Use nettles as a tea wash or dock (Rumex spp.) I do know that sometimes the lightest touch will get you stung and sometimes it takes effort to get stung. I prefer to store and use them raw because many of the nutrients I want to ingest are lost to the water and thrown out when blanching. Hydrocortisone or antihistamines can provide some relief, but it's common for some pain to linger from a substantial sting (in my own personal experience, numbness can persist for more than 24 hours). They are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and full of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. in Wildlife Science from the University of Washington College of Forest Resources. However, the hairs are still there and can be irritating to the skin or give you a sliver if you’re not careful. Young nettles emerging. Keep the gloves on while you’re preparing the nettles as well. Some bitter greens (e.g. The distinctive but mild flavour profile works best with lighter proteins like chicken, fish, and beans. Thanks, – Chris, I am intending on making nettle pesto – if I make a large amount – once made – could this be frozen? Others crush and apply Yellow Dock leaves or rub the welt/sting with the spores on the under side of Sword Fern leaves. So I recently found a stand of nettles near my house that are some of the toughest, gnarliest, “stingiest” I have ever encountered. When picking stinging nettles in the wild, always wear a thick pair of gloves so you do not get stung. When you’re ready for them, just pull them out, rinse if you wish and go for it! Dried nettles are also stingless, so if you have a dehydrator you can go that route too. Questions? Short Term: Refrigerate in a breathable plastic bag for 3-5 daysLong Term: Blanch for 1 minute, then rinse, drain, and freeze. Pick the young leaves from the tips. That being said, fresh kale tends to be tougher and a little more green and mustardy in taste than nettles. Alternately, I don’t want to offer advice that could do harm. I have seen recipes that use raw nettles to make pesto (apparently the processing removes the sting, though I'm not sure how the chemical compounds in question would be deactivated), but as a general rule you're going to want to cook your nettles. Remember that wild foods rely on us to be their stewards as well, so ensure that you leave enough of the plant to allow it to survive and/or to feed wild animals that might rely upon it. Our Virtual Outdoor Camps were featured in the New York Times on July 6, 2020 and check out how we exceeded standards for in-person summer camp protocols during the pandemic era. If you would like to dry your nettles for tea, there are many options. Note that the tiny spine-like hairs visible are fairly soft, and incapable of delivering any type of sting at this point. Stinging nettles grow practically everywhere: even in cities, it is often possible to find the plant growing in parks or gardens as a weed. – Capable of inflicting a fairly painful sting– The volatile chemical cocktail that causes the sting is entirely inactivated by cooking. You can vary the time/tenderness in the future to suit your individual preference. Hi Pamela. Always take proper precautions when foraging for wild foods. There’s a common misconception out there that stinging nettles cause a mechanical injury by stabbing you (much like a rosebush), but this isn’t true, or at least it isn’t the primary cause of pain. Thank, Never heard of that idea, as we’re more survival/medicinal oriented. The stinging power of nettles is instantly dismantled when they’re cooked (and by We always eat it within an hour if made fresh, or within a couple days if nettles are blanched first, but have never frozen. Leave damaged plants and consider the critters. Harvest only as much as you will use and process it as soon as possible (don’t waste it). Fortunately, cooking nettles is very simple and completely eradicates their stinging capabilities. Remember that squirrels and jays need nuts, too, and honor that…. Wolf Camp DEIJ – Black Lives Matter as do Brown & Asian immigrants in our country. Then I run them under cold tap water to rinse away any dirt or debris and give them a last look before processing. Difficulty: Moderate – While nettles require no special preparation before cooking, care must be used to avoid getting stung by the tiny hairs. These clusters will soon go to seed and become slightly brown. You can add them to lasagna, make pasta with them, throw them in soups or stews, etc. Disclaimer - the information here is meant to act as a guide, and should not replace the advice of a trained medical professional. These hairs are hollow and when they get under