Stinging nettles, (Urtica dioica) grow prolifically without any encouragement, are extremely nutrient dense, and taste wonderful, similar to spinach. We are lucky to have a large patch on our creek bank. Last evening I strolled down to the waters edge for the first harvest. The young tender shoots have less stinging power than when mature, and couldn't possibly taste more vibrant and fresh! Nutritional properties include: vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, calcium, silica, manganese, iron, protein, and potassium. Nettles positive effects on numerous common aliments seem endless. Nursing mothers use nettle to increase milk production, those who suffer from arthritis take nettle to sooth inflammation, and the serotonin and magnesium in nettles offer relief for insomnia. A wiser nutrition friend of mine recently sent along a link to a Chinese herbalist's site, where you can read more about all of the amazing properties of nettles. In the meantime, here is a fantastic recipe for your dining pleasure.
Nettle and Potato Fritters:
*2 large gold potatoes
*1-2 cups lightly steamed nettles
*2 Tbsp grated onion
*2 garlic cloves, pressed with garlic press
*1 egg- optional
Boil whole potatoes for about 7 minutes, or until just slightly tender. Steam or wilt nettles. Cool potatoes and grate into a mixing bowl. Grate in the onion and add the pressed garlic. Add the nettles, egg, salt and pepper. Gently mix together. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil. Spoon about 1/4 cup mixture at a time into pan to create fritters. Allow to brown for about 2 minutes before flipping. Repeat with remaining mixture. Serve warm.