F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)
Spring Produce Primer

Everything You Need to Know About Nettles

Pizza with Garlic Cream and Nettles. © Fredrika Stjärne

Three cheers for the first person who dared to pluck a stinging nettle from the ground and cook it. The delicious leafy greens are a favorite of foragers and they’re a breeze to cook—as long as you respect their painful stingers and wear gloves at all times while preparing them. Also, don't touch your eyes!

Flavor Profile: Nettles have a rich, earthy, spinach-like flavor with a slight tang.

How to Eat Them: Nettles are of the genus Urtica, derived from the Latin uro, which translates to “I burn” and, boy, do they. Luckily, cooking nettles or soaking them in water gets rid of the stinging chemicals in the plant. Once that’s taken care of, the greens can be made into a delicious sauce for pasta, pureed with cream for a fantastic soup or used as a seasonal topping for pizza.

Health Benefits: They’re high in iron, potassium, manganese, calcium and vitamins A and C, plus they’re a good source of protein. Nettles are also used in some shampoos to control dandruff and boost hair’s glossiness.

Fun Fact: There’s an annual World Nettle Eating Championship in England. Brave/crazy competitors face off to eat as much of the raw plant [ouch!] as possible.

Where to Buy Them: Anywhere in the US, except for Hawaii. Nettles are most abundant in places with lots of rain.

When: January through July (though they are best during early spring, when the leaves are small and tender).

What to Shop For: Bright green leaves with pale green undersides.

Related: F&W's Foraging Guide
31 Recipes for Spring Produce
Delicious Spring Soups

You Might Also Like powered by sheknows

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
    How we use your email address
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.