Stinging Nettle Sauté

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Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are easily my favorite wild edible spring green. This delicious plant is packed with nutrients like magnesium, calcium and iron. 

Does eating something that stings you sound strange? Fresh nettles have little needle-like injections along the stems and leaves that can inject formic acid into your skin when you brush up against them. To get rid of the sting you simply need to simmer the fresh nettles for a few minutes. 

This recipe features nettles sautéed with bacon and onions and then drizzled with an aged balsamic vinegar. Oh the delicious fresh tastes of spring!

Ingredients for Stinging Nettle Sauté

  • 1-2 tablespoons lard (or butter or olive oil) 
  • 1 slice of bacon, minced 
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh nettle leaves 
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste) 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Stinging Nettle Sauté

To prepare the fresh stinging nettle leaves simmer them for about two minutes in boiling water and then drain. Let them cool slightly, then chop them up. (Reserve the water for drinking or watering plants.) 

In a medium sized skillet, heat the lard. When hot, add the  bacon and onion slices. Cook until the bacon is cooked through and the onions are translucent. 

Add the prepared nettles. Mix well. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 2 as a side dish.

Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal and co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.