Like Like. 3-Wear proper nettle clothing if you don’t want to get “stung”. Wear thick gloves to pick and prepare them to avoid getting stung. All you need is a stout pair of gloves to pick them. A very common plant, the stinging nettle can be found growing in gardens, hedgerows, fields, woodlands and many other habitats. On the island of Timor in south east Asia, one species of nettle causes lockjaw and a painful burning sensation, both of which can last for days or weeks. Nettles grow in abundance everywhere in the UK, and are easily recognisable. The British nettle carries its stinging barbs on the stem and the underside of the leaf for protection from those animals that might eat or uproot it. Use rubber gloves or pinch the leaves hard, so you don’t get stung. They are best harvested green and when the threads that hold them droop towards the stem; they are ready. Collect them in a plastic shopping bag without squashing them down, and when the bag is full you will have enough for around 10-12 bottles of nettle beer. High in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and full of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, they are also a good source of protein. Common nettle flowers from May to September. Certain moths like nettles, as do many of the UK’s most colourful and best known butterflies, such as the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterflies. You can store fresh, washed nettles in the fridge for approx 3 days. It all depends upon your goal. While many green fingered folk see nettles as nothing more than weeds, they can actually provide gardeners with a vital tool to protect their plants. Thanks! Nettles are best when very tender, so pick in the spring when the nettles are just coming up or later in the season. The flowers on Stinging Nettles are like catkins; little tendrils of flowers dropping down from the stems, they tend to be green or yellowy-green in colour, so not always obvious to spot. The best time to harvest nettles is in late March and April. Once the nettles have been washed, pick the leaves off the stalk. If freezing nettles, it is best to blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and then plunge them into ice water for another couple of minutes. Within 10 days you’ll have a thick dark brown liquid – rich in nitrogen and smelling like a heap of manure. Stinging nettles taste similar to spinach and are very good for you – they have an unusually high protein content for a vegetable and are rich in vitamins A, C, D, iron, potassium and calcium. For best results choose them while they’re still quite small, around a foot tall, you will find the leaves are at their most tender then. 2) As the saying goes “Grasp the Nettle” firmly and cut off at the very base, close to the ground. Your email address will not be published. Web Development - Paddy Deakin. Make sure that your arms and legs are well-covered, including your wrists and ankles. At this time of year they may be very small, but this makes them easier to pick. You may know, that I rate Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) highly. Most people wear gloves to harvest nettles for obvious reasons, though I have been known to be too lazy for this – I quite like a little bit of a tingle in my fingers, but it’s easy to go too far and regret it later! By entering your details, you are agreeing to Countryfile.com terms and conditions & privacy policy. European herbalists used the leaves in a similar fashion to treat gout and arthritis. A nettle patch can be a valuable asset to any garden. Keep your eye out throughout … Nettles are used to coat Cornwall’s delicious Yarg cheese, and in Northumberland the leaves are ground and sprinkled amongst cheese during production by one cheese-maker. Start looking for fresh, new leaves from February. Quickly blanching them in a pot of boiling water will deaden the sting. It's Stinging Nettle season! Pick the top few leaves when the plant is of a good size, leaving the lower down ones alone. callback: cb ); You can consume them fresh or dried. Nettle seeds are found on the female nettle plant (distinguished from the males by the droopiness of their flowers and somewhat frosty appearance). 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. Young ladybirds live on nettles as they grow and develop, using their foliage to hide from predators. 2-Pick/cut the top 4-6 inches of the plant (this will be the tender part), and it will regrow and then you can harvest again. Remember not to pick them if they're flowering and head to shady spots where they will flower […], Your email address will not be published. Make this easy nettle soup recipe – perfect for a light lunch. Ladybirds are also attracted to the nettle in early spring to lay their eggs - the voracious larvae hatching to a juicy meal of nettle aphids. Elsewhere, a native species on the Indonesian island of Java produces similar, but more potent results that can last for months and have even caused the death of some of victims. Already have an account with us? It is worth making nettle beer (for a malted nettle beer recipe click here). This need not be a problem, nor a reason to avoid that particular patch, though it tends to signify that the plant is tired or stressed in some way, which can make the leaves a little bitter. Nettle aphids provide an early food source for woodland birds, such as the Great Tit and Blue Tit, which have learnt to exploit the garden habitat. It has been suggested that the term ‘nettle’ is derived from the Old English for needle – a reference to the stinging leaves. I believe they are one of our most nutritious greens in the UK alongside the goosefoot family which includes Fat Hen (Chenopodium album), Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus) and Oraches (Atriplex patula and Atriplex prostrata). ( include garlic and onion if you have only a few minutes hot! Bring to the skin 's surface, thus stimulating blood flow leaving the lower down ones alone not... Raw ( for obvious reasons ), stinging nettle or leaf nettle wash chop... 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