The main u-pick season in Oregon starts in May/June with strawberries, but lush green delicacies await wildcrafters who search out wet spots in February/March to harvest stinging nettles.
The stingers on the leaves and stems are “tamed” by cooking. Nettles can be used in most ways you’d use cooked spinach.
A pureed soup served at a CoHo community meal was made from nettles picked less than a mile from CoHo.
A little protective gear (gloves, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a pair of scissors) makes the picking experience much more enjoyable. The tender new leaves at the top are harvested, so it’s possible to revisit a nettle patch several times and harvest more new growth.
Reports are that nettle pesto and nettle quiche are well worth the effort.