I don’t know about the weather anywhere else in the world, but it’s been sunny for the past few days here, after weeks of rain. So much rain, my gumboot got stuck in the mud on my way to the compost pile this morning. It’s swampy out there and it will be months before that part of the yard is dry.
On the other hand, for foragers and lovers of stinging nettles as food, there’s no better conditions to go picking. February is a bit early for other parts of the world where nettles grow, but here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not uncommon to see nettle tips poking through the forest floor at this time of year.
I get a lot of incredulous comments and scoffing responses when I talk about my stinging nettle recipes. I also hear a lot of fear. Many had a bad run in with nettles in their childhood, and can’t believe that anyone would walk into a patch willingly.
I know I would win many of you over if I could give you just a taste of any of the following dishes. Nettles are tastier than any other green, in my opinion.
If you don’t know if stinging nettles grow in your area, Google it! If you want to learn more about foraging in your area, Google it! You may find a foraging group you can explore and learn with, or you may at least find some tips on good picking areas and times.
Watch my somewhat goofy nettle foraging video I did a few years back. It’s got some good tips to avoid getting stung. Wear long sleeves and pants, as well as gloves. I prefer rubber dish gloves, as I find they provide the best protection.
The following recipes are all my creations. The first is an Outlander Kitchen recipe inspired by Dragonfly in Amber, but the rest are from my “other” blog, Island Vittles. If you really have no intention of ever eating nettles, you can still try all of these recipes by substituting spinach, baby kale, or your favourite green.