Using of Stinging Nettle

Primary Uses:

  • Edible Leaves – used fresh and cooked briefly; leaves dry well and can be stored for later use
  • Tea Plant – fresh or dried leaves are used

Secondary Uses:

  • Dynamic Accumulator (Potassium, Calcium, Sulfur, Copper, Iron, and Sodium) – excellent addition to compost
  • Manure Tea Plant – high in Nitrogen
  • Lacewings prefer to lay eggs on Stinging Nettle leaves
  • Ladybugs prefer Stinging Nettle foliage
  • Fiber Plant – obtained from the stems. Makes a strong fiber similar to flax which can be used to make cloth similar to linen. The fiber can also be used to make paper
  • The seeds can be pressed to produce an oil that can be used in lamps
  • Dye (green) from the leaves and stems
  • Extensive medicinal use
  • Juice from the leaves have been used for hundreds of years to curdle milk for cheese making if rennet is not available
  • Drinks can be made from the young shoots – non-alcoholic drinks similar to ginger-beer and alcoholic drinks like beer and wine

Harvesting: Spring. Leaves are best when the plant is less than 3 feet tall, before flowering has occurred. Ideal is when they are under a foot tall. Use gloves to avoid the stinging hairs on the underside of the leaves and stems.
Storage: Can be dried and used as needed. Many people will just keep the fresh leaves in a brown paper bag, shaking occasionally, until dried.

An out of the way corner of a larger property is great for Stinging Nettle
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