[NAFEX] [off topic] Foraging

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Fri Apr 27 10:36:43 EDT 2007

    I've drunk nettle tea many times, bought from the health food store. 
I've talked with a Tennessee couple who grow lots of nettles to dry to add 
to soups and stews for the winter.  But all we've ever done with ours is eat 
them fresh, usually in a stew or quiche or with eggs.  The way I pick them 
is to wear gloves, or sometimes just a glove on the hand holding the 
clippers.  With the ungloved hand I take hold of the tip of a leaf, clip off 
the top of the plant, maybe 2-4 pairs of leaves down, and drop it into my 
cooking pan.  When full, I take it to the stove and pour hot water over the 
nettles.  After 5 minutes of cooking they are ready to be chopped and added 
to a quiche or have some other omelet ingredients added.   Be sure to pour 
the cooking water into cups to drink, heavenly.  You might want to add salt 
and butter to it, or a bit of boullion, or make some kind of Japanese style 
soup from it  Or for stew, just start adding the rest of the ingredients. 
One of the best things about having nettles in the garden (not running loose 
like in England where I cussed them frequently, but in a single patch)  is 
that they are perennials.  They come on early in the spring before the 
spring planted greens, and are a welcome change from the overwintered 
brassicas.  Then in the autumn, after the heat of summer it seems to be best 
to mow them down when they have gone to seed and are looking, well, seedy, 
and then they spring back up in the autumn rains, ready to eat again.
     You know, nettles are supposed to be good for hayfever.  Our local 
health food store does a brisk business with rather expensive freeze dried 
nettle capsules for customers who can't abide the side effects of 
antihistamines.  (Never mind fruit trees.  Our fruit crop is toast, but the 
nettles look great.)  They also are used to make a beer that my husband says 
turned out very well for him decades ago when he made some.  Bright green 
too, save a few bottles for St. Patrick's Day.  Donna 

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