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Picking nettle seed.

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It's not difficult, but ...

I'm self-taught in the use of nettle seed (Urtica dioica). Or book-taught. That is, nobody showed me what picked nettle seed should look like, or when you should pick them, or anything such.

Photo: Urtica dioica 20. Pic: Nettle seed, ripe for picking.
The first time I picked nettle seed I waited until they were ready for picking (green, heavy with seed, hanging down the stems) and milked the plants (using gloves - stinging nettles sting). Wow, thought I, while pulling off handsful of seed in one of my best nettle spots, this is really easy - my basket is full in no time at all!

Once I got home with my take I put down a layer of newspapers and put a clean old bedsheet on top of that. Then I upended my basket and spread the nettle seeds on that (still using gloves). It was a rather thick layer - it was a big basket.

One step back, survey your take -- umm, that's moving rather a lot. Well, it'll calm down.

Next day, mix the seeds so those on the bottom are now on top (still using gloves), it's still moving. Urk. Well, it'll calm down.

It was still moving after a week, at which point I took the corners of the sheet, brought the mess outdoors and dumped it at the edge of the forest.

Yech. I like my proteins, but not in that form.

Photo: Urtica dioica 23. Pic: Nettle seed stalks, hung up in bundles to dry.
These days, when picking nettle seed, I pick stalks in seed. Those I bundle, two bundles to each piece of string, and hang them up to dry. That way, all the extra proteins, nevermind 6, 8 or no legs, can escape - downwards.

After the stalks are bone dry (they don't bend but break) I take them down, put them onto a large sheet in the middle of the floor, and pull the seeds off the stalks, stalk by stalk, bottom to top, still using gloves.

Related entry: Nettle seed - Nettle greens - Nettle seed from Finland - Celeriac nettle soup

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