We are deep into fall yet the nettles in my small herb garden bed continue to take over.
Every few days I put on double garden gloves and snip around taking off the top leave whirls. I know this may stimulate more growth, but the crime of not using an herb like this in its fresh form nags at me.
My method to avoid the sting, not totally herbal perfect practice, is as follows: Bring handfuls of nettle leaves, stem and all into the kitchen with my gloves on and put them gently into the sink. Take off gloves and get a big pot ready with about 2 inches of water. Turn on the sink faucet and with tongs, gently turn and rinse the nettle leaves, then with tongs, place into pot, stems and all. Bring to boil on medium high heat, covered. Steam for about 2-3 minutes until deep green, drain and cool. No more sting. Now, with my hands, I remove all the leaves from the stems. These will keep in the fridge for a few days and become a richly valuable mild green ingredient. Chop and mix into risotto, lightly saute with garlic, salt, and pepper, add to soups or stews, or bake with chocolate. Sometimes I think I can feel the minerals sinking into my bloodstream as I eat.
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