When you are camping it can be fun to supplement your menu with a spot of foraging. Stinging nettles are good to forage for as they are easily recognisable… if not so easy to pick! I collect them with scissors (even the small ones on my swiss army knife will do the trick) and I snip them straight into a bag. A net bag is ideal – the sort that they now sell in some supermarket to discourage you from using plastic. The bag is lightweight and compact, closes to stop the leaves escaping and you can just hang it up when you get home and also use it to to dry the leaves. Just don’t cram it too full so that the air can circulate well to dry the leaves.
It’s best to harvest the young nettle leaves as they are more tender, and obviously you want to avoid the ones with caterpillars or other insects. Take them from the top of the plant, you don’t want the tough stalk or old leaves.
Freshly picked nettle leaves make excellent nettle tea, which is supposedly very good for you. If you look online it would seem there wasn’t anything that nettle couldn’t cure! I’m not sure about all those claims, but there seems consensus that they are rich in vitamins and minerals and are good for reducing inflammation.
Don’t worry – steeping in boiling water or cooking the nettles gets rid of the sting!
You can also use them in place of spinach in cooking – below is a picture of a tasty breakfast we made frying up bacon and mushrooms adding nettles.