How to Prepare Stinging Nettles


Stinging nettles are a wild edible plant that has been considered a weed until recently. High in iron, vitamin C, potassium and offering medicinal benefits it has become a useful garden plant for many. However, stinging nettles can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation and swelling if handled or prepared improperly. Special care needs to be taken when harvesting and preparing this plant.

Step 1

Put on your rubber gloves. Use your scissors to remove the younger leaves from about the top 5 inches of your stinging nettle plants. Smaller and more tender leaves are preferred because it's easier to get rid of their ability to sting during cooking.

Step 2

Wash and place your nettles in your pan. You can now remove your gloves. Add enough water to steam your nettles, but don't cover the leaves completely. Place the lid on the pan.

Step 3

Heat your pan on medium heat until the stinging nettles are wilted well. It should take about 5 minutes.

Step 4

Drain the water from your nettles completely. Add red wine vinegar, butter or other greens for extra flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Stinging nettle plant
  • Saucepan
  • Red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Butter (optional)
  • Other greens (optional)


  • Stinging Nettle: Friend or Foe
  • Eating Nettles
Keywords: wild edibles, edible weeds, greens

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for over 15 years. Coe is the former publisher of the politics and art magazine Flesh from Ashes. She has worked to protect water and air quality. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University.