Cooking with nettles

Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

Cooking with nettles

Postby Jenise » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:59 pm

I met some people on Lummi Island a few months ago who said that their Inn had originally been a farm stand. The front piece of old stand itself was around back of the Inn near the parking area, and it announced the two products this purveyor was known for: "Fresh nettles and strawberries!" A local cheesemaker produces a nettle cheese, which I've tasted and liked. And on Orcas Island this past weekend, I was served a fabulous nettle soup (with a Lopez Island clam fritter plunked down in the center--a great, truly local dish).

Right there, that's about all I know of the apparent fondness some people have for the flavor of nettles. I do not even know if these are the same nettles, or just related to, those wretched things that pop up in my garden from time to time and sting the bejeezus out of me.

Can anyone enlighten me?
Last edited by Jenise on Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26219
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Otto » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:50 pm

Jenise, they are widely used in Finland for all sorts of foods. They are indeed the same nettles as which sting. When used for food it is picked before flowering after a sunny period so its nitrates are at the lowest. You can start picking it for food when its shoots are 10-15 cm, but it needs to be boiled before use so that the poisons of the stingers are neutralised.

It used to be very, very widely used as food before being supplanted by spinach: it is high in Vitamin C and iron (7x that of spinach!!!) and is very flavourful. I like it especially in rye bread, with fish or as a soup but it goes with really many foods.

Which nettles do you have available? In Finland two grow: Urtica dioica and Urtica urens; the urens has a harsher sting than the dioica but I think both can be used for foods - but I'm not sure on this point.

Otto
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
User avatar
Otto
Musaroholic
 
Posts: 4042
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:07 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Jenise » Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:52 pm

Otto, which part is used, the new spring shoots which I guess would be stems and leaves, or the bud before it blooms? Are they not picked it all after flowering?

I have no idea what kind we have here, though I could probably locate that information. All I know is, they hurt!!! Oh, and they make a might fine soup.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26219
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Local varieties

Postby Jenise » Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:00 pm

Otto, I've confirmed that the urtica dioica is at least one of the local varieties. Didn't find any references to the other, though it maybe here, too.

Hey, how about nettle beer? I found this recipe on a site called Weed Women:


One of the most delightful medicines for joint pain I've ever taken.

1 pound/500g raw sugar
2 lemons
***
1 ounce/30g cream of tartar
5 quarts/5 liters water
2 pounds/1 kilo nettle tops
1 ounce/30g live yeast Place sugar, lemon peel (no white), lemon juice, and cream of tartar in a large crock. Cook nettles in water for 15 minutes. Strain into the crock and stir well. When this cools to blood warm, dissolve the yeast in a little water and add to your crock. Cover with several folds of cloth and let brew for three days. Strain out sediment and bottle. Ready to drink in eight days.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26219
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Otto » Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:05 pm

Jenise wrote:Otto, which part is used, the new spring shoots which I guess would be stems and leaves, or the bud before it blooms? Are they not picked it all after flowering?


Jenise, I "think" the whole plant can be used, though the leaves are what are most commonly seen here in the shops. Sometimes one can buy fresh shoots also (they don't burn almost at all). When picked during flowering, nettles are often used to make "natural" medicines, but for food I've only heard of them being picked before flowering. IIRC the nitrate amounts become too big after flowering to be used as food - or at least so high that they aren't allowed to be sold here!

Otto

p.s. the beer sounds good!
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
User avatar
Otto
Musaroholic
 
Posts: 4042
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:07 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Francesco » Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:35 am

Jenise,

Nettle (Ortica) is widely used in Italy. We use tend to ass it to the flour when making tagliatelle or ravioli pasta.

Ciao
Francesco
Cellar rat
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:25 pm

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Jenise » Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:38 am

I believe you meant "add" it to flour, but that's okay--entertaining typo!

So it's used just as a flavoring? I'm presuming it has no properties that would assist pasta dough in being better pasta dough--that's an interesting idea. The flavor's wonderful, that soup I had last weekend has been haunting me ever since. But it sure is one of those foods that has you wondering who was the first guy to cook them after getting his hands stung to pieces--stringing is usually nature's way of telling, "Run away!"
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26219
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Francesco » Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:04 pm

Ops, what a typo . sorry :oops:
It is used a flavouring and it gives also a nice greenish colour. With tagliatelle, the souse should be quite simple like melted butter with walnuts for example.
Francesco
Cellar rat
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:25 pm

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Peter May » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:42 pm

Jenise wrote: I do not even know if these are the same nettles, or just related to, those wretched things that pop up in my garden from time to time and sting the bejeezus out of me.


I had a visitor from the US end of last year and I just managed to stop her in time from putting here hand in a clump of stinging nettles which she thought was mint.

She's never seen nettles and told me they didn't grow in the US.

So are nettles limited just to certain parts of the US? And are they native? (I cannot imagine anyone taking them to the US.)

Nettles were used in olden days in several ways, including eating. Every now and again a recipe for nettle soup is published, but I've never done it. Horrible useless things, almost impossible to get rid of.
User avatar
Peter May
Pinotage Advocate
 
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: Snorbens, England

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Jenise » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:47 pm

Whoever your visitor was, I'm sure she was right about her part of the U.S. (I never saw them in So Cal) they're certainly all over the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. I don't think a savvy gardener would mistake them for mint, but the leaf shape is very similar to a blackberry's and around here, where both are a problem, one has to be careful. I'm with you--I ain't pickin' 'em!!!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26219
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Peter May » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:39 pm

Jenise wrote: I don't think a savvy gardener would mistake them for mint, but the leaf shape is very similar to a blackberry's and around here, where both are a problem, one has to be careful. I'm with you--I ain't pickin' 'em!!!


We have a picture of the actual clump of nettles. Lisa took photos of everything during her trip - it is on this page of her photo diary, scroll down about half way http://www.lisashea.com/lisastrips/yr20 ... ndex7.html

I do think the young leaves look more like mint than blackberries, especially since nettles grow up from the ground like mint, not on a bramble like blackberry. And I do have to be very careful since nettles have infiltrated my mint patch in my back garden.
User avatar
Peter May
Pinotage Advocate
 
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: Snorbens, England

Re: Cooking with nettles

Postby Jenise » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:45 pm

Oh yeah, once they're at the clump stage they're mint-like. I was referring to the new infantile plant, just out of the ground with three or four leaves on it. Hard to tell them from infantile blackberries.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26219
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest


Return to The Forum Kitchen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dale Williams, Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests