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eating nettles - (video on harvesting)  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I've always been a meat eating guy that doesn't care much for greens, but I gotta tell ya, nettles taste damn good!  And, it really hits the spot that meat hits.  Nettles are apparently very high in protein.  And provide all sorts of other nutritional stuff for ya. 

I just think it tastes good.  And the texture is really great!

And I like to find sissies that squirm away from the nettles and say "What, you don't like that?  Hell, I eat that stuff!" -- I dunno ...  I feel a little more manly.

So this video is a normal guy harvesting nettles the normal way.  Harvest the nettles, and then cook or dry it.



This crazy guy is putting the stuff right in his mouth!  And check out that hair do!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpxMDeH1x5Y



 
                          
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Hello there, there is a group forming to learn and talk about edible wild plants in our area. It is meeting for the first time tonight (Friday June 15th) at seven thirty pm near the Greenlake theatre. I heard about this from Arthur Lee Jacobsen, so if you want to know about future meetings you could email him. In fact, I think I will email him, so we can post their meetings on our calendar.
Cheers,
Katie
 
paul wheaton
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We were talking at work today about the protein in nettles and how it compares to soybeans.

A bit of time with google turned up:

"Nettle is the green vegetable rich in protein. Using dry weight comparisons, the nettle is 40% protein compared with 35% protein for soy beans. And, in nettles, the amino acids are in balance. The nutritional value of its protein is better than meat! "

 
paul wheaton
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Leah Sattler
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I'm going to have to look into this a bit. does any one have a good link for identifiying the edible nettle. The plants I grew up knowing as "nettle" don't look anything like the ones in the video.
 
paul wheaton
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Are we talking about Stinging Nettles?

If you've ever done much reading on the Irish potato famine, you'll have heard of nettles.  They were known-and may still be-as famine food.

One thing... nettles should only be harvested when they are still small and tender-new growth. The chemical that makes them sting and burn is not nearly as strong yet. Also, boil them lightly, then drain and throw out the water from the first boiling, then finish cooking. That gets rid of the stinging chemical (whatever the divil it is). 

Leigh
 
Dave Miller
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I have some stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) in my yard growing wild.  I have never eaten it, I will have to give it a try.

I also heard recently that "Urtica dioica is our most important, widespread west of cascades butterfly host plant" - http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/NorWestLeps/message/4796
 
              
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not sure what I think of the flavor of nettles.  It has a pretty strong flavor.  When I first tried nettles, I harvested it early in growing season with stalk attached to the leaves and cook it up, but that was horrible, the texture made me gag. 
Then I started just collecting the leaves without the stalk and I was finally able to consume it well.  It usually is good for a couple months, maybe longer with the regrowth.  So all in all, one of the best perennial veggies around.  Its a weed growing everywhere around here. 
 
rose macaskie
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I was given some once as a soup, the first course of a seven course dinner, the guy who gave the dinner was dead poor so he just had to pretend to be rich i suppose. Nothing has ever made me feel so full in my life, and the effort to eat the other courses was a real problem to me.
  Leah Sattler I think they just don't look like singing nettles because he has been cutting the tops off. rose macaskie.
 
Erica Wisner
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The test I learned from wild foods expert John Kallas has stood me in good stead: when picking the tips, pull gently, and the top should pop off.  You only want to eat the parts tender enough to pull off this way; if you are trying to strip leaves from tough stems, you will not enjoy the results.
Here's his website - he puts out a very useful newsletter for wild foodies: http://www.wildfoodadventures.com/

When they get tough like that, better wait and harvest them for basketry fiber.  They were once known around these parts (NW) as Indian Spinach, and also as a dead-easy cordage fiber.

At the end of summer / early fall (now anyone?) the stems can be harvested for excellent long fiber, like raffia.  I believe you just cut or pull it with gloves on, then beat the crap out of it, but there may be some fancy peeling and soaking involved.  Would love to hear from those with more experience.

I don't worry about rinsing - nettle tea (from dried nettles) is great for when you're feeling low in iron or micronutrients, so I think the juice is valuable.  If they're growing where they might get contaminated by road dust or bird poop, I suppose a rinse could help.
But I heard that a lot of the "sting" is actually natural plant acids like Vitamin C, which are good for you ingested, but hurt like the dickens when 'injected' by the plant right through your skin.
   The guy in the video guesses "formic acid," and as I recall that's the one that makes ants taste nasty.  Just from taste, I'd say its a different acid from the nettles I know and love.  But let's see if I can find a website with more info:

Here's an older source, it's got some interesting legends about tropical nettles.  With that many stinging varieties, the active ingredients in the sting appear to vary quite a lot:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html

