Nature’s free treat is great – But never eat raw

The first wild herbs, or nettles, raise their heads from the ground.

Nettle is at its best when young. Mari Moilanen

The time for nettles is now. They are at their best when picked and enjoyed young.

Nettles can be used in cooking just like spinach, but with the difference that nettles are never eaten raw. They are either dried and ground into a powder, or the leaves are used, for example, to flavor tea, or the leaves are plucked before use to remove the pungent acids.

You should pick a large batch of nettles at once. The number of nettles shrinks to about a quarter after weeding. And don’t forget gloves and a long-sleeved shirt. Young nettle planters are also mischievous.

After picking, soak the nettles, rake them and cool the raked leaves with ice water. In this way, the deep green color of the nettles is preserved. Finally, pat the nettles dry between paper towels. If you are not using this free treat of nature right away, you can freeze the nettles or store them in the refrigerator. They keep well in a cool place for 4–5 days.