I’ve already talked a little bit about my love for Stinging Nettle (with Nettle Shampoo and Nettle Tea), but I’ve been waiting to share one of my most favorite wild edible recipes: Caramelized Stinging Nettle Chips, or what I like to call ‘Kettle Nettle.’
We first made these by accident during one of Wolf Camp’s Herbal day camps — we had just made candied fennel, and were demonstrating how to make Sauteed Nettle. Because we used the same pan as the candied fennel, the leftover sugar caramelized on the nettle and made it crisp up. When we sampled it, we realized that a delicious new dish had been born: Kettle Nettle.
Nettle: A Wonderful Culinary Addition
Stinging Nettle is a healthy and very beneficial addition to any meal. Full of essential vitamins and minerals, nettle is far more nutritious than conventional lettuce or other common garden plants. It is also high in plant protein. Nettle’s health benefits, abundance in our region, and other useful qualities make it one of our top 10 survival foods.
Stinging Nettle can be eaten raw, dried, or cooked. If you choose to eat it raw, be careful! There is a specific way to eat it raw, to ensure that you don’t get stung. Nettle can be cooked into dishes just like any other dark leafy green — I like to compare it to spinach, as it cooks down very quickly and has a mellow, ubiquitous ‘green’ taste. Stews, soups, stir fries, side dishes, omelets, casseroles, quiches — Nettle is a great and healthy addition to any dish.
I personally really enjoy sauteed nettle or nettle chips. However, I think my new favorite method is the caramelized Kettle Nettle. A bit sweet, and a little salty, this recipe is pretty hard to beat.
Ingredients for Kettle Nettle:
- 2-4 cups (or more!) Fresh Stinging Nettle, clean and with most of the stem cut off
- 2 tbsp Butter
- ~1/3 cup (or less, or more depending on your preference) Organic Cane Sugar
Keep in mind that Nettle cooks like spinach, so it will cook down by quite a lot. So, make sure you harvest enough!
In a pan over medium / high heat, melt the butter. Once the pan is greased, add in the nettle. Once the water begins to cook out, add in the sugar. Add in water if it gets too hot, before the nettle or sugar start to burn! Saute until the sugar begins to caramelize on the nettle, and the leaves crisp up. Sprinkle in a little salt, and cook to the crisp consistency that you want.
Once done, remove pan from heat and serve up the nettle.
Check out these other great Wolf Camp resources and articles:
- John Kallas’s Edible Wild Plants book review
- Stinging Nettle: Harvesting, Processing, and Recipes
- How to Make Herbal Root Beer
- Wild Edible Recipe: Cattail Chips
- How to Make Oxeye Daisy Fritters (3 recipes)
*** For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We recommend that you consult with a qualified health care practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing or on any medications. ***
*** Please read our Honorable Harvesting Guidelines before harvesting any plant material. The final guideline is of utmost importance: “Never put anything in your mouth unless you are 100% sure it is safe to ingest.” ***
Hannah began her apprenticeship at Wolf Camp in 2013 and graduated as a lead herbal instructor in 2014. Join Hannah and other Wolf College wild chefs during our annual Wild Cooking & Ethnobotany Expedition: The Herbal Foray the second week of July on Lake Sammamish near Seattle.
Hannah graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages. She has her own blog, where she writes about her love for crafts, animals, plants, cooking, and the outdoors: rainmountaincrafts.com