Here's an article on medicinal herbs - I'm not sure how reliable it is either, as it doesn't acknowledge the variety of plants similar to stinging nettle (dead nettle, for one) when advising people how to recognize it.
http://www.alive.com/1310a4a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=222

Here's another one, and for some reason I trust them better (well, they're selling it, so I suppose we could get them on false advertising if they lie... hard to prove they don't enjoy being stung, though.
Maybe they have arthritis.)
http://middlepath.com.au/plant/stinging-nettle_urtica-dioica_bllod-purifier-tonic.php

They have a picture of the hairs and stinging barbs close up.
Nettles have niftly little spring-loaded hair/spine thingies, with a sac of fancy plant acids at the base.  Brushing or lightly touching the plant triggers the hairs, but grasping the nettle firmly can disarm them and destroy the spring-loaded action for good.  Or not.

It's a game for people who like to feel tough.
Myself, I know I can recover from a nettle sting faster than a bee-sting, neither will kill me, and I still avoid them.

-Erica
I should add a picture to our edible lawn page.
http://www.ErnieAndErica.info
 
rose macaskie
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The second  article on nettles was  so long i thought i would not read it but i just kept reading a bit more and a bit more and it was really interesting i shall print it out. Thanks Erica weisner.
        If you were the translator for sepp holzer i did not mean, when i queried if pig manure played a part in their wallowing and making the surface of his ponds water proof, that you translated badly, i wondered if he had been euphemistic when talking about the pigs  and not been clear about pigs producing manure that helps in making the bottom of the ponds watertight, as horse manure seems to do in mud. Of course he maybe did not mean to intimate that manure played a part of the situation.
 
        Leah Sattler, apparently, according to these articles stinging nettles  are good for chickens, cut, dried and powdered, you were asking what was good for chickens. The seeds are good for them too  and it said nettles are good for egg production. They even quoted a bit by the french writer
      It also says that though only the donkey eat live stinging nettles, if fresh cut and left half an hour, to wilt, the half hour i got out of the third article, it loses its sting and live stock gobble it up.
        In Russia and some other country it has been grown for hay, it can be mown variouse times in one year.
      Nettles in hay increase the value of the hay .
      The seeds are difficult to collect but make animals hair shine.
  In the  third, i think, article, it says they like to grow were you've thrown away lots of metal, they are full of iron so they like eating it maybe, and the second that they like nitrogen. I know them as growing on peoples  septic tanks, and were in the old days they threw the contents of the bucket that was the receiving part of a privy, though all the evidence i have is that it is the liquid animal additions they really like, i suppose they like both.
    I new an inspector of public monuments who clapped preservation orders on interesting old buildings and he had seen a privy in which there was a plank seat with a whole line of different sized holes in it so all the family could use the privy at once, a row of buckets below i suppose.
        If we are worried about the people who are losing their jobs then mentioning the usefullness of urine, a cheap fertilizer seems to make sense, it is what poor "struggling", not giggling, i shall start giggling too, cottagers in england used, i suppose they used the whole contents of the privy maybe composted first.
      Here, thirty years ago the bathroom, in a village i went to was the barn, and the chickens cleaned up on all solid element that resulted from this use of the barn, so twice digested organic matter on the land and really good eggs , it makes one wonder about eggs. agri rose macaskie.
 
paul wheaton
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I took some video of skeeter (Michael Pilarski) talking at great length about nettles and I just now pushed it up to youtube: 




 
paul wheaton
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In response to the video with skeeter, I got the following email:



Hi Paul

No need to grow in field , they do not make leggy habit in full sun and abundance in alder understory is worthy crop. Might be interested to view my blog entry and link in GB on wearing nettles.

http://rchaardsblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/wearing-nettles.html

rich
 
                          
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paul wheaton wrote:


This crazy guy is putting the stuff right in his mouth!  And check out that hair do!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpxMDeH1x5Y





Hi - Paul encouraged me to post my comment here - not a usual participant here but a definite nettle enthusiast.

Yes you can eat the raw leaves off the plant. Just be careful to fold top inside and I even make a double fold to be sure. The spines with formic acid are on the upper surface and must only function if injected into tissue. No particular reason to do this other than to catch attention of a new audience.

The part of the nettle I do enjoy raw is the green seed pods. As soon as blooms are set and still green carefully pick them off and eat directly. We call this vegetable caviar because the pods pop in your mouth like shad roe.

Best Wishes

Rich
 
Chelle Lewis
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Interesting thread. I have been looking and asking around for some to grow for some time now. Nettles are said to enhance the growth of other plants, especially tomatoes. Want to plant them amongst tomatoes to keep the monkeys away... hopefully.

