Stinging Nettles: Wholesome and Delectable, by Jill Kuhel

Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles, when prepared properly, are a storehouse of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron etc etc. Any dish you would make with cooked spinach can be made with stinging nettles. The leaves and stems are picked in the spring when the plants are less than 6″ tall wearing gloves to protect you from the stings. Then you blanch or dry them to neutralize the sting. Save the water from blanching to give your plants a nutrient rich drink. We are fortunate to live in Lincoln, Nebraska the home of the author of Wild Seasons, Kay Young, who has spread the good word about stinging nettles. In her honor Alison Krohn hosts an annual Nettle Nosh where imaginations go wild making nettle ice cream, toasted nettles and sesame seeds, a nettle paneer variation of sagg paneer, nettle pasta, zamarud pilau an Afghan rice dish, nettle dips, dried nettles added to cream of potato soup, nettle chips made like kale chips and of course everyones favorite Kay Young’s potato and nettle casserole. My son makes a very nice nettle cake with lemon frosting. The fabulous Maggie Pleskac of Maggie’s Vegetarian Wraps uses nettles in her soup base. I drink nettle and peppermint tea after lunch to ease the pain of my arthritic joints. I have seen several references to nettle beer, but as of yet have not been able to convince my brewing buddies to give it a whirl. What do you make with stinging nettles?

Jill Kuhel

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