This has to be one of the easiest wild food recipes there is, but it is important to follow a few rules before making any.
1) Please only gather Wild food from clean areas, away from chemicals, roads and dog walkers.
2) Positive identification is of course vital. You would be surprised at some of the stories I hear. This site is not designed to be a resource of identification so grab yourself a book if you feel you need it such as Colins GEM guide to flowers.
3) For this recipe only use young nettle tops (not old ones like the picture above). It is a common misconception that young nettles will be found in the spring, and while the majority are found then, there are still plenty about later in the year if you look hard enough. Try under hedges and among grasses. It is important to use only young nettle tops as old nettles contain something known as called cystoliths which are gritty particles which irritate the kidneys.
4) Stinning nettles do of course sting. It is possible to pick them (without gloves) without getting stung, which I cover on corses, but if you are worried then grab a pair of very thick gloves, but you will find they sometimes sting through these too!
1) Lots of young nettle tops
6) Lemon (optional)
Once you have picked the tops (and you need a lot) simply wash them. The water which clings to the leaves is enough to cook them, please don't boil them in lots of water! They cook down very quickly indeed. Once wilted add a knob of butter, and sprinkle of salt and a twist of pepper. Stir and serve. If you like lemon then add some juice at the salt and pepper stage.
If you have used young nettles the taste is very nice indeed, but older ones (the ones you should leave alone) will have a very earthy strong taste which is not that nice. Serve your nettles with just about anything, or add them to mashed potato.
Catch you on the trail