In November of 2013 I shared a questionnaire over various social networking sites with an image of Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) asking people to share any names of the plant and uses.
13 women with an average age of 36 and 14 men with an average age of 32 responded to the questionnaire. They were from Azerbaijan, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Hungary, and the United States. All but two of the respondents recognized the plant; they had 11 names and 63 uses for the plant altogether.
Respondents knew it by the latin name Urtica or Urtica dioica, and the regional names Nettle, Nettles, Stinging Nettle, Ortie, Csalán, Brenessle, Brennennetle, Brenninetla, Brennnessel, and the nom personel: La "putain de sa mère ça pique cette merde".
Respondents self-categorized their uses for the plant according to the layout of the questionnaire: 25% Food, 25% Medicine, 15% Nature, 12% Soil, 8% Technical, 5% Ornamental, 3% Fertilizer. Respondents who chose the 'other' option also said that they use it for cosmetics, and that they write poetry about it, get meaning from it, have an enjoyable activity with it, have a social experience with it, get a good feeling from it.
Respondents were also asked to clarify the use of the plant as food. Their recipes and ideas follow:
"I eat it as a soup, salad, cook the late season tips into a mash and then make green balls to freeze and have healthy green stuff all winter."
"Used for tea, kept as a frozen vegetable for soups in winter, steamed cooked with lamb, fermented as a kim-chi, generally used like spinach."
"I collect it for soups; use it with other leaves and cook it with an egg; use the leaves for tea; soak it in water as a plant feed."
"In a pie or in a soup. I also mixed it with the dough to make 'galettes'. It's not enough by itself to give a lot of flavor so I mix it with other plants."
"I have had nettles both as tea and in soup, but only in France."
"In soup or tea."
"For cooking! It will be boiled and fried. after we eat with garlic-jogurt dressing."
"I harvest the tips of the plant. Cook it shortly in water. Strain the water out, and cut it very small. Then fry it in olive oil with salt and pepper."
"Eat it with potatoes, rice etc."
"Dry leaves as tea."
"Wilted. Sauteed. Supposedly good as a tea and for allergies."
"For soup mixed with dock plantain marjoram kale and pumpkin."