Leafy green plant with ovaloid leaves that have toothed edges growing in groups of two and four up and down a woody stalk.
They are prevalent in the Pacific Northwest but are also found in the southwest states of the U.S., northern Canada, and in arid parts of Asia.
They are great in soups, sauces, juices and teas. Or steam them and sautee them with lemon and nutmeg.
Nettles are hardy perennials with spoon-shaped green leaves. They are more commonly known for the stinging welts they leave on the skin once touched. These plants have sacs that hold toxins that contain a variety of chemicals including histamine, serotonin, and formic acid, the compound used by bees and ants for venom.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
Can be used as a substitute for spinach. Saute with garlic, add to soups and pastas. Many people use nettles to make teas, wine, and even hair tonics.
Conserving and Storing
After blanching, nettles can be frozen for several months and hold up quite well. They do not wilt or break down as much as spinach and many other greens, but rather keep their body and remain almost meaty after cooking.