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Despite its reputation as a stinging weed, the nettle is edible. The stings are caused by little hairs on the leaves, which lose their irritating properties when cooked. It’s rare to buy nettles commercially, so if picking them from the wild, ensure they aren’t from areas that have been sprayed with pesticides. Wear gloves and choose plants with small leaves and soft stems. Prepare in the same way as spinach and use in soups, braise with onions or use to stuff ravioli.