Wild Edibles - Nettle Chips

Spring brings nettles. One of the earliest wild edibles to forage for in the Pacific NW, nettles make great chips! If you've ever enjoyed a kale chip, then I can guarantee you'd like nettle chips too.

Nettles have small pin-like hairs on them that irritate the skin. Because of this I recommend using some caution when handling and preparing them to avoid any itchy side-effects. Please note, always use caution when foraging for wild edibles. Never eat anything without first being confident in your ability to correctly identify it and ascertain that it is safe.


Head on over to your local nettle patch. This time of year they grow like weeds wherever there is a bit of sun. You'll want to take a container and gloves. Although there is a way to harvest nettles safely with bare hands, I just go for the easy route and wear gloves.
 
Pick the mid-sized leaves. They are large enough to make good chips, but not so large that they are old and woody.


I put mine right into the colander, as I'll be rinsing them back at the house and this just saves a step.


Don't forget to take a break from foraging to enjoy the sun with a couple of friends.



When you're happy with your harvest, head home and give your nettles a good toss around in some water. This jostling motion helps to knock off some of the irritating hairs. 


Next, coat the leaves in olive oil and lay them out on a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt.


Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Baking the leaves also nullifies any remaining irritant, making them safe and tasty to eat!

You know they are done with they are dry and crunchy, like a chip!


Enjoy the results of your first spring forage! Nettle chips have a nutty flavor that pairs very nicely with beer.





Comments

  1. Very cool! I had no idea that these were edible. We have tons on the border of our property. If it's sunny this weekend, I'll try this out.

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    Replies
    1. If you do try them, I'd be interested to hear what you think!

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  2. I think I have these growing in my yard...they sting like crazy, and the pain can last about 20 minutes? With the poison in the leaves causing such a painful sting, how can you eat them?

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    Replies
    1. That sounds about right! Normally I avoid them when out walking, as they do sting and it is not fun! That said, they actually make a very tasty chip. The act of washing and then cooking them takes away the irritant.

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