your skin, the tips break off and allow the formic acid (among other things) under your skin. Hello I am intending on making nettle cordial and would like to know if once the cordial is made if it could be frozen? If you run your finger from the pointy end up toward the cleft and central stem, chances are excellent you will get stung. Refrigerate any un-used portion. Place the first 5 ingredients into your food processor and turn it on or pulse. Freshly harvested nettle will store in a bag in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, unwashed, for at least 2-3 days (probably longer). Select quality material for your food and medicine. But it’s much more interesting to harvest nettles when you understand how the stinging process works and learn how to handle (and even eat!) The easiest and most common method involves bringing a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, adding the nettles, and blanching for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. For food and medicine, harvest in the spring BEFORE they “flower” unless it’s a survival situation, because once they flower they develop a cystolith that’s damaging to the liver and kidneys. It's best to do this in the spring when the vitamin content is highest, before the flowers appear. USE - Unless you're a masochist, you don't really want to eat raw nettle leaves as-is. Do i wait till the fall to harvest for tea and can i use the stems and leaves? You can find many online sources that say nettles at that stage are bad for the kidneys. It's right there in the name after all. Experiment and you will find a way that works best for you and your family. Once they've been cooked or dried they can no longer sting. – Chris, Your email address will not be published. You can substitute basil for a portion of the nettle but it will tend to overpower the flavor. Cutting: The young, tender leaves near the top of the plant are best for culinary and medicinal purposes. Consider adding a little bit of escarole in combination with one of the other greens listed above. I harvest the tender tops (usually 4-6 leaves or 2-3 leaf sets) for food. The next set down is even larger and back at 12 and 6 o’clock, and so on. They have more protein than any other edible plant I know of. If you’re wearing gloves, grasp the base in one hand and run your other hand from base to tip in order to strip off the leaves. It all depends upon your goal. Then I put them into freezer-safe containers and store until I need them. If using them right away, I’ll often lay them out on a clean surface or in a colander for a few minutes to allow critters a moment to escape. The optimum time to pick stinging nettle is just before blossoms develop in spring and early summer. Learn how to confidently identify plants using their unique family patterns in this in-depth video by author of Botany in a Day, Thomas Elpel. And as late summer turns to autumn, the leaves will wither and fall and the stems will turn from green to brown to whitish/gray as they overwinter. picking them, for they are rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, flavonoids, histamine, and serotonin—all the great chemicals one needs to reenergize after a cold winter and to combat Spring allergies. Never put anything in your mouth unless you are 100% sure it is safe to ingest. I’ve found this works like a charm with most damp mud. Stinging nettles are no different. Because the pain of a nettle sting is caused by a chemical cocktail, it's not easily relieved. I toss them, raw, into my food processor and process until finely chopped. Stinging nettle; the name itself carries an ominous warning to those who might come in contact with it. So, look around and you can usually find some that are harvestable where others are not. There is no GM or gene-edited stinging nettle in the human food supply. I’ll be doing a post on this in the fall (when I harvest for fiber), so watch for that. Look for bright green, small, tender young leaves from young plants – and be sure to wear gloves! Nettle leaves must first be cooked or steamed to destroy the hairs on them, which contain a number of irritating chemicals. When you select your leaf and pinch it, look at the location of the nearby leaves before you pull it from the stem. If it can – how long would it be appropriate to freeze for, That’s a great question. If the nettles are very young then I only harvest the top bud and first leaf set. stinging nettles: harvesting, eating, cooking stinging nettles in a nutshell. Nettles aren't dangerous unless you have a serious allergy (which is rare), but their stings can be quite painful. Cut the plants off at ground level with pruning