Lately I have been doing a lot of research on stinging nettles. I already use dry stinging nettles for infusions and wanted to expand my repertoire. Sourcing from various herbal books and sites, I came up with a few experimental ideas: stinging nettle soup, stinging nettle saute, stinging nettle hair wash and (of course!) stinging nettle fertilizer.
So, armed with theories but no practice, a few days ago we put the littlest Picu in the instantaneous sleep inducing car seat and made our way to the coast. It only took about 15 minutes to gather an entire grocery bag over stuffed with stinging nettles. Important –> use gloves!!!! I actually doubled up because I only have surgical gloves around the house and found that I was still getting stung while only wearing one layer.
Notes about gathering Stinging Nettles: It’s best to gather them on sunny days around and after lunch time. Ideally when it’s been sunny for a few days. For all uses except for health infusions (teas) you can gather them at any time during their growth cycle. For infusions however, it’s best to gather them when the plants are flowering.
That evening at home, I cleaned the nettles and separated them according to use into 2 big bowls:
- Big bowl #1 – in this bowl I gathered all clean nettle leaves and young stems. Usually I included all the tops of the plants I harvested. I drained as much water as possible and stored them in the fridge for later use in the kitchen.
- Big bowl #2 – everything that was left after selecting nettles for bowl #1. I then covered everything with water and will let it all soak and ferment for about 3 weeks.