I first discovered nettle seeds a few years ago and have been hooked ever since!
Nettle season is here now, the hedgerows and parks are full of nettles, with lush verdant tendrils of nettle seeds just ready for harvesting!
One of the many things I love about foraging is the fact that different plants are available throughout the year and that different parts of the plants can be harvested at different times.
Nettle is one of those plants! Lush new growth in the spring is perfect for pestos, teas and tinctures, with the vibrancy of spring and its cleansing properties after a long winter.
In late summer, the leaves tend to be tougher, but that's when the seeds appear and nettle seeds have more benefits than the leaves!
Nettle seeds will give you an energy boost like nothing else! If you have lost your zest for life, feeling run down, tired all the time and fed up, then you need nettle seeds!
I have first hand experience of eating 2 teaspoons of fresh nettle seeds and literally buzzing about like a blue arsed fly, being super productive, doing everything on my to do list and loads more, but the downside was I was still awake at 1am!!
So be warned, nettle seeds are potent, especially the fresh seeds, so go easy! The good news is that dried nettle seeds have the same effect but in a gentler way so shouldn't keep you awake at night!
So the benefits are many, nettle seeds support the adrenals, liver, and kidney function. They strengthen skin, hair and nails, are packed with iron, vit C, essential fatty acids, strengthen the blood and are excellent for anaemia. They are incredibly nutrient dense and contain a wide array of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols!
So to state the obvious, nettles are jaggy, they will sting you, so wear gloves when you collect them and take a pair of scissors. It's easier just to cut the nettles and then remove the seeds when you get home.
An interesting fact, there are male and female nettle plants! The seeds grow on the female plants, you are looking for vibrant green tendrils, like my photo. Some nettle seeds are pale and pathetic so don't pick those ones!
When you come home with your bag full of nettles, spread them out and leave them for a few hours for any wee bugs to escape.
Then wearing your gloves, use a pair of scissors to snip the seeds into a bowl, see my photo!
Put the stalks and leaves in your compost bin.
Now you have to dry them. I use my dehydrator set at 40C, and it takes approximately 15 hours.
You can also just dry them in your oven overnight with just the pilot light on or spread them out in a sunny windowsill.
It is essential to make sure they are completely dry before you store them or they will be susceptible to mould.
Then put the seeds into a sieve over a large bowl and literally scrunch them, the seeds will fall through into the bowl and the fibrous stuff will be left in the sieve.
Then just shake the sieve to make sure you have all the precious seeds.
Store in a jar and use them liberally in salads, soups, smoothies and breads!
You can also lightly toast the seeds and use them like poppy seeds.
I make a killer seasoning with mine which I will share in a separate post!
So what are you waiting for, go and find your gardening gloves, a pair of scissors and a bag, and go find some nettle seeds! The fresh air and exercise will benefit body and soul. Connecting with nature is one of life's simple pleasures and foraging is just the best fun, food for free, and the best food, not sprayed with pesticides, just growing wild as nature intended!
What's not to love....?
🍃 Health educator🍃