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Yes, it is perfectly safe to eat stinging nettles once they’ve been blanched. In fact, they’re extremely healthy as they are packed with vitamins A, B & C as well as a wide variety of minerals. They possess a fresh, green, spinach/mint flavor and can be prepared similarly to other cooked greens or used to make nettle tea.
Warning: Do not handle raw stinging nettles with your bare hands. Use gloves. After nettles are cooked, the stinging agent is dissolved and they are safe to handle and eat.
Store fresh nettles wrapped in paper towels within a plastic bag in the refrigerator. For long term storage, nettles can be dried for later use in tea or frozen pre-cooked like spinach or turned into pesto. See How to Preserve Nettles for directions.
Up to four days fresh, eight months frozen.
RECIPES & TIPS
How to Prep Stinging Nettles - It is very important to blanch or steam stinging nettles first for a few minutes to dissolve the stinging agent (folic acid).
Nettles are great steamed or sautéed using the same method as other winter greens such as kale or chard. They can also be creamed like spinach, added to soups, turned into a fabulous pesto or blended with ricotta to make a ravioli filling.
Try pairing nettles with ingredients like cheese (especially parmesan or ricotta), lemon, potatoes, onions, garlic and/or fennel.
How to Make Nettle Tea - nettles are often steeped to make nettle tea, which is considered to be very nutritious.