Chelle
 
Chelle Lewis
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Also 2 thngs I have heard but never tried....

Nettles can be used as a substitute for rennet in cheesemaking

Nettles can be used as fodder... just leave to wilt in the sun a while to get rid of the sting and then the livestock are supposed to snap them up. Hope they have read the book 

Chelle
 
charles c. johnson
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monkeys swallow folded leaves with spines to remove worms from there intestine
 
charles c. johnson
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um no just leaves with course hairs. the ones i read about were in the rain forest
 
paul wheaton
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Dave Miller
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paul wheaton wrote:
brand spanking new video which includes eating nettles raw!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9ZdKdhKfcw



Thanks for the video!  I tried eating some of my nettles for the first time this year, both raw & blanched.  I don't mind the stings that much so I just rolled up the fresh leaves and chomped them down.  When I ate them blanched, they seemed a lot more filling than spinach.

Watching Kristi eat them so delicately seems quite a contrast to these guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW1qs3Gz30I
 
Aljaz Plankl
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To me they taste like cucumbers...
 
Brenda Groth
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thank you for sharing the video..i found it helpful.

I had no idea that the  tops of the leaves were safe..i'm very strongly reactive to the sting..so that should help some...also i wasn't aware of the high protein in them..so i'll be wanting more i'm sure knowing that..as protein foods are more difficult to get free and wild in early spring..
 
ronie dee
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Chop up some nettle tops (use scissors with both hands) into skillet with oil. Warm up some mushroom or celery soup or broccoli, cheese - what ever your fav soup is...and after the nettles wilt a little put them in the soup and heat right on up and serve... it's like adding meat to your veggie soup without really adding meat..

After you start liking the nettles you will want more and more and eventually even the larger leaves taste good until something happens in the hotter weather and they get tough.

Some places in the world have Ramps parties in the spring and when the Ramps are ready they have a party and dance around in the woods and harvest the Ramps and make soups and such... I have a nettle party and just eat them..,, but if anyone wants to dance in the woods and have a nettle party...i'm in.. I harvest with a light weight bowl and a pair of scissors - with a little practice you don't need gloves this way... I also put some spring mustard greens on top of the bowl of nettles so that i can wrap the mustard around the nettles and pick them up to transfer into the cook pot. I don't wash the first few pickings, but after the bugs find the nettles, then i rinse them off..

Whoever said you need to cook the nettles twice is wrong,,, may be confusing with poke (avoid).. The nettles are not poison and the Bio Doc said they have little needle like hairs on them and jab you with a little formic acid..

Grab some dock and rub any sting... or just ignore it you aren't real sensitive to it... I don't get much of a reaction from it. I sting a second or two then it goes kinda numb.

If anyone wants to know how to propagate a small patch into a big one in one year...let me know, they propagate vegetative as well as through seeds and runners. 

I once found spring nettles with nettle tubers on the underground runners... has anyone ever found little nettle potatoes on the roots? I stumped the bio doc with that one... and have never found them growing anywhere else.

If you just steam the nettles in water..the water has big medicine in it... put in a coffee cup and let cool and drink...honey if you like... it will make you breathe better if you have allergies or stuffy nose..

Over all my fav wild green
 
ronie dee
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I also dry some nettles for use throughout the year,... they lose the sting when dry also.. you can grind them into any foods and also can be powdered with mortar/pestle and put into vodka shake every day for a week or two and then put a couple to ten drops on tongue for allergy or stuffy nose relief.. Works amazingly fast and well. (Alcohol absorbs into your system without going through the GI tract.)
 
Daniel Zimmermann
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  I have a nettle party and just eat them..,, but if anyone wants to dance in the woods and have a nettle party...i'm in.


It's a safe assumption a dancing-in-the-woods nettle party would not be skyclad. 
 
ronie dee
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Antibubba wrote:
It's a safe assumption a dancing-in-the-woods nettle party would not be skyclad.   


Hahahahahaahahaa ; -)
 
Jordan Lowery
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I also dry some nettles for use throughout the year,... they lose the sting when dry also.. you can grind them into any foods


the dried powder works great when your making pasta dough, add the nettle powder and you get a more nutritious pasta, that taste delicious!
 
Ray McIntyre
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We wilt nettles in hot water, then dehydrate and powder and add to soups and stews. NZ has both the introduced nettle which is what you are talking about and a native nettle which CANNOT be harvested. The Native nettle is a dangerous, dangerous plant.

