Okay, folks, what do I do with them?
Apart from not touch them as I put them in the compost ;)
I just made nettle soup last night for dinner, using the nettles that sprouted up in our garden. The soup was okay, but I would definitely tweak the recipe I used. I found both the texture and the flavour were lacking a little. I boiled the chopped nettles in chicken stock, then pureed it, along with some fresh chives from the garden. I think I might use potato to thicken it, if I made it again.
I searched for other soup recipes yesterday, because I know we'll have more nettles in a week or so, and I'd like to find something a little tastier. I found these recipes and might try some of them.
I love them in a potato leek soup.
My mom made an amazing nettle pie (like spinach pie) this spring.
Anywhere you use spinach or other cooked greens. They taste great, and similar to spinach but with a rougher texture.
They're awesome in lasagna.
If you eat eggs, they're great in egg dishes as well.
Oh, and to make a tincture, chop up the herb, put it in a jar, cover with alcohol (I like brandy for tinctures), shake it a couple times a day, strain some into a dropper bottle and use as desired.
You can make a tea (infusion) by pouring very hot water over the herb and letting it rest covered for 15 minutes. You can keep it in your fridge for 4-5 days and drink it daily for allergies. Nettles are very high in minerals, and the tea is wonderful for all kinds of stuff.