For a beginner to foraging, one of the most reliable and easy plants to start with is the Stinging Nettle. Nettles are possibly one of Britain's top super foods, the leaves have a high content of vitamins A B C K F and can help boost poor circulation, ease pains and lessen the symptoms of hayfever when eaten. Stinging Nettles are a highly successful plant so can be found almost anyhwere as long as mass cutting hasn't effected them. The season for stinging nettles is long, early spring to late summer so there is plenty of opportunity to get picking!
How to Forage
- Don't worry about getting stung! Wear a pair of sturdy gloves to keep your hands protected, I would suggest gardening gloves - very thick material. It has been proven that Nettle stings have their health benefits too, apparently being an ancient healing remedy for stiff joints and limbs.
-It is best to only forage young nettle leaves as they are the most tender and flavoursome. They are also much better for you and contain the best of the vitamins nettles have to offer.
-When you have found your nettles, pick the leaves from the top of the plant, usually about four or five from each. The plants can then continue to grow, plus the leaves from the tops are the most tasty.
-Do not pick from Nettles that have flowered.
-Do not pick nettles that are close to roads, for the obvious reason that pollutents will have contaminated them.
Easy Eating Suggestions (nettles lose there sting when cooked)!
-Nettle and Feta Börek
This is a traditional Turkish dish and so delicious. Yotam Ottolenghi and Kellie Anderson (a great health food specialist for serious illness) do excellent börek recepies so please look them up!
Boil some water and add a few nettle leaves for an easy health kick
Tastes similar to spinach