Scandinavian Nettles

Scandinavian Nettles

The long, thin fibers of the stinging nettle have been used for centuries to make the finest, shiny durable and soft materials for dresses and bed linen, finer even than the flax-linen, rotted and woven in the same way. Nettle cloth was even discovered in a Danish grave of the later Bronze Age, wrapped around cremated bones. Learn more about Scandinavian nettles.

Nettles are not overwhelming flavorful, but are fine as a spring-time, vaguely spinach-like treat. They have a distinct foxy smell – which comes from all the little glass-hard needles that contain the poison that creates the sting and irritates the skin – but you can easily blanch this away.

How it grows
Nettles grow everywhere, particularly on deep, rich soil in disturbed habitats, and can reach an impressive 2 meters high in the summer, dying down to the ground in winter. They appear from March onwards and are best picked early. It’s the soft, young tips of the plant that you’re after, and don’t forget to wear gloves.

Scandinavian Nettles
For hundreds of years, nettles have been used to treat a whole range of aliments, even to stimulate hair growth! Photo: Store norske leksikon

Health benefits
For hundreds of years, nettles have been used to treat a whole range of aliments, even to stimulate hair growth! They are rich in minerals, and vitamins (particularly A and C), and are relatively high in protein for a leafy green vegetable.

Culinary uses
Put the cleaned nettles in a colander, pour over a kettleful of boiling water, and drain. After this initial blanching, the nettles can be used in all kinds of ways as you would use spinach; in soups, omelets, dressed with olive oil and lemon, creamed. You could also try them in the chervil soup.

Scandinavian Nettles
Nettle waffels. Photo: YouTube

Nettle waffles
You can use this thick waffles as wraps to fill with dried or salted meats, smoked fish, or fish eggs, or simply topped with chervil cream and smoked salmon.

250g fresh herbs, including blanched nettles, spinach, parsley, dill, tarragon and/or sorrel
3 eggs
70ml beer
150ml full-fat milk
180g plain flour
100g salted butter, melted
Salt and pepper


Chop the herbs finely. Bland the eggs, beer, milk and flour together in a bowl. Add the melted butter and continue mixing until it forms a shiny butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add the herbs.

Bake the waffles in a waffle iron (there is no need to grease it) in the usual way. The waffles are crisp when freshly baked; once cold, they can be restored to their former glory in a warm oven.

Scandinavian Nettles, written by Tor Kjolberg

Previous articleA German Artist’s Island Stable in Norway
Next articleWhy There Is No Plan B for Sweden’s Bee Population
Avatar photo
Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.