Dark green plant with tiny stinging hairs that encompass the entire plant, 50–100 cm tall, the leaves grow opposite each other with jagged edges, small greenish to brownish white flowers. Stinging nettles are pretty easy to identify, but if you’re unsure you can always give them a little touch to find out for sure.
Yards, fields, gardens, thickets, rich mixed swamps, next to buildings, roadsides, waste ground, logging clearings, shore and stream-side groves. Stinging nettle is native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and western North America, and has also been introduced to other areas.
Nettle is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, silicon, beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamin C. Nettle seeds are the most nutritious part of nettle. They contain all the goodies of nettle, vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, magnesium and silicon.
Nettle leaves and seeds has been used to support well-being through history in many ways. There are many health claims related to nettle at the moment in European Food Safety Authority EFSA's register (EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods) waiting for verification.
Use dried or blanched. Try nettle in soups, omelettes, breads, smoothies or bake chips. Nettle seeds can be used fresh in smoothies, in porridge or yoghurt.
To be noted
Nettle tea should not be used by persons who are suffering hearty or kidney insufficiency. Nettle is not recommended for those who have histamine allergy or for those who are pregnant.
We also have an informative Nettle e-book from Helsinki Wildfoods. It's an e-book about nettle, how to use it in your home cooking, how to forage and preserve it and a bit of folklore about how nettles were used in Finnish traditions in natural skin care and love potions.
Please see a short video on Nettle from Helsinki Wildfoods.
Photos & Video: Aino Huotari