NETTLE, TIE, URTICACEAE, URTICA LYALLII

Garrett, Theodore Francis (edited by). 1898. the Encyclopedia of Practical Cookery. L. Upcott Gill, 170, Strand, W.C. London. Vol. III
are plants of the genus Urtica are known by this name, and although commonly shunned by human beings on account of their stinging propensities have been converted by the magic wand of the cook into valuable vegetables, that is, if gathered when young and tender.

Barer-Stein, Thelma. 1999. You EatWhat You Are. A FireFly Book, [GT 2850 .B371 1999] [Scottish pp. 378-380]
is another name for thistles. The young shoots are plucked, well washed and cooked and served much like spinach.

Excerpted and Adapted from Escoffier, A. and P.H. Gilbert. Edited by Charlotte Turgeon and Nina Froud. 1961. The World Authority. Larousse Gastronomique. The Encyclopedia of Food, Wine & Cookery.
is a weed, with stinging hairs on leaves full of formic acid, which provokes skin eruption. Some species of this plant such as White dead nettle and Blind nettle, or Lamium album are edible, used like sorrel, as a vegetable or in soups.
Hedrick, U.P. editor. 1919. Sturtevant's Notes on Edible Plants. Report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station for the Year 1919 II. Albany, J.B Lyon Company, State Printers. [References Available]
URTICA DIOICA (Urticaceae), NETTLE
is a plant of north temperate regions; naturalized in America from Europe. The nettle, according to Sir Walter Scott, was at one time cultivated in Scotland as a potherb. Nettle tops, in the spring, says Lightfoot, are boiled and eaten by the common people of Scotland as greens, and the young leaves are often boiled in soup in the outer Hebrides and form a very palatable article of food, it is said. The tender tops are much more commonly eten in Germany, Belgium and other parts of Europe than in England and are also used in northern Persia.
Hensolt, Edith A. 1966. How Oregon Indians Used the Native Flora. Benton county Historical Society & Museum, Philomath, Oregon.
Nettle fiber ws only second in importance to Indian hemp. Tall strong plants peel best. Stalks must be gathered at the right time and cured in the sun, then stored for the making of fish nets and cord in winter. A mussel shell split and peeled off the outer bark in strips. One hand holds the strands, the other rolls them back and forth on the thigh to make a very strong cord. This is used for bow strings, fish and duck nets, weaving. Duck nets are made of long cords knotted finely into a strong net. They are spread in shallow water with stone sinkers, just under the surface. Ducks diving to feed under water get entangled. Indians ate the steamed roots. Haskin found them too tough, but says they gave milk soup a delicious flavor. An Indian myth says people were starving because they couldn't catch the salmon. Spider felt sorry for them, changed into a man, married a maiden, taught her to prepare fiber and make nets to catch the salmon.
Excerpts from Hawkes, Alex D. 1968. A World of Vegetable Cookery. Simon and Schuster, New York.
Two botanically-and structurally-different plants used as vegetables are in cultivation under the name nettle. The best known of these is a true Nettle, of the genus Urtica, abundantly furnished on its sizable leaves and young shoots with wickedly stinging hairs. Because of its pleasant spinachlike, slightly bitter flavor, the Nettle has long been utlilized in Scotland, parts of France, and other European lands as a potherb, puree, or in hearty soups. It was introduced into this country by immigrants, and it quickly spread to become a pestiferous weed, particularly in parts of New England. The stinging hairs, ineffective after cooking, make the use of sturdy gloves and considerable caution ewssential in picking and preparing this interesting vegetable.

The second of these plants is the Dead nettle, or White Nettle, Lamium maculatum, of the Mint (not Nettle) Family. This is a diffuse fuzzy plant with pretty white to purple-red flowers, and no stinging hairs.

 
Modified and compiled for the FOOD RESOURCE, Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University
Updated: Tuesday, July 3, 2012.