Inspired by his foray into wild edibles, my babe Z asked if we could have stinging nettles for dinner. Really. I didn’t force this on him. He and his sister and I donned gloves and went to our nettle patch to pick enough young leaves and tops to steam for dinner.
After a few stings to test for positive ID (mamas are always willing to throw themselves on the sword for their children, after all…), we had enough for a taste test. We rinsed the nettles and steamed them in a steamer basket for about five minutes. The second sting test was negative, so we sprinkled them with parmesan cheese and served them up.
The verdict? They kind of taste like green beans, with a really strong earthy green taste. Not unpleasant, but not immediately familiar and I’ll say the kids were a bit challenged by it. They agreed nettles would be great in soups and stews where they are blended with other flavors. So I’d say it was a success. We didn’t poison ourselves and we opened the door for further enjoyment of nettles.
I should also note that nettles makes an excellent iced tea. An herbalist in my permaculture class gave us a recipe for nourishing teas made from nourishing herbs such as nettle and raspberry. The nettle tea has a really pleasant clean, green taste and of course a lovely color!
And off topic, that rainbow ribbon around Z’s neck is holding his gymnastics medal, which he received upon completion of his 3rd session of gymnastics and of which he is very, very proud. He put it on the minute he woke up for a few days after receiving it. So sweet.