In 2013, the Sitka Center Intern Ellie Duncan created a foraged food cookbook called Edible Sitka. Here is a excerpt from her book:
ABOUT STINGING NETTLES
Around the Sitka Center there are two kinds of nettles. One is hedge nettle, which is slightly fuzzy and smells pungent. The other is stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).
Stinging nettles usually grow in somewhat marshy places and disturbed sights. They have a mild sting and may cause a rash, so handle them carefully and cover exposed skin when gathering.
Stinging nettles are delicious and nutritious. You can use them to replace cooked spinach in almost any recipe (nettle soup, sauteed nettles, nettle spanakopita!?) Nettles lose their stinging properties if you dry them, cook them, or vigorously squish them (blend in food processor).
STINGING NETTLE PESTO
1 cup blanched nettle leaves
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 T. olive oil
2 t. lemon juice
Grind nuts and seeds in food processor until finely ground. Add blanched nettles, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add more olive oil if you want the pesto more saucy and less dip-ish.