Is there anything that looks like nettles that will kill me?
I really want to try nettles- I've had them in restaurants and loved the flavor. I have seen what I am about 90% sure are nettles out in, well, nettle-y areas, and want to know if there are any look alike plants that I might mistake for nettles that will kill me or at least make me quite ill.
I have gathered nettles
They grow alone in patches without other plants among them
Get a good photo off the internet, print it and take it with you if you are concerned
Nettles will make your hands itchy.....you will know for sure you have the right plant
I never bothered with gloves but you might want to after your nettles pass the itch test
They are very nutritious
Gafferx is putting it mildly. When you run your hand through a patch of nettles, you will fill as though you've been stung by a dozen bees. There will be no question about it. The sting doesn't last as long as a bee sting, but it does hurt. I would only do that "test" if you aren't absolutely sure that they really are nettles.
I pick them with gloves, and then only eat the youngest top bits. It's nice, a bit spinachy, a bit grassy. Made a good risotto with them.
Yes the nettle sting bothers many people. You are right about picking the tender tops and the small plants. Nettles sink deep roots and have plenty of time to do that being perennials growing in patches. Deep roots mean lots of good trace minerals and iron rich
I would eat them every day if I could