Eating stinging nettles

Spring is here and the nettles are growing again so I decided it was time to make a meal out of them. Most people know that stinging nettles are pesky green plants that irritate the skin when you touch them. What you probably don’t know is that they’re a nutritious source of iron, calcium, potassium, and silica as well as vitamins A, B, C, and K1. Stinging nettles also have anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve arthritis and rheumatism. They can be turned into soups, curries, and risottos (some recipes here) and you can get them completely free from practically everywhere in Britain over the summer. You’ve likely even got some in your garden.

When you collect them you need to wear gloves because they sting. The advantage of this is it allows you to make sure you’re collecting the right thing. If you’re unsure, just touch one and see whether it hurts which is exactly what I did. It hurt.

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The even look a bit scary with their toothy-edged leaves.

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Once you’ve got them inside, boil them in water for a few minutes and this will stop them stinging.

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We’re having stinging nettle risotto.

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People think that when you become vegan you have to give up lots of food. It’s true that I stopped eating animals but the number of different species I eat has grown considerably. This is because meat-eaters tend to eat the same few species of animals over and over again – pigs, cows, chickens. Whereas there are some 20,000 species of edible plants in the world. Meat also tends to fill you up. Indeed I’ve been to dinner with people where all they have on their plate is a slab of meat and nothing else. Whereas as a vegan (with the exception of a shitty Spanish restaurant that served me a plate of artichokes and nothing else) I eat a huge variety of species. Meat-eaters can eat these too but they often don’t because meat is so filling.

12 Replies to “Eating stinging nettles”

    1. They taste a bit like spinach. Have you tried nettle tea? You can buy it at the supermarket and it’s really nice and will give you a hint of the flavour.

  1. > Indeed I’ve been to dinner with people where all they have on their plate is a slab of meat and nothing else.
    This is so true! I’ve been to dinners where people would have a piece of meat, while I had a HUGE green salad 😉

    1. It’s so strange, right? I don’t know how people can not have any vegetables at all. Maybe they haven’t heard the message about the 5 a day 🙂

  2. I’m reading a Booker shortlisted book called Elmet and one of the characters doesn’t believe in eating fruit or veg and I’m getting distracted thinking, Really? How come he and his family aren’t horrendously constipated? Anyway, I love free, nutritious food, and we were talking about this in our local cafe yesterday, how nutritious nettles are. Also plastic free! I will have to go and find some.

    1. Does he eat any plants at all? I’m sure there a people like that in real life. Fibre is apparently a fairly common deficiency in our society. And yeah, I totally agree with the free wild food. It did feel strange at first to go and pick nettles for eating but they’re really nice and so good for you so it’s worth it.

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