Wikipedia entry for it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_ferox
 
Daniel Zimmermann
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kiwimac,

  The Wiki article only talks about a dermal contact death.  Can you provide a source that says the plant is poisonous if ingested after the leaves are boiled or steamed?
 
solomon martin
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I have been told by some old hippie farmers I know that stinging nettles are very desirable to have growing near or around a compost pile, something about them makes the compost do its thing faster.  Has anybody else heard about this tidbit of folk-lore?
 
paul wheaton
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Here is our own Jocelyn Campbell showing how to harvest nettles and cook them into eggs:



 
Jordan Lowery
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great video paul. never eaten them like that before.

heres one of my fav nettle recipes, nettle pesto!

http://fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com/2009/03/stinging-nettle-pesto.html
 
paul wheaton
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soil wrote:
great video paul. never eaten them like that before.

heres one of my fav nettle recipes, nettle pesto!

http://fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com/2009/03/stinging-nettle-pesto.html


That would be a good one for a video!

I still don't have video of nettles as just a side of green either.

It would be great if there was a huge nettle feast and I could take video of all the people with lots of different nettle dishes.
 
Jordan Lowery
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It would be great if there was a huge nettle feast and I could take video of all the people with lots of different nettle dishes.


i think you have to go to france for that. this is a quote from another website

Partaking of nettles in every possible way seems to verge on an act of patriotism for the French. There is an Association des Amis d'Ortie (Association of the Friends of the Nettle) who have annual meetings, and of course, the requisite Fête des Orties, or nettle festival, where you can listen to lectures, meet with other impassioned nettle users, and of course, indulge in nettle gastronomy.
 
Matthew Fallon
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a good friend of mine has been an herbalist for the past 30 years or so.
he makes amazing wildcrafted teas out of his backyard. nettles are always a staple ingredient.
simply runs them through a green-star juicer stem and all.
i transplanted some from his patch in my yard 2 years ago,this summer ill harvest and start adding to my green juices. great stuff!
 
ronie dee
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tribalwind wrote:
a good friend of mine has been an herbalist for the past 30 years or so.
he makes amazing wildcrafted teas out of his backyard. nettles are always a staple ingredient.
simply runs them through a green-star juicer stem and all.
i transplanted some from his patch in my yard 2 years ago,this summer ill harvest and start adding to my green juices. great stuff!


I was going to try that this year. Thanks for the info about juicing. I need the nettle juice to help with allergies. 

I also found last year that there may be a way to make a raw salad out of stinging nettles. I happened on this accidentally when i went to harvest a batch of nettle for a meal.

It had been raining for a couple days and i went without gloves (as i most usually do) and i got my hand up against some nettles and no sting...so i intentionally tried to get stung, as i began to hypothesize about how the rain had made the needle like hairs on the nettle leaves, limp. I could not make the rain soaked nettles sting me. I tried on several plants and no sting..scissored a big cutting off a nettle and slapped my arm with it - no sting... slapped my face and lips (sheepishly) - no sting.... Slapped harder NO sting and began to eat raw nettles straight from the plant - NO rolling the leaf - no tenderly eating small portions...no problems.

So anyway this year I am going to try picking tomorrow's raw nettle salad - today - and put underwater overnight in the fridge. If it is not the water that limps the stinging hairs, then i think somehow it would be the rainwater.
 
Matthew Fallon
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wow good to know! i'll try that too, or maybe harvest after a rain.
it grows SOOO rampant around here. the little patch out back is just for convenience sake, i can drive 20 mins to a local park preserve and find  nearly an acre of it if i want to go crazy and make a gallon+ for our  rawfoods potluck .  adding the leftover pulp to a bread mix maybe interesting eh?
here are 2 bread recipes for using  nettles
http://companyinmykitchen.blogspot.com/2009/06/nettle-bread.html
http://mysimplerecipes.net/Food/BreadMachineSecretIngredient
 
ronie dee
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Great recipes there Tribalwind...thanks... Leave it to a college writer to mix tbsp and metric.. (first link) If anyone translates that all into English measurements, I'd appreciate it, otherwise i'll do it someday...(PS i think that "gr" in the recipe means gram - which should be abbreviated as g or gm i think).

I may try the second link recipe with dried nettles that i have on hand. The author seems to think that we need to cook the sting out of raw nettles though i think.. Were as the raw nettles wouldn't need to be cooked before baking. (See Paul's video above).

Also i think that a person could pick raw nettles- chop and use a rolling pin and a board and roll vigorously over the nettles and that would limp the stinger hairs.. If that don't work then a meat tenderizer will most likely break the stinger hairs. I am bound and determined to make raw salad out of stinging nettles this year. Maybe pass the leaves quickly over an open flame to singe the hairs?  I tried the dead nettle last year and it is edible, but not near as tasty as stinging nettle.

 
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