and hold the keys of health and wellbeing within their leaves, bark and flowers. She told me how to harvest a whole dandelion, how to cook with roses and how she had foraged some stinging nettles just that day!
Stinging nettles, I was intrigued. Tell me more about the stinging nettles. She brought in her prize possession and cautioned me that they were armed with very tiny hairs that would pack a sting to them. The were simple green leaves that I was sure I had seen around but never gave another thought to.
Well think again! Nettles are packed with Vitamins A , B2, K and C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and lots of other great nutrients not to mention linolenic acid and carotenoids. It is believed they have been instrumental in helping such ailments as kidney problems, skin problems, rheumatoid and even gout.
So how do you eat such a stinging little plant? Once cooked or soaked in water, the water removes the stinging chemicals from the plant. They can also be dried to make into tea. Nettles are similar to spinach, but better Lori adds, and can be used in many recipes like you would use spinach or parsley. Nettles are used in soups and pastas! I am going to give it a try as Lori was kind enough to send a sample of her bounty home with me! Thank you Lori!
Other uses of stinging nettle include using the fibers for clothing. The German Army uniforms were made from nettles in WWI. They are a powerful fertilizing agent themselves. Butterfly and moth larvae love to feed off the nettles! There is even a World Nettle Eating Championship!