Nettles - how young is young?

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magnuscanis
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Nettles - how young is young?

Post: # 59032Post magnuscanis
Mon May 28, 2007 11:27 pm

I've read in several places (including selfsufficientish) that nettles picked for culinary purposes should be young.

My question is, how young?

In particular, would the top leaves of nettles at this time of year be suitable, or should I wait until next spring?

I have previously picked nettles and used them to make nettle tea, and put them in stir fries etc. It was several years ago and I think I went pretty early in the year. I seem to recall that I dried most of the leaves (or rather, left them in a box and they went pretty dry before I used most of them) and used them over the space of several months.

- Magnus

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Post: # 59034Post ohareward
Mon May 28, 2007 11:41 pm

Hi Magnus. From memory I think that nettles for salads need to be picked in the spring as they get bitter as the year goes by. There were some other postings on nettles.

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Post: # 59036Post possum
Mon May 28, 2007 11:50 pm

They should be picked before they flower

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Post: # 59037Post magnuscanis
Mon May 28, 2007 11:58 pm

ohareward wrote:Hi Magnus. From memory I think that nettles for salads need to be picked in the spring as they get bitter as the year goes by. There were some other postings on nettles.
Thanks.

I did a search for other posts about nettles, but couldn't find anything which directly answered my question (although I may have just missed it).

Could nettles for tea etc. be used a bit older than ones for salad? Perhaps the best thing to do is to try picking some nettles now (well, not right now as it's the middle of the night) and see if they work ok. I guess they are unlikely to be toxic even if they are less pleasant than younger leaves.

- Magnus

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Post: # 59041Post possum
Tue May 29, 2007 1:49 am

magnuscanis wrote:
Could nettles for tea etc. be used a bit older than ones for salad? Perhaps the best thing to do is to try picking some nettles now (well, not right now as it's the middle of the night) .
Why not now, take out a candle holder or two, draw a pentagram and really get your neighbours worried :cooldude:

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Post: # 59062Post PaulDavidSumner
Tue May 29, 2007 7:35 am

Now is 'growing season', so it's as good a time to harvest nettle tops as any. The fresher and greener they look, the better. Early in spring I included nettle tops that weren't so new-looking in a soup with no noticeable problems.

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Post: # 59142Post PaulDavidSumner
Tue May 29, 2007 5:05 pm

it's as good a time to harvest nettle tops as any
Er, perhaps it's not. The ones in my garden are still fresh and green at the top, but when walking back from the shops today I noticed the wild nettles are flowering left right and centre. Personally I would still not hesitate to use them in my own soups, the worst I figure can happen is they don't taste quite as good as 6 weeks ago. At the end of the day, nettles aren't exactly the world's most mouth-watering vegetable anyway...

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Post: # 59191Post Dave
Tue May 29, 2007 10:04 pm

The problem with the older leaves is that they can taste gritty, top four leaves should be fine all year round or young plant refers to when they are less than about 5in tall. Bit worried about one of the posts here
Could nettles for tea etc. be used a bit older than ones for salad?

Nettle salad!??!! Rather you than me, nettles of any age can be used for nettle tea, the sting goes when they are dried.

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Post: # 60273Post mybarnconversion
Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:32 pm

It's largely a matter of taste. I tend to pick over older, larger plants using the top-most youngest leaves for cooking with.

Don't forget to cut down established stands of nettles at this time of year and for another month or two and new, fresh plants will sprout.

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Post: # 60317Post magnuscanis
Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:53 pm

I went out the other day and gathered a bag full of nettle tops from a nearby hillside (I don't have any nettles growing in my garden, and have very little space to introduce any, but there are plenty growing wild in the vicinity - you just have to pick ones which are hopefully out of range of dogs and, in any case, rinse them carefully before use).

So far I've only got round to using a few in a stir fry, where they worked pretty well. I expect I'll use the bulk of them for nettle tea, but I'm inclined to try a few other things with them.

One idea that's just occurred to me is putting a few in a loaf of bread - I wonder if I should blanch them first, or if the baking would be sufficient to kill off any sting in them?

- Magnus

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Post: # 60714Post Silver Ether
Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:40 pm

bigger ones are fine if you cook them like spinich ...
I am sure folks wont mind if you chop a few down at the edge of a field to get little ones growing again .. :flower: shhhh thats what I do

Also Dead nettles are fine when they are larger if you cook them as spinich or like I do add them to other things to make wild pesto :flower:

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Post: # 61881Post mybarnconversion
Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:34 pm

Silver Ether wrote: Also Dead nettles are fine when they are larger if you cook them as spinich or like I do add them to other things to make wild pesto :flower:
...wild pesto...intriguing...what else do you put in it (just nettles & the usual pesto ingredients?) ??

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Post: # 61884Post Silver Ether
Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:00 pm

mybarnconversion wrote:
Silver Ether wrote: Also Dead nettles are fine when they are larger if you cook them as spinich or like I do add them to other things to make wild pesto :flower:
...wild pesto...intriguing...what else do you put in it (just nettles & the usual pesto ingredients?) ??
I have used combinations ... ransoms, dandyion leaves, mustard garlic ... and nettles

then olive oil and pine buts ... we have nut allergies so stay away from walnuts .. just blend the lot together ...

note to self must not come here when hungry ...
:wink:

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