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Collecting nettles is carried out according to a number of instructions to avoid burns and minor injuries. The plant has many useful characteristics that are important in medicine, cooking and other areas of life. The plant can be stored for a long time so that it does not lose its medicinal qualities.
Nettle is a healthy herb that can be stored for years
Features of collecting nettles
Nettle is divided into stinging (annual) and dioecious (perennial). Both types are widely used as a dietary supplement and medicinally. Collecting nettles is carried out following a series of instructions. The plant has a huge amount of useful vitamins, acids, minerals, therefore it is widely used in cooking, both fresh and dried.
Medicinal properties are noted separately, and with them cosmetic ones. Nettle takes care of the skin, hair and joints. The vitamin charge is definitely good for your health. However, before using the plant daily for food and medicine, you should consult with your doctor.
Important! An Asian species called ramie nettle is not suitable for food, but it is used to make fabrics from which clothes are sewn.
Where can you collect nettles
The plant is distributed in the Caucasus, Western Siberia, in general, throughout the European part of the country. This representative of the flora prefers high humidity, rich, fertile soil, shady terrain. Nettles often have to be collected in forests, gardens, among artisanal thickets, there are many of them near residential settlements and along roads.
The collection of the plant is not carried out everywhere. Even if it grows in abundance along highways, you should not touch it, due to the presence of many harmful substances (road dust, exhaust gases absorbed by foliage). Do not collect nettles near industrial zones, manufacturing plants, sewers, as well as at city dumps, or in places with high radiation and unfavorable sanitary conditions.
Warning! The collection is best done in ecologically clean places.
Optimal harvest time for nettles
Collecting young nettles begins in the spring, in the month of May. For personal purposes (for food and medicine), fees end in July. It is often used as an additive for feed for domestic animals (chickens, livestock); for this, preference is given to more mature specimens, collecting them closer to August.
The collection of ground parts is done in the morning in dry weather, the roots can be dug out even in the rain.
A decoction of nettle root treats throat
Collect nettles for food. Usually, preparations are made from it for the winter in the form of a powder, but there are many recipes for its preparation fresh. For this, young foliage, shoots are collected, washed and immediately cooked. This option is suitable for soups, salads, omelets, it is added to cottage cheese, mixed with butter, etc. Immediately before adding to the dish, the foliage is scalded.
Medicinal plant raw materials are harvested from different parts of the nettle. Useful properties accumulate in all parts of the plant - foliage, stems, roots, buds, etc. At different stages of the life cycle, nettle has a different amount of medicinal substances. Their highest content occurs at the end of flowering, before flowers and foliage begin to bloom.
Thus, underground parts are harvested in autumn or early spring before sap flow begins. In this case, the roots are harvested precisely in the fall before the death of the aerial parts of the plant.
Foliage, flowers and shoots are filled with medicinal properties during flowering, when they are harvested, around June-August. To do this, cut the stem with a sickle, pruner or knife and leave it for several hours. Soon the foliage will stop burning, so you can cut off it and other parts.
Collecting nettles for drying begins in the month of May. Although a person may only need the leaves, it is best to cut them along with the stem. The flora must be examined so that the foliage is free of cobwebs, pollution (they can be from parasites), and also have no changes in color. Naturally, healthy, non-sluggish leaves are needed.
Attention! You should use scissors, knife, pruning shears to cut the stems.
They are collected in small bunches. After a few hours, the plant will stop burning, so you can safely separate the foliage and other parts. Drying is carried out in the air (bunches are suspended or foliage is laid out on fabric), in an oven, oven and in other ways.
Preference should be given to specimens with a powerful stem, even foliage without signs of disease and wilting. It is also worth choosing those options where there is a lot of large foliage.
Collect nettles according to the instructions.
If the roots are to be harvested, a spreading grass with wide leaves and a strong trunk implies a strong, healthy root. It can be dug out with an ordinary garden trowel (by immersing it in the ground 10-15 cm) in cloudy weather, since then root flushing follows.
Collecting nettles on leaves and other ground parts is carried out only in dry weather in the morning, when the dew dries up. It is recommended to use a sickle or knife to cut them from the stems. If you only need leaves, be sure to wear household gloves.
Nettle handling and storage
Harvesting of leaves and other parts of the nettle is stored for up to 2 years. However, the older it is, the less useful properties it has. The roots must be washed in cool (not hot!) Water, the stem is immediately separated. Other parts are separated from each other, they must be carefully examined and foreign samples, as well as unusable parts (sluggish, sick, etc.), must be excluded. The dried plant is crushed into powder and stored in dark glass jars, less often in fabric bags in a suspended state so that the nettle is ventilated.
Collecting nettles is not an easy process and requires caution due to the protective functions of the shrub. It is collected and stored for about 2 years, added to food and used for medicinal purposes. Nettle is one of the most useful representatives of flora that has a beneficial effect on the human body.