Whenever I tell someone about our fall mushroom foraging adventures I get this wide-eyed look of bewilderment and a guaranteed, “Really? Weren’t you afraid of getting poisoned?”
I get a similar response when I mention that we’ve been eating nettles, “Really? You mean the stinging kind?”
I suppose eating off the beaten path has never made me nervous. Besides, nettles and wild mushrooms aren’t exactly as risky as eating fugu or scorpions.
So when my foraging friend Carol brought nettles to work last Spring I was game at giving them a try. She put on a kettle of water to boil, reached for a pair of tongs and gingerly transferred the tender hairy leaves into the teapot. After dousing the leaves with scalding water and steeping for a few minutes, we sipped on a deliciously green, grassy, nutty elixir. I managed to get my hands on some more and made an emerald green nettle risotto and delicate risotto pasta.
Chock full of nutrients (Vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium), nettles are just too healthy to pass by. Especially if you forage, because then they’re nutritious AND free.
Now that Spring is once again upon us, the boy and I are looking forward to gathering our own nettles for some more springtime feasting from the forest floor. Don’t worry, we’ll wear gloves.