One of the earliest foraged foods of spring, stinging nettles are cropping up in forests and alongside streams all over. These prickly plants require a little special handling (they're called stinging nettles for a reason, after all), but once their formic acid-laden hairs have been tamed, nettles are quite delicious, and remarkably nutritious, making them one of the best foraged foods around.
Know how and where to find and identify wild nettles, and how to process them once you harvest them -- and don't forget the gloves! (Image via Make and Rake)
Great, so you've got your foraged nettles. Now what do you do with it? Here's a few of our favorite ideas:
Nettles contain an enzyme that, like the lining of an animal's stomach, can encourage coagulation in dairy, so you can make a vegetarian cheese. (Image via Inspire Wild)
Pesto doesn't have to be limited to basil. Blanch and blend your nettles for a brilliant green pesto. (Image via Rosemarried)
Image modified from Ladybird & Nettles, Studland Dorset by H Matthew Howarth, on Flickr via Creative Commons license