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Topic: It's nettle time!  (Read 7817 times)
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alwaysinmyroom
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2010 06:33:41 AM »

I actual use a salve made of cayenne pepper to relieve pain from arthritis...so I can see how nettles would work as well...I just watched a youtube video of picking and eating raw nettles...can't wait until the fog lifts so I can go foraging!!
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010 06:34:06 AM by alwaysinmyroom » THIS ROCKS   Logged

SunflowerSmiles
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2010 09:11:01 AM »

 great post!  How long do you have to cook the nettles so the sting is no longer a concern?

 I've been stung by those little jerks and eating them would be quite a nice revenge Grin  I've never tried them but have heard of people eating them.  now my interest is really piqued!
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teachingjonah
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2010 09:39:25 AM »

What a great post!  My parents have nettles all along their back field.  I used to get covered in nettle stings all the time.  I knew they could be eaten, but I never knew how to prepare them.  I might just have to pay my parents a visit and do some harvesting. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2010 06:15:29 PM »

I find that just a few minutes of cooking is enough to de-sting them. Basically as soon as they're cooked, they're okay. (But they don't cook down to nothing like spinach and other greens; the leaves remain rather fluffy even when cooked.)

I can't believe that there could be a contest for eating nettles raw! I don't suppose they'd actually cause permanent harm, but it seems like one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of doing. I hope the prize is worth it! Applying them as treatment for arthritis, etc. is pretty legit, and experts are still trying to determine whether the beneficial effect is because they're a counter-irritant, like cayenne pepper, or some action of the acid compound itself. Folk medicine proves itself again!

And speaking of folk tales, Muria, your story of the girl who has to weave shirts out of nettles isn't like a more painful version of spinning gold into straw. Nettle stems are very fibrous, and were traditionally prepared like flax to produce a coarse linen-like cloth. I think about trying it every summer as I'm cutting down the waist-high stalks (I don't let them go to seed, for the neighbours' sake) but it sounds like a lot of work. Incidentally, by about June (here in Ontario) even the young growth isn't good to eat any more. The leaves accumulate gritty crystals called "crystoliths" that make them quite inedible. They can still be used for tea, though, and the leaves and stalks make highly valuable compost. Livestock are supposed to love the dried leaves and stalks (they lose most of the sting when dry), and goats will eat them even when green. But goats eat poison ivy, too, so there's no accounting for taste.

And finally, thank you Jaders for reminding me about nettle ravioli. That was one of the highlights of last summer's crop! No real recipe, just fried nettles, finely chopped onion and ricotta cheese. I think that may be next week's dish. Smiley

I'm glad to hear I've inspired some people to try nettles. When I mention it to my friends here it usually gets a much less enthusiastic response!

Wulf
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kazyeeqen
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2010 08:32:21 PM »

You're braver than I am, Wulf!  I think I read too many fairy tales as a kid, like the one with the girl who had 7 brothers that were turned into ravens, and the only way to free them was for her to make them each a nettle shirt, and she couldn't talk the entire time she was making them, or they wouldn't work...  I'm fairly sure other tales mentioned nettles, but mostly as a punishment, and never as a tasty green.

It's certainly useful information, should I ever come across some. 

I am so excited about nettle fiber, as a long term thing. We have a lot of nettle on our property, so far we've been lazy about harvesting, but we will by gum!

Anyway, nettle fiber is supposed to be awesome, longer strands than cotton, zero inputs, super awesome all around. It used to be very common before we all got so disgustingly rich and everyone could afford cotton. Smiley

Through the eye of a Needle is a book I have not yet read, but apparently it's about an English fella who makes clothes out of nettle from start to finish to bring awareness and learn about the environmental and social impact of fibers. Seems really cool.
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2010 01:38:41 AM »

Apart from all the tasty food you can make from them, when they're to old and crusty to make good eating you can pick them and rot them down in water and use the resulting brew as an excellent nitrogen rich, organic fertilizer for your tomato plants. Smells terrible but works a treat!
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« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2010 02:11:51 AM »

Ok you have inspired me Wulf, nettles are springing up in my garden...like weeds!

I have seen a guy on TV eat a raw nettle, you fold the leaf in on itself and the stinging hairs are all tucked away and its OK.

Also the idiom 'grasp the nettle' if you grab the nettle hard enough, it wont sting you, I guess it crushes the hairs or something.

I was planning (thinking about!) allowing my nettles to grow long..(ie I am to lazy to go out and spray them)...for the carding and spinning boards for the craftalong. But nettle sauted with garlic and a little bacon sounds like it might be worth trying, especially since they are so young.

It is a folk remedy here in ireland, nettle soup as a spring tonic.
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alwaysinmyroom
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2010 07:49:52 AM »

ok--I walked all of my property and found plants that look exactly like the ones you show--except, I did touch the stems and got no reaction whatever! Are there non-stinging nettles?  I plan on taking them to our agricultural extension office to see if they can verify the plant for me...I truly want to harvest and use this plant as it appears to be growing in many areas of my property...they are small, so I am wondering if they get stingy as the get larger?
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2010 08:16:08 AM »

edelC...you can actually grab the leaves IF, with index finger and thumb, grab the leaf straight up and down, like your pinching it. Do it when I'm hiking all the time.

It's when you brush against them that they 'bite' ya! I've also heard that once you get stung...using a fiddle head fern(the new sprouts) and rub on it, takes away the sting. or so I've been told.  Undecided  I usually tough it out though..so I haven't tried it. Although the sting really..uh..stings...it goes away pretty quickly, at least on me it does.

I'm really interested in drying some for tea?  How does it taste though? 

Wulf..you said the nettle tastes nutty?  Is it bitter at all?  Have you tried it dried like tea?
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2010 08:47:15 AM »

I tried dried leaves as tea last night, and it has a pleasant, mild nutty roasted flavor.  I really enjoyed it!  I think it might be nice to mix with some other herbs for tea as well, maybe rosemary.

I came across this must-try recipe for nettle pesto: http://www.worldfoodieguide.com/index.php/james-wongs-nettle-pesto/

YUM!  I am definitely going to try this with my next harvest.

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