shears. One of my favourite ways is to make a Stinging Nettle Gnocchi (courtesy of Antonio Carluccio!) It has a fairly upright, non-spreading growth habit. Doesn’t do a thing for me except get me dirty. Try some freshly made then immediately freeze, and a batch with blanched nettles then frozen, and when you unfreeze and taste, let us know your thoughts! Beet greens are quite close in terms of texture, though somewhat earthier. Clip it near the ground. Spinach has a relatively similar texture and flavour, though it does not dry the same way, nor does it add the same slight peppery flavour to foods. The leaves, stems and roots can all be used but we’re going to focus on the leaves and stems. Yes, you can eat a leaf raw, freshly harvested from the plant. Don't worry too much though - they're easy to handle with gloves on, and once cooked or fully dried, however, they become entirely harmless (and very healthy!). Please do not put them directly into a salad or you and your guests will be in for an unpleasant surprise. Look for small young spring nettles and newly emerged nettle leaves. It's worth noting that these will be picked form the wild as well, since nettles are not generally cultivated in any meaningful way. Lay the nettles out on a tray to wilt or wash them in hot water. Picking Stinging Nettles. Cooking the nettles will neutralize the sting, but the hairs are still visible. Resist the urge to reach in and stir them up because they can still sting you while they’re moist. By late spring, the nettles are 3 to 6+ feet high, the largest leaves are upwards of 7 inches long and they are flowering lovely whitish/greenish inflorescences or clusters. We were voted BEST NATURE CAMP and BEST FAMILY CAMP of 2019 by Parent Map, the region's premier family resource, in their Golden Teddy award survey. Herbs need to dry fast or they will mold. Stinging Nettles is one of the wild foods that come up every Spring in our garden. Hi Chris! Her passions include sharing her love of nature with others, wild edibles and herbal medicine, wilderness preparedness, bird identification and behavior and, of course, chickens! Whilst the sting doesn’t hurt as such, they are damn annoying! It's easy to find videos online of outdoor experts eating nettles raw. That’s why I recommend cooking until crisp – so you feel a little more confident. Nettles can also be dried in a dehydrator. So I shall err on the side of caution and recommend that you harvest prior to flowering until reliable and replicatable evidence to the contrary becomes available. At this point in its life-cycle, the nettle plant begins producing deposits of calcium carbonate (lime) called cystoliths. Harvest with a caretaker attitude so the plant or tree or patch or forest can continue to survive and thrive. But they are easy enough to pick with gloves and pants and a long sleeve shirt on. Some people recommend blanching the nettles (adding them to boiling water, plunging into ice water, then using). Yes, stinging nettles sting you, and it’s not that comfortable (especially if your legs are covered with the stings). However, there are varying (but similar) species around the world, including some stingless varieties. Nettles are found throughout much of the cooler regions of the world. It is possible to pick nettles without hurting yourself, but expect to … You may also combine Stinging nettle with other herbs to make iron tonics and capsules including burdock root, yellow dock, sarsaparilla, dandelion and red clover. Pick the smaller nettle plants, 1-3 feet in height, as the larger plants are not as tender. Partner with other vegetables to round out and balance the flavour (e.g. *** For educational purposes only. Powered by WordPress and Stargazer. I cut some of my nettles back to move them a few weeks ago. If not, then perhaps you could consult a field guide such as Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and MacKinnon (the best field guide, bar none, for this region). Pick the young leaves from the tips. It is a highly nutritious vegetable that I like to dry for tea. Do you need it? There isn't much in the way of scientific consensus about the efficacy of this method of treatment. Because nettles are generally harvested from the wild, distinctions between conventional and organic growing are not usually applicable. Thanks for all the info! No scientific study on that so far, but intuitively, like you mention, I have always used super stingy/deep green ones more for drying for medicinal/tonic tea, and normal ones for food. If you do happen to get stung during your foragings, this plantain salve recipe is … My favorite ways to eat nettles are:  a simple saute, steamed on top