You might think that nettles are a kid’s worst enemy. They lurk in places where nippers like to explore, lashing out at unprotected legs, and leaving itchy, painful rashes on stray arms. But the 15-26 May is Be Nice To Nettles week, a time to find out whether the green stingers are bad, or just misunderstood.
We’re fans of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingtsall’s nettle soup, and nettle tea (kids love adding lemon to turn it from pale green to shocking pink). It’s fun to forage for ingredients in the park or back alleys. Try to keep away from plants that have been peed on by foxes, or anything growing too close to a busy road. Wear thick rubber gloves, long sleeves and trousers to go collecting.
And, if you stumble upon a good nettle patch, be sure to submit your findings to this year’s nettle survey. Ladybirds love nettles, so you’re very likely to see some if you have a good look at a clump of stingers.