A Common La Mesa Weed Can Be a Free, Healthy Dinner

Perhaps you have a well-manicured lawn, or wonderful landscaping with native plants, or a flourishing garden. But we don't. My boyfriend and I live in La Mesa and, while we are working tirelessly to turn our yard into a thriving garden, right now it's full of weeds. And today I made a big discovery: one of the weeds is edible. Free food!

The major plant pest in our yard is Bermuda grass. We have logged countless hours trying to dig it up by the roots only to have it all grow back. But another plant, while not as frustrating as the Bermuda grass, is PAINFUL. This plant, with its jagged leaves and painful sting, seems to show up as one of the first weeds any time I plant a new bed in the garden. It doesn't hurt when it's small, but once it gets a little larger - OUCH!

This plant is a stinging nettle. It's actually good for your garden to have a few around for a number of reasons. But while you may want only a few so you can get the benefits of their presence without getting stung every time you turn around, the nettle wants to multiply without any limits. Fortunately, they are highly nutritious as a food.

Stinging nettles lose their sting as they wilt and once they are cooked. A raw nettle salad is a bad idea, but sauteed nettles or even nettles as a pizza topping is a great idea. You can basically use them like you would use spinach, although they have a rougher texture than spinach. Try eating nettles sauteed with a little garlic and salt.

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Tags: Gardening, Nettles, Stinging

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