Friday, 22 February 2008

One for Merete - Part 3

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are also starting to appear in reasonable quantities.

In spring when the leaves are young, if you grasp them confidently and roll between your fingers, you can remove the stings without getting stung and eat the leaves raw. They make a pleasant snack.

I like to gather lots of nettle leaves, place them in a small amount of water, add vegetable stock granules and pieces of spicy sausage and boil to make a simple soup.

People are always skeptical about the cooking process breaking down the stings, but it really does. I really enjoy nettle soup!

Nettles are a rich source of minerals (especially Iron) and vitamins (especially vitamin c). They have been used in the treatment of skin complaints and rheumatism and internally are good for the kidneys and circulation.

The outer stem of this plant can be utilised to make fine cloth and can be used to make a strong cordage. The word "net", as in fishing net is derived from the word "nettle" as nettle cordage was used to make fishing nets.

I have found that the juice from inside the plant, counteracts the effect of the stings.


Springheel said...

I was very interested in your final comment as I have never heard that before. To clarify, do you siumply mean that rubbing a sting with crushed stems or leaves stops the irritation? Or is it more complex than that?

Fenlander said...

It's the juice from inside the stem (when I split it open) that I use, not from the leaf.

Springheel said...

Thanks for the tip. I am absolutely certain to be stung at some point in the next few months so I shall try it out.