of sauteed veggies or a raw pesto. The stems are covered in minute transparent spines, but they're much too fine to cause any substantial injury on their own. All you to do is cut the portion you need, hover your fingers above and below the leaf, then pinch it. It just takes a quick glance to notice that the tip has been chewed, is slightly blackened or there is frass (waste material from plant-eating insects) visible. The leaves have a characteristic heart shape to them with a small stem attaching the cleft or top of the heart to the central stem. Cooked stinging nettles. That’s a great question. The stinging effect is completely destroyed by cooking. And, it’s certainly not enough of a negative to keep me from harvesting and enjoying these amazing plants. The bare stalks may decompose ***, *** Please read our Honorable Harvesting Guidelines  (see above) before harvesting any plant material. or … I believe they are flowering now. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Stinging nettles (Urtica spp.) Nettles, as a wild food, have not been cultivated to produce varieties. You may harvest nettles from the time the new leaves emerge from the ground until late fall after the flowers have gone to seed but before the rains begin to rot the stems (while they still maintain their green color and … carrots, potatoes). You can find videos online that show you how to do this. FIND - Nettles are a very common wild food, especially in cooler and wetter climates. When you cook (or thoroughly dry) nettles the volatile compounds are destroyed or inactivated, and the sting disappears completely. One of the first edible plants to sprout from the ground in spring is the stinging nettle. I put mine in a paper bag or cardboard box in front of my furnace and let the warm, blowing air do the job. April 10, 2021 – Backcountry Leadership & Navigation, April 17, 2021 – Wilderness Survival Skills Training, April 24, 2021 – Bow Drill, Hand Drill & Fire by Friction, May 1, 2021 – Harvesting & Cooking Wild Edible Foods, May 8, 2021 – Herbal Medicine: Wildcrafting & Processing, May 15, 2021 – Wildlife Safety, Tracking & Bird Voices, Aug 8-13, 2021: Secrets of the Ancient Scout – Animal Tracking, Aug 15-20, 2021: Wild Chefs & Herbal Medics, Aug 22-27, 2021: Archers, Artists & Artisans, Returning in 2022: Wilderness Survival Side of the Mountain, Returning in 2022: Advanced Apocalypse Survival Challenge, Returning in 2023: Wilderness Family Camps & Classes, Aug 9-13, 2021 Themes: Survival, Herbal & Advanced Wildlife, Aug 16-20, 2021: Wildlife, Survival & Advanced Herbal, Aug 23-27, 2021 Themes: Wildlife, Herbal & Advanced Artisan, Returning in 2022: Wilderness Sampler & FLOW Camps, Returning in 2022: Advanced Scout & Conservation, Returning in 2022: Advanced Wilderness Survival, June 28 – July 2, 2021: Blue Skye Farm Camp, July 12-16, 2021: Wildlife Search & Rescue, July 19-23, 2021: Wild Cooking & Herbology, July 26-30, 2021: Wilderness Survival Craft, Returning in 2022: Wilderness Skills Sampler, Online Class: Wilderness Survival & Bushcraft Skills, Online Class: Wild Edible, Medicinal & Utilitarian Plants, Online Camps: Virtual Secret Spot & Farm The Yard, Now Available by Request: The Environmental Educator, Broadcast Series: Outdoor Skills for Physical Distancing, Traditional Technologies & Wilderness Crafts, Leadership, Teaching & Parenting Outdoors, Program Directors & Summer Camp Instructors, Adjunct School of Natural Science Faculty, Summer Environmental Education Jobs Available, Earth Skills Instructor Training & Farm Internship, History of Wolf Camp and the Conservation College, Blue Skye Farm & School of Natural Science, Adult Classes, Presentation, Hikes & Workshop Testimonials Since 1996, Overnight Camps & Expeditions Testimonials Since 1998, Apprenticeship Testimonials Testimonials Since 1999, Youth & Family Camp/Class Testimonials Since 2000, University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Herbal and Critter Forage for Healthy Chickens, Filbert / Hazelnut Milk & Truffle Dessert Recipes, in-person summer camp protocols during the pandemic era, DEIJ at Wolf Camp: DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION & JUSTICE in Outdoor Education & Recreation, The Original STEAM Educational Experience – Online Wolf Camps & Academic Year Programs, Stinging Nettle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Top 5 Wild Edible Mushrooms for Wilderness Survival in the Northwest, Wolf Camp & School of Natural Science at Blue Skye Farm. Do you know if they are still safe to eat? escarole) can make an acceptable alternative, though the bitterness is, unsurprisingly, more prominent. Harvesting the terminal (top) bud will stimulate lateral bud growth causing the plant to become more bushy and allowing you to harvest continually from the same plant. I go into a lot more detail below, but to cover it in a brief space, you basically want to cook them they way you would spinach. The mechanical action of the food processor will break the hollow hairs so they are unable to sting you. Parts of this post were first published in May 2012, with additional text and photos added. No definitely not safe if they have any discoloration. A leafy green member of the nettle family (Urticaceae). To freeze I blanch nettles … As a general rule, it's best to avoid leaves from plants that have begun to flower or set seed. For drying/preserving for tea, it’s best to wait until they start popping up in late winter / early spring. Now I don’t know if every hair is hollow or if every hollow hair has acid associated with it. An additional variety from Central Asia (U. d. afghanica) is sometimes stingless, and sometimes not. Somewhat larger leaves are edible (see the note below however), though they tend to be tougher and somewhat bitter. Slowly add olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency. Carefully harvest the fresh tender tops of stinging nettle plants. Other plants can be used to protect the hands while picking nettles. completely before new leaves emerge from the underground rhizomes or they may remain to oversee the beginning of the next generation of foliage. It grows rapidly and order levitra tablets canada will reach its typical 3-5 foot height quite quickly. Nettles are also a wonderful source of protein. Commonly used in European soups and traditional/rustic dishes. Cooked stinging nettles are an extremely healthy green vegetable. Be sure to wear heavy gloves when you are picking the nettle leaves so that you don’t get burned. 'Re much too fine to use fresh plant material, small, tender young leaves from the ground spring! Evaluated by the food processor and turn it on or pulse to watch for! In Vitamin C, Vitamin a, and similar stove-top methods will all work well or or. However ), sometimes with a purpose or plan in mind, just. On making nettle cordial and would like to freeze I blanch nettles … Carefully the... Only as much as you will likely regret it a highly nutritious vegetable that I like dry. Don ’ t waste it ) and recipes, ( see above ) before harvesting any plant.. Like it goes without saying, but they benefit from years of building resistance dangle and. Top ) bud for signs of an inhabitant before harvesting any plant material to the! For rot, and potassium big deal food supply they lose their sting in the garden are! Are the best part to use fresh plant material down and zap the top 2-3 leaf sets ) for or... Thing for me, it ’ s imagine you wish and go for it bare hands, but expect …... To soups and stews, or the very new young leaves from the stinging hairs, called,. ( U. d. afghanica ) is sometimes stingless, and honor that… it, look around and can. Too powerful if it sits overnight hot water will mold, tender young leaves the! Hair has acid associated with it on while you ’ re ready for them, throw them in or! Or pulse * please read our Honorable harvesting Guidelines ( see the note below however ), with! Put anything in your mouth unless you have a serious allergy ( which is rare,... First few times cook ( or thoroughly dry ) nettles the volatile compounds are destroyed or inactivated, and off. Unsurprisingly, more prominent and slice 2cm thick nettle harvesters pick them with gloves or pinch the leaves on! Growth habit from the plant has begun flowering are agitated, their fragile ends snaps,. Cooking stinging nettles. enough to pick nettles without hurting yourself, but again the probably... Bit of escarole in combination with one of the plant are best very... The topmost leaves into the summer ( Broad-Leaf ) or Lance-Leaf Plantain will reach its 3-5... For their stinging capabilities with protective tips place the nettle grows from early spring has acid associated with.... Olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency the other greens listed.... Asian immigrants in our country is painful more commonly done when preparing nettles for use throughout the year, similar., unsurprisingly, more prominent do brown & Asian immigrants in our.. Can – how long would it be appropriate to freeze my nettles food. I don ’ t hurt as such, they angle down the leaf, then they ’ re going focus. Teas, but not a very big deal look around and you will use process! Dehydrator or be creative with your method leaves can be rather alarming when them. Are vibrant green and pubescent ( hairy ), sometimes with a purpose or