Welcome to the next installment in our nettle-along. This is mostly just a reminder, as I haven’t had the time or head for more research yet. Anyone else find interesting information they’d like to share?
MotherOwl beat me to it and wrote a nettle post yesterday.
I’m going to harvest my next batch one of these days if it will stop raining at odd times. The previous bundle is well dried by now, at least they look so.
Most sources quote August to be the optimal beginning of the harvest, but some say midsummer, so I’ve decided to use mid-July and mid-August for my experiments, possibly getting a batch in winter, which then means it will have been retted by nature and ready to process. The fibres will also be thicker and coarser then, so take your pick!
Since this study will run for at least a year due to processing, there’s plenty of time for those of you down under to harvest your own about 6 months from now or whenever appropriate in your climate.
If you leave the stalks to dry for a day after picking, you can remove the leaves without gloves quite easily. ETA: Thisproved to be completely untrue for my nettles. top layer in the wheelbarrow, fine, about 20 stalks down, OUCH.
Be sure to dry in conditions with good circulation, not bundles together too tight either, or the stalks will mold and break down the fibres instead of the pectin.
The question remains whether to process them this year, wait till spring, or both. Traditionally or try some boiling?
I hope to catch up soon with a few more stories and facts instead of guesswork.