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Has anyone cooked with nettle?

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indyumd Jul 10, 2013 08:41 AM

I just saw this video and recipe: http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vigne...

I've heard that people cook with nettle, but I have very little knowledge beyond that. What does it taste like? The recipe mentions spinach as a substitute, is that an accurate flavor profile?

Where can I find it?

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    Harters RE: indyumd Jul 10, 2013 08:51 AM

    Never cooked with it but had nettle soup in restaurants on several occasions. It's sort of "spinach light" in flavour - certainly a mild, fresh tasting soup.

    As for finding it, it's a weed which grows pretty much everywhere where I am. I gather it's only the top few leaves on each stem which are of use - the ones lower down getting a bit coarse. Foragers gather them in spring, when the shoots are still young and fresh.

    1. JungMann RE: indyumd Jul 10, 2013 09:16 AM

      I cook with nettles frequently in the summer. I think they taste like an earthier version of spinach with prominent mushroom and bitter notes. Spinach is usually the recommended substitute, but it doesn't quite capture how full-flavored nettles are. In a pasta dough recipe like this, however, spinach is a good substitute.

      You can find nettles growing wild like weeds. You'll want to get them before they flower. Otherwise farmer's markets will often have nettles for sale.

      1. paulj RE: indyumd Jul 10, 2013 09:40 AM

        Run your hands through the brush while walking in the woods. When you feel pain, you have either found poison ivy or stinging nettles.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettle

        Usually they are found in patches, so if you've found one, you've found a lot.

        Where do you live?

        3 Replies
        1. re: paulj
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          indyumd RE: paulj Jul 11, 2013 07:53 AM

          I live in Maryland... I think I've seen it at our Farmer's market, but I figure if I'm gonna try it, I should actually forage it myself.

          1. re: paulj
            chefj RE: paulj Jul 12, 2013 05:16 PM

            Poison wont hurt when you touch it, but has some nasty results later.

            1. re: chefj
              paulj RE: chefj Jul 12, 2013 09:44 PM

              Fortunately around Seattle poison ivy/oak is pretty rare. Nettle patches are common, but easily avoided, especially if wearing long pants. But my favorite stinger is devils club, as long as I don't have to pass through a clump.

          2. EricMM RE: indyumd Jul 11, 2013 08:27 AM

            I used to collect and cook stinging nettles when I was in college. The closest thing they compare to is spinach, but I hate spinach and like nettles, so there is a difference. At first I wore gloves to pick them, but then I realized that by grabbing the stems directly, the stinging hairs are crushed (also, the skin on your palms and fingertips is too thick for the hairs), so I never got stung. You get stung by lightly brushing the leaves, so wear long sleeves. (Poison ivy will not hurt or itch immediately...it takes several hours to a day or so before the rash appears...if it does.)

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              ellabee RE: indyumd Jul 12, 2013 03:54 PM

              If you're going to forage them, nettle patches tend to be in moist, shady spots -- woodland edges.

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                thursday RE: indyumd Jul 12, 2013 10:10 PM

                Nettle tastes a bit like spinach, but more vegetative, almost with a cucumber undertone...

                I had a post about it a while ago - but essentially, cooking it kills the toxins, and otherwise, you can use it like any slightly sweet/slightly bitter green.

                strangeandyummy.com

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