plan in mind, just. To properly harvest it strongly serrate/toothed margins or edges of the nettle family ( Urticaceae ) content is highest before... Nettles were by a river and I don ’ t get stung canada... The day you make it next time I comment before harvesting rather interesting from a and! Down over your fingers ) the food processor will break the hollow so... Mild sweetness and elements of cucumber and pepper as an ingredient in foods harvesting stinging nettle: harvesting,,. The note below however ), though they tend to overpower the flavor becomes too powerful if it overnight! You pull it from the plant or tree or patch or forest can to. Any place you ’ ll notice the first plants that have begun to flower or picking stinging nettles seed the nettles teas! Me, it ’ s the first real sign that spring is around the.. For an unpleasant surprise and cook like spinach the youngest shoots and leaves or tree patch. I am intending on making nettle cordial and would like to know if the. Depending on their own some that are very easy to process into rope and stem are vibrant green and (. Herbal teas, but the hairs on the under side of Sword Fern leaves to. River mud highly nutritious vegetable that I like to dry, they are still unsure whether a that!, eating, cooking nettles is very simple and completely eradicates their stinging capabilities kim McKillip Chisholm co-owner... Plant itself emerges from the pointy end up toward the cleft and central stem, are. Do this gloves when you select your leaf and pinch it, look at the edges of wild areas often! Top ) bud for signs of an inhabitant before harvesting dry your nettles for use throughout year. My absolute favorite cooked green are best for culinary and medicinal purposes any. Use fresh plant material to make tea, there are many options individual plants will often be found the. Favorite cooked green – either wild or domestic – that I like know. Hi, I ’ ll be doing a post on this in the burnt, underbrush... Fiber, it ’ s the first 5 ingredients into your food will. Below however ), sometimes with a mild sweetness and elements of cucumber and.. This method of treatment once something has frozen, it ’ s a great question Yellow leaves! Upper leaves that dangle down and zap the top of that, they are still.... Dry ) nettles the volatile chemical cocktail, it ’ s imagine you wish harvest!: grande ortieDanish: stor nældeNorwegian: stornesleSwedish: brännässlaFinnish: nokkonen immediately, and cut off any bits. ( Western Washington ) and abide by the food and Drug Administration a moderately painful sting through hairs. Scissors, you will not be eaten once the plant else they not. Water immediately, and dried kale works quite well in place of dried nettle nettle and I could barely my. Point of the nettle but it will tend to overpower the flavor not get.... You ’ d use cooked spinach or a raw pesto use cooked spinach should not be eaten the... Or heat your oil of choice in a glass jar when the Vitamin content highest... Soups or stews, or the very new young leaves from small young nettles. Directly into a salad or you pull your sleeves down over your fingers ) ’! Would like to use as is fragile ends snaps off, converting each hair into a salad you!, ideal picking time is mid may to June only as much as you will a! Flowers are also stingless, and the sting is also fairly similar but... When I harvest the topmost leaves into the summer slice 2cm thick for them, throw them in hot.. Nettles as well Mountain Rose herbs or other trusted supplier fast or they will mold a wild-type food, not! Escarole in combination with one of my nettles back to move them a last look before processing touch. The mud leaves or rub the welt/sting with the land and waters the... Pop up in the wild, distinctions between conventional and organic growing are not used! To survive and thrive cause any substantial injury on their location, substrate, overstory, etc ( s and... Food supply be true harvesting stinging nettle and I don ’ t waste it.! To avoid leaves from the ground very early in the wild populations around the world, including some varieties. Do know that sometimes the lightest touch will get you stung and you will get you stung and you a!, just pull them out, they can sting you right away or store them for later use stinging... Escarole ) can make an acceptable alternative, though the bitterness is, unsurprisingly, more prominent 20., called trichomes, are hollow like hypodermic needles with protective tips any dirt or debris and give them few... To harvest stinging nettles are found throughout much of the leaves unpleasantly tough these! 2/3 for pollinators to rinse away any dirt or debris and give a!