The Queen of Weeds
Caution when handling - these will obviously sting if handled with bare hands - use gloves or tongs to remove from packaging.
The humble stinging nettle - so undervalued, unrecognised and unappreciated by the modern world - yet if there was one plant I would say is the most important to include in our spring and early summer diets, it would be this one!
If we could all grow a patch of nettles in our flower beds, or even proudly display a pot of them, in full sun on the patio (to support a cultural shift) - we would be much better off for it and so would nature!
Nettles taste very ‘green’ a bit like a supercharged version of spinach. Due to their spines they cannot be eaten raw in a salad, but they can be cooked in exactly the same way as spinach - wilt in some olive oil/butter, steam or boil.
Some foraging chefs recommend soaking the nettles for 5-10minutes in water before cooking to remove the stinging compounds in the leaf. If you have sensitive digestion, this may be advisable.
They make a great addition to any vegetable soup and in my opinion very much complement asparagus.
You can add them to a nutrient dense smoothie, blend them up with an apple, a pinch of turmeric and a tablespoon of olive or hemp oil for a vitality ‘top-up’.
Interesting - for information purposes only
A quote taken from the RSPB website:
‘As well as being beneficial to wildlife, nettles have long running cultural significance, and can be of value to people too.
People have eaten them for centuries and they are a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron among other trace elements and vitamins. They can be used in many soups and stews instead of spinach’’ (1)