Wash leaves as soon after harvest as you can manage. Stinging nettles - Urtica dioica -usually populate uncultivated ground, but often find their way into gardens - particularly around the edge of cultivated areas, or at the base of walls. I … Store blanched leaves in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or you can dry them well and freeze them in a sealed bag.Â. Once wilted they can no longer sting you. They have more protein than any other edible plant I know of. Crumble the dried leaves in a blender and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Leave for three or four weeks then dilute for direct use (one part concentrate to 10 parts water). You're now subscribed to our newsletter. First thing’s first: Give your stinging nettles a good wash to ensure there are no bugs, dirt or any other possible residue on them. Some of these uses are now being scientifically tested, with some surprising results. Lift them from the bath and spread them out onto a clean dishtowel or paper towels, and pat them dry. Try 3 issues of BBC Countryfile Magazine for just £5! Don’t try to eat stinging nettle raw! I’d never even heard of them until I moved to the U.K. Like comfrey, nettles make perfect liquid plant food. For fresh salads, use young leaves from plants less than 10 centimeters in height. Dried nettles in my dehydrator. Make this easy nettle soup recipe – perfect for a light lunch. The best time to harvest nettles is the first few weeks of spring when the leaves are young and tender. Get daily tips and expert advice to help you take your cooking skills to the next level. Since you want only the leaves, you’ll save yourself a lot of effort later by cutting the leaves from the stems as you go. Drop the leaves into a sink or bowl of warm water and let them sit for about 10 minutes. It means ‘two houses’ and is a reference to the fact that the male and female flowers are carried on separate plants. For these reasons some gardeners may wish to keep them in check. Bring a large pot filled with about 2 quarts of water to a boil and add at least 1 tablespoon of salt. Your nettles will be ready to harvest between 80-90 days from seed. It has been suggested that the term ‘nettle’ is derived from the Old English for needle – a reference to the stinging leaves. Nettle pesto can be made very simply – all you need to do is substitute cooked nettle leaves for the basil or baby spinach you’d normally use. Nettles have tiny, hollow hairs on their leaves and stems that inject powerful, itchy histamines upon contact. Native Americans would harvest the young plant in spring, and nettle cordial can be traced back to the Romans. Drop the leaves into a sink or bowl of warm water and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Nettles in the UK are often known as common nettle, stinging nettle or leaf nettle. How to Treat a Sting from a Stinging Nettle. It’s important to move cautiously and take time to avoid the experience. Pick the first two or three pairs of leaves from the top of the plants. Take only the top 3-4 inches (the first two sets of leaves). Within 10 days you’ll have a thick dark brown liquid – rich in nitrogen and smelling like a heap of manure. Harvest the nettles by cutting off only the upper leaves (no larger than about 3” wide). How to Harvest Stinging Nettle. While you’re washing the nettles, get a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Make sure that all of the leaves are separated from the stalks. Then, use tongs to handle the nettles. Some experienced nettle harvesters pick them with bare hands, but they benefit from years of building resistance. You can consume the leaves fresh, but if you want to preserve the nettle plants to be consumed or used later, there are a few things that you can try. The best time to harvest nettles is in late March and April. Swish the stinging nettles around in the water, and change it once or twice. You’ll probably want to wear kitchen gloves or use tongs to handle. Heat up a big pot of salted, boiling water. Also, with the plant dried out to neutralize the acid in the sting, the leaves become a natural antihistamine. Nettles should never be eaten raw. Transfer the blanched leaves to the ice water, and stir. Nettles grow in abundance everywhere in the UK, and are easily recognisable. (Taraxacum Officinale). Preserving Nettle Plants. Young nettles emerging. Learn about the benefits, side effects, and research around stinging nettle here. Steam for about 10-15 minutes to turn your nettles from tough, stinging leaves into tender, delicious greens. The first step in cooking is to clean the nettles. You’ll see that the soaking water becomes a rust-orange color; this is nothing to worry about. Make sure that all of the leaves are separated from the stalks. ... asking how to handle religious services. Listen to the latest episodes from our country podcast, Nettle guide: where to find, how to pick safely and recipe ideas, Wild garlic guide: where to find, how to cook it and recipe ideas, Monthly foraging guide: what’s in season, where to find it, and how to forage responsibly, Blackberry guide: where to find, how to cook and recipe ideas, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors named International Dark Sky Reserves, Mackenzie Crook on his new Worzel Gummidge for Christmas in the BBC Countryfile Magazine podcast, Foraging for puffball mushrooms in Dorset, September foraging guide: best foods to find and recipe ideas, Recipe: Sea beet with duck eggs and new potatoes. Using their foliage to hide how to handle nettles predators rich soils and benefit from of... 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