Get ready to geek out on a weed. This is nettle. More specifically, this is stinging nettle.
Its botanical name is Urtica dioica, and it is in the Urticaceae family of plants. It’s one of many in this family that grow wild in North America. If you have the misfortune of encountering it whilst wandering through wooded areas, you will know immediately. Any skin that comes in contact with the little hairs on its leaves and stem will begin to sting and burn, and will do so until you wash with soap and water. A slight stinging, tingling sensation might continue for several hours after that. However, unlike poison ivy, which will continue to curse you with its presence on clothes, shoes, and dog (but I’m not one to hold a grudge), nettle does not sting unless you come in direct contact with it. Wearing gloves, long sleeves and long pants makes foraging for nettle easy and painless.
Posted by realfoodroad on May 18, 2012
Have you been to the site The Perennial Plate yet? You may have noticed it’s one of the links I recommend over there on the right of this page. They are just wrapping up their second year of blogging (and video blogging, although really, the micro-documentaries Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine make are sooooo much more than mere point-the-camera-at-something-and-put-it-online-blogging), and it was even better than the first year. In the first year, their focus was on local, seasonal eating in Minnesota (yes, even in the winter). The second year, they took a road trip around the country, to see what local food traditions they could discover. Their blog is great too (Mirra has her own unique take on this journey, and her relationship with Daniel, and she is damn funny), so I would strongly suggest you hole up this weekend with your computer, and do a marathon of The Perennial Plate.
Posted by realfoodroad on May 11, 2012