When preparing various side dishes and salads, it is important to know how much to cook the nettle so that it stops being hot, but at the same time remains useful. After heat treatment, the product becomes softer and more tender. Instead of boiling, the plant can be scalded or soaked in boiling water.
Collecting and preparing nettles
It is better to use young plants for food. They are considered as such until mid-May, until flowering begins. You can collect raw materials from April. The place should be chosen clean, so that there are no busy roads, factories, landfills and other negative factors nearby.
In young plants, not only the leaves are suitable for food, but also the upper stems. It is better to choose specimens no higher than 20 cm. Collect raw materials with gloves so as not to burn yourself.
It is better not to tear burning leaves with stems, but to cut off with scissors - this way more valuable elements will be preserved, juiciness
You can harvest the plants as a whole, then cut or pluck the leaves just before cooking. The prepared raw materials must be washed in a sieve under running water - it must be cold.
How much nettle to cook
In order for the grass to retain the maximum of useful elements, heat treatment must be reduced as much as possible. For salads or for a side dish, boil the nettle mass for no more than three minutes. For young raw materials, 1-2 minutes is enough, since it is not too hot yet. Time should be noted after boiling.
Scalding with boiling water
In order for the nettle to retain more useful elements, it is better not to boil it, but to scald it with boiling water. You can act like this:
- Fold the nettle leaves in a deep bowl.
- Pour the green mass with boiled water only.
- Wait a minute.
- Drain the liquid or remove the leaves with a slotted spoon.
- Pour cold water over greens.
- Place the leaves on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Chop ready-made greens if necessary.
You can not soak the nettle mass with boiling water, but spill it abundantly with it. To do this, the greens must be placed in a colander or sieve. After treatment with boiling water, it must be rinsed with cold water. This option is especially good for making fortified salads.
Pouring boiling water over cooking should be preferred when further heat treatment is to be carried out - cooking, stewing, baking, frying, and sautéing. In these cases, the pungency must be removed in order to painlessly chop the greens. If the leaves can be used whole, then they do not need to be boiled or scalded.
How to cook nettle garnish
Heat treatment of a plant is more correctly called blanching, since it is short-lived. The algorithm is as follows:
- Pour plenty of water into a suitable container.
- Lower the nettle leaves for 1-3 minutes.
- Discard the green mass in a colander.
- Squeeze out excess moisture with a spoon.
Attention! To preserve the green color, immediately after treatment with boiling water, the nettle mass must be dipped into ice water.
For chopping, it is better to tear the cooked greens with your hands or cut with a ceramic knife.
For garnish, you can use both leaves and young stems. It is better to remove the hard parts of the plant so as not to spoil the consistency of the dish.
If you cook a side dish with several ingredients, then add the nettle mass a couple of minutes before the end of cooking. It is better to put boiled or scalded greens in a ready-made dish.
It takes only a few minutes to boil nettles to retain the maximum of valuable elements. This treatment can be replaced by scalding with boiling water. Both options provide the main goal - to remove the pungency of the plant. Without treatment, it will burn not only the hands, but also the mouth while eating.