Wondering what to do with the latest seasonal foods? Here’s a partial record of what we’ve been eating ourselves.
Tiny glass-like needles, each with a bulbous base filled with chemical irritants, cover the leaves of stinging nettles. The lightest touch shatters them and unleashes a poisonous brew of neurotransmitters, histamines, and formic acid, the same acid that makes bee stings and ant bites so painful. The smart thing is to avoid stinging nettles altogether.
Unless you want to eat them, that is.
A quick blanching neutralizes their sting, and when cooked, nettles have a robust, almost meaty flavor. The leaves are high in calcium and iron, and studies have confirmed their effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory, a use that goes back to ancient Greece.
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