While I remember it (Homepage)

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uch, something bit me!"

Maybe kids don't play in spaces where nettles grow anymore, and nettles are not one of the learning experiences of growing up. But the plants are still there in vacant lots, roadsides and if you are lucky enough to have parklands with wilderness areas and wetlands, it's almost sure that nettles will be growing there. They're a listed weed.

The sharp sting from the fine hairs on the leaves and stems does feel like an ant bite. The chemical cocktail it releases when you brush against it and they break off, has formic acid, just like many ants. And the effect is pretty much the same, although intensity of nettle stings tend to fade quickly, and many people find they can just ignore them (or enjoy the pain). 

Just as Jonathan Swift said " It was a brave man that first ate an oyster" it must have been with some trepidation, that people first ate nettles. Cattle will eat them if chopped, and some humans can eat them raw, but if it's cooked for a few minutes, the chemicals disappear and you're left with a superior green vegetable. Nettles are full of nutrients, and protein. At around 20% protein, they are one of the highest known sources of protein in a green leafy vegetable.

So how come we don't eat them?                      Next>