A co-worker went "nettling" recently and it got me wanting to too. She knew she went to Kelly Point Park so I got a giant bag, good gloves and some pruners and headed over there this morning.
I was concerned I might have to hunt around for nettles. Uh, nope. The place is full of nettles!
I barely got out of the car and down the path and the woods are packed with them. To avoid dog pee and pooped on nettles, I walked into the woods and off the path to collect. Clearly others had been there too because I could see a lot of cuts on existing nettles.
I looked at a lot of websites to find out about collecting nettles and cooking with them. It's best to collect just the top tender new growth before they flower. Some of the plants were starting to develop flower buds so I avoided those and focused on the small plants.
The photo below shows about the amount I cut from each plant.
If figured I collected about five pounds! When I dumped them out on the counter I wondered if that was a bit excessive. But I didn't want to regret not getting enough.
To process the nettles, I read you can blanch them for 1-10 minutes. It seems like there wouldn't be anything left of nutritional value after 10 minutes, so I blanched mine for 2 minutes.
After blanching I made them into pesto for the freezer. I also have some in the food dehydrator for tea leaves.
Stinging Nettles are very nutritious and were consumed by Native Americans, although some evidence suggests that Europeans introduced them to it. Nettles are very high in protein and have lots of health benefits. I think they taste like a weedy spinach.
For dinner I had Wild Collected Nettle Pesto and Kale Buds on Pasta!
I had a great time this sunny morning collecting food and listening to the birds sing. I didn't take my "good" camera along for nettle collecting, but when I got home I took a few garden photos to leave you with. Spring was in the air today!