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May 6, 2011 02:43 PM

It's nettle time!!!

Anybody else as happy as I am?

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  1. Already made a batch of nettle veloute. Have more stored in the freezer. Also makes great pesto.

    2 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      What part of the country are you in ???? Are they Stinging Nettles???? When I lived in upstate N.Y. Stinging Nettles and ramps were a look forward treat. Down here on Long Island it's not a big deal. There were meetings of wild crafters and herbalists who would discuss wild foods and local wild medicines, it was pretty cool

      1. re: scunge

        I'm in the DC area and a Md. farmer was selling nettles 2 weeks ago.

    2. i am JUST ABOUT to pick up my first batch in the season's first CSA box! I can't wait to mess with them. While wearing gloves, of course. I had a great nettle soup once at a restaurant, so I'm very intrigued to try cooking with 'em.

      Is it always necessary to blanch them first, or does sauteeing them break down the sting as well?

      5 Replies
      1. re: dingey

        If you nail the nettle soup, I'd LOVE to know.

        1. re: THewat

          I wound up making risotto with the nettles and oyster mushrooms that also came in the CSA box. It was good, but I feel like I overwhelmed both of the flavors by getting too fussy adding other stuff! Hopefully there'll be more next week.

        2. re: dingey

          Sauteeing does the trick.
          I love them sauteed with garlic and olive oil and chile flakes. Or in a fritatta.

          1. re: dingey

            OK, I've picked a bag & made some pork stock, as though I'm going to get around to making this:

            1. re: THewat

              Tale of woe: the pork stock never got super flavorful. I used it to make the River Cottage soup above, with a large bunch of nettle-tops from my field. I cooked everything together, and pureed, which turned out to be unappetizingly fibrous. So I pushed (and pushed & pushed) through strainer... Beautiful color, and ok tasting, but what a pain.

          2. I made nettle/walnut pesto the other night and that was deeeeelicious. THewat, could it be that your nettles were too mature? I remember reading somewhere that they can get too tough after a certain size (?). The smallish ones that I got in the CSA have softened right up with parboiling and seem to blend well with whatever I'm using them in--no fiber problems.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dingey

              I just took the tops & they seemed ok to me, but maybe. I suspect the fiberousness would have been less noticeable in anything other than soup. And I would have been better natured about it had it been another day - I was not in the mood to strain solids. I usually just throw them into my stir fry as a green, but I always love learning new ways to use the wild things that grow around me. I'm glad your nettle/walnut pesto was great; pesto freezes so well, too, so you can stretch the season.

            2. Ok, I have never cooked nettles. What kind are they. I looked up nettles on internet--they are poisonous or something--help my curiosity please.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ROCKLES

                Rockles, this is from the Guardian:

                Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)

                Description: Upright perennial, to 1.5 metres. Leaves heart-shaped, opposite on stem, serrated edge, covered in stinging hairs. Stems tough and fibrous, also with stinging hairs

                Habitat: Woods, waste ground, hedgerow, near habitation

                Season: Spring – before the flowers form, though the younger the better. New growth will appear in summer and autumn from cut-back plants. In early spring the whole plant can be picked, but as they mature, just take the developing leaves from the top. At the first sign of flowers developing you must stop picking. The plant will start producing cystoliths which can interfere with kidney function. By this time the texture and flavour has deteriorated anyway. Cooking completely destroys the nettle's ability to sting.