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Not so nasty nettle - an honourable compendium for an overlooked plant!

Now is the time to get out there and harvest stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). A paper bag will do, get the gloves on... although if you approach it with enough respectful confidence - gripping the stem tightly to squish the hollow stinging needles - you may just manage without if you don't mind tingly fingers for a while!

The leaf undersides are 'stinger free'- so you can fold a new leaf over from the back, roll up its length and squish (again destroying the stinging cells) to make an instant sushi-like nibble (appearance-wise!)- a fun one for kids and adults alike.

Be sure to forage plants that look vibrant and that are from several patches, avoiding polluted or contaminated areas and taking only what you need. Know your ID; stinging nettles have a serrated edge and its leaves are often heart shaped, but the key for me are those glass-like, little needles that seem to come from little dimples on the centre of each leaf, protruding up its stem too you will find more stingers and sometimes the stems have a purplish hue.

Here I have attached a couple of documents all about nettles so you can further explore their uses and properties. They also include an easy soup and pesto recipe - something I'll be making on the go with a foraging group this week (with my new pull-cord blender) - great little things btw, I'm so easily pleased :D

I hope you enjoy and learn new things about this often overlooked and underappreciated, multipurpose wonder!


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