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Mar 22, 2009 11:17 PM

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.

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  1. 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 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

    1. 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.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Nyleve

        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

        1. re: gafferx

          The snow has just melted here in southern Ontario. I checked my beest (worst?) nettle patch yesterday - there is no sign of anything yet. They'll be sprouting within a month, I think.

          1. re: Nyleve

            I envy you. I moved south 10 years ago to where they do not grow. Up north I made a point of picking them a few times each year. It was a 25 mile round trip. That place had burdock so it was a twofer

            Bon appetit!

            1. re: gafferx

              What did you do with burdock? I know it's used in Japanese cooking, but I've never found a way to use it.

              1. re: Nyleve

                Burdock is good sauteed with other vegetables. Pretend it is a carrot. You could roast along with a roast in the oven along with potatoes and onions. Or poultry done this way. It is in the thistle family same as artichokes

                1. re: gafferx

                  I always had the impression that it was horrendously bitter. I assume, then, it isn't.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    I had it steamed and it was really mild, very nice. Carroty, but less sweet.