Stinging Nettles, also known as Urtica dioica or common nettles are rare finds at southern California farmers’ markets, so get ’em while they last! But what is one supposed to do with these stingy specimens?
As the name implies, stinging nettles do in fact sting, so make sure to handle them carefully. David Tanis of the New York Times breaks down how to properly handle them:
“Wearing gloves, remove the leaves (discard the stems) and put them in a large basin of cold water. Using kitchen tongs, swish the nettles in the water and let them sit for a few minutes so any dirt or debris will settle at the bottom. Lift them with the tongs to a colander to drain. They are now ready to cook, and can be steamed, boiled, braised or stir-fried. Even brief cooking eliminates the sting and the leaves become tender and spinach-like, but with a deeper, mysteriously alluring flavor.”
Stinging nettles have a similar taste to spinach. Evan Kleiman, host of Good Food, likes them on pizzas or pasta. Try this recipe for Stinging Nettle Pasta from Food52.