Wednesday, June 6, 2012

more nettle-ing







I think stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, is a most amazing plant. Food, medicine, and fiber -- three in one. Some of her primary medicinal uses are to relieve allergies, as a nutritive tonic, as a diuretic, and to relieve arthritis. She helps our hair and nails grow better and makes our blood vessels more elastic. She nourishes our adrenals. And her root treats prostrate problems. Having nettle as an ally has been worth every accidental sting and all the times dragging the hose over to water.

I carefully stripped the leaves off the 4' stalks of dried nettles for easier storage. The less the leaves are broken up, the better they hold their nutritive qualities, so the half-gallon jars have whole leaves and the quart jar has just enough ground leaves for immediate use. To get the finer consistency, I put them in a plastic bag and kneaded it a little. The labels are once again a recycled page from an old gardening book. The nettles will be good for a least one year if stored in a dark, cool place.

At just under a half-pound, this is about a quarter of the amount I normally use in a year's time but more is already drying behind the tablecloth curtain. As long as I can hold off the plants from budding and the aphids, I can continue to harvest. I usually have to buy it, but maybe-just-maybe this year I won't.

There's fiber to be had in the stalks but I'll put them in the compost or dry them for a campfire in the backyard.

The first dried nettle infusion of the year from our little nettle patch and a bit of experimental stitching on the moon cloth. I love summer.

I hope you're having a wonderful week!

14 comments:

Trish said...

Mmmm wonderful nettles. I love summer too!
Much love Trish
p.s A leaf shawl is a great idea.

woman with wings said...

Thanks, Trish -- I was thinking of maybe taking a shawl I already have and stitching leaves all over it...? Love back.

Nanette said...

A leaf shawl would be wonderful, I know a couple of places that have patterns for little knitted leaves, shout out if you'd like links. I do like all your nettle growing, drying and storing. In answer to your question on my blog about what can I grow here in winter, almost anything except thos veg that need hot weather, eggplant, capsicum etc. I have broccoli, asian greens, lots of lettuce and silver beet, onions, garlic, beans,peas and tomatoes planted. It's sub tropical here, so although chilly nights, mostly low to mid 20 days (68-70). Lovely place to be! Enjoy your nettling.

ali said...

This is great information, thanks. I love summer, too!

Mugdha said...

And not to forget you can also dye with them! so versatile.... I recently heard nettles make a good mordant. yet to experiment with it.
Thats really clever how you've dried and stored them.

woman with wings said...

Nanette, I would love some leaf links! I'll come visit you at your blog now in case you don't get back here.

You have perfect winter weather. Your winter plantings sound like our spring plantings, autumn here isn't usually long enough to grow things out. See you!

woman with wings said...

Ali, thanks -- we had hail and rain last night that went on and on and on. Today it's sort of cold, wonder where that summer went? ;-)

woman with wings said...

Mugdha, thank you -- when the plants start budding and the aphids move in, I'll try more dyeing with them. I made a bundle a while back but it wasn't very successful. Sort of stingy with dyeing materials if I can eat them or make medicine with them! ;-) I'd love to know more about both dyeing and mordanting with nettle, hope you'll post about it?!

Dee said...

what an informative post! makes me want to tuck some nettle somewhere in my garden!

woman with wings said...

Dee, oh I highly recommend it!

Drucilla Pettibone said...

i'd like to try growing some nettle too. i've long wanted to spin it!

Notjustnat said...

I wish I can find more nettle around us. I dyed with them once and the result was stunning. Thanks for and informative post - Hugs Nat

woman with wings said...

Dru, I'd love it if you grew it and spun it and sold it!!! I'd be your first customer.

woman with wings said...

Nat, it likes it moist -- I have to baby it here if we don't have a wet spring. I'd love to know how you dyed with it? In a bundle or a dye-bath?