Stinging nettles are bountiful in the Valley right now.

‘Sting’ has sprung! Stinging nettle shoots are ready for harvest in the Valley

'Sting' has sprung! Stinging nettle shoots are ready for harvest in the Valley

Stinging Nettle shoots are common in the Valley can be harvested from mid-February to April when the plant is young (6-12 inches tall) and are used as an excellent spinach or basil substitute; lightly steamed and eaten with butter and salt, cooked in lasagnas and soups, blended up fresh in pesto; experimentation highly encouraged!

The leaves are a great source of vitamin A, C, iron, calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll and potassium. Wear gloves and use scissors to avoid stinging your hands but remember: this sensation can provide rheumatic relief! Pick an extra few grocery bags full and dry them to add to soups or have as tea. Thimbleberry and Fireweed shoots are harvested in the same season and method as Stinging Nettle.

Pluck the leaves and peel back the skin of Thimbleberry shoots and eat raw. The kids like it dipped in sugar these days. Fireweed shoots can be peeled and added to salads or steamed up. Traditionally in this area, wild greens like these were dipped in Ooligan grease or eaten with Herring eggs and grease. However you choose to prepare it, enjoy the bounty this wonderful region naturally provides!