An easy way to save and utilize springtime goodness all year long!
Decoctions are a relatively simple way to extract the healing and nourishing properties of an herb or plant for consumption. (Think tea.) Using herbs, it may take a bit longer to steep, but the idea is the same. Typically, in a decoction, all parts of the plant can be used...stems, bark, root....and they are simmered for a time, or allowed to steep. In this case, for nettles, I use the leaves, tops and stem. Just chop it up, throw it in a pot and simmer for 20 or so minutes. A bit more is ok, but don't boil. If you REALLY like nettles, infuse a tea by pouring boiling water over your nettles, cover and let sit overnight. Strain and drink your tea throughout the day. Your allergies just might go away.
Really it's that easy.
While that's simmering....prepare your tincture.
A tincture involved pulling the constituents from the herb via alcohol, vinegar or even glycerine. As my tinctures are for adult consumption and shelf longevity, I prefer using alcohol unless it is counter-intuitive to the plant material. Put a couple handfuls of chopped nettles in a mason jar, and cover with 80proof vodka. Usually a cup or so will do. Introduce your immersion blender.
Here's the hard part. After it's blended, allow it to sit for an hour, a day.. or a week. The alcohol is going to pull every last bit of nourishment from that wonderful plant. When you waited as long as you can, strain using a fine sieve. Save the bulk material and dehydrate. It makes a wonderful addition to any soup or smoothie!