The nettle has been growing for about a month and I have several plots to harvest for tea, soup and drying. I remember reading years ago that the best time to harvest is around 10 or 11 am. At that time the sun has dried the dew and the plants are rich with vitality.
I most often cut, bunch and hang herbs upside-down inside, but I'll be snipping and laying to dry the nettle, with gloves on to protect my hands from the spiny 'stingers'. Several years ago I found a hanging, enclosed 'Squid Drying rack' at an Asian Mart that is perfect for herbs! It has three different compartments and can hang neatly indoors or out. I just zip it closed to keep any insect marauders at bay.
Nettle was once a commonly used fiber source by Native Americans, who utilized the inside pith of the nettle stem as a fiber, much like flax is used for linen. Rich in chlorophyll, it is also known as an excellent natural dye plant and was used in WWII as a camouflage paint. Nettle is also loaded with vitamins A and C, contains an abundance of calcium and vitamin D and is an excellent blood purifier. There are many reasons why the Lord blesses us with it so early in the new year and why many herald it as THE spring tonic! I've also learned He wisely clusters other plants within the proximity of nettle that easily alleviate the sting of those prickles. Otherwise, a quick slug smear can also do the job!
I'll be putting some in my bone broth today! Yum!
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. Hebrews 6:7