Nettle as Food, nourishes us through the transition from Winter to Spring. Nettle gives us a much needed burst of energy to Spring into Action, to Dance in the Rain, to Plant Seeds and write Love Letters to our Plant Kin. Nettle may seem bristley and harsh, but once you get to know her, she may teach you her gentle & nourishing ways.
When harvesting Nettle, there are a few things to consider...
Location- Is the patch clear and away from roadways and industrial sites? Look at the plant and check into the qualities of her growth, does she look vibrant or sad and curled?
Age of Plant- Harvest prior to the showing of flower buds (this is my method) as I have learned that the plant doesn't want to be eaten between flower and seed (I kind of understand why- She is putting her energies into Her future) as the leaves may irritate the liver/kidneys/bladder.
Ethical Harvest: If you happen upon a few, let them be. If you happen upon a large stand, ask the plant first- take your time and lean in to listen for an answer (If she says "no" could be for good reason) If you feel a "yes" - give your thanks by way of a song or prayer, poem, tobacco or a like-offering and harvest so that you leave more than you receive. Walk lightly in the stand as her tubers are shallow and running in soft soils is her way. Harvest into a basket, paper bag, glass bowl, box...etc I have gathered that she does not like black plastic bags, does not prefer plastic much at all. Harvest what you will use and tend to her right after the harvest (so give yourself that time to fuss over her!) :)
For more tips on Harvesting: Please see my previous post The Spring of Nettle
The recipes following are of my own crafting, so please, if you share do give credit to me, Linda at The Nourishing Hearth. Thanks so much! I do hope you enjoy!