Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nettle Pants

Today I was walking along Ballenger Creek below Ballenger Creek Elementary School with my colleagues. We were looking at potential stream restoration projects. While we were in the stream corridor (for several hours), I swallowed gnats, and stinging nettles were attacking me through my pants and in that little line of bare skin between my socks and my pants. The nettles were everywhere and horrible and completely unavoidable, so I just dealt with them by gritting my teeth and exercising mental control. As I write you at this moment, my knees are still stinging.

While I was out along the stream, I could not help noting to my friends that they could come back and harvest a bunch of nettles to make soup.

Of course they thought I was insane, as they trudged with their arms in the air to avoid even the most feathery touch from these hellish plants. "Soup," they asked, "are you kidding?" Mwah hahahahaha. No.

Stinging nettles are a native plant of Maryland. For wild food connoisseurs, cooked nettles make a great substitute for spinach in many dishes. The taste is reportedly similar to watercress, radish greens, spinach, seaweed, and a number of other strange greens. Heat kills the sting (do NOT eat them raw). Obviously you should wear thick gloves when picking the nettles. As far as recipes, here's one, but recipes are literally everywhere. Kind of like how nettles are literally everywhere.

Picture is from here. Advice on how to pick nettles is here. A cool WSJ article about unusual greens including stinging nettles is here (the source of the table below).



jdwilloughby said...

I think jewelweed helps with stinging nettles and it's out right now too. Roll up the jewelweed leaves and rub them on the affected area. Hope the stinging has finally gone away!

smoo said...

The stinging pretty much died down later in the evening. I also heard that antibacterial wash works but I don't know why. Jewelweed is awesome.

jdwilloughby said...

I hadn't heard about the antibacterial wash. I'll have to try it. I like Jewelweed too-it's useful for so many problems when you're out in the woods.

smoo said...

Side note: I think this day was when I contracted Lyme disease earlier this year.