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How to Dry Stinging Nettles

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How to Dry Stinging Nettles

How to Dry Stinging Nettles. Dry nettles are commonly used for teas, stirred into soups, mixed into eggs or crumbled over salads. While the dried plants don’t pose any harm, the fresh plant has a natural defense mechanism in the hundreds of tiny hairs that line the stem and leaves. These hairs can cause a painful sting when touched or brushed...

Dry nettles are commonly used for teas, stirred into soups, mixed into eggs or crumbled over salads. While the dried plants donít pose any harm, the fresh plant has a natural defense mechanism in the hundreds of tiny hairs that line the stem and leaves. These hairs can cause a painful sting when touched or brushed up against, so itís important to be careful when processing nettles for drying. Using gloves and wearing a long sleeve shirt will be sufficient protection.
Things You'll Need
Gardening gloves
Long-sleeved shirt
Harvesting basket or bag
Drying rack or cookie sheet
Airtight container
Pick nettles during the early part of the season, generally in April or May. You want to harvest them while they are young and definitely before flowering.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt and gardening gloves. Break the top four to six inches off of the plant above or below a leaf bract and place in a harvesting basket or bag.
Lay the harvested plants out on a drying rack or a cookie sheet. Keep them separated so they dry evenly. You can keep the leaves on the stems or remove them if you like.
Keep the drying rack in a warm part of the house near a radiator or stove. If itís a warm, sunny day, you can dry them in the sun but you may need to create a windbreak to keep the plants from blowing away.
Turn the plants occasionally for even drying.
Dry the nettles for at least 12 hours; this should be enough time in a warm, dry environment. You can wait a full 24 hours to be absolutely sure the entire sting is gone.
Crumble the dried leaves, chop the dried stems and place in an airtight container for future use.

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