Spring is here!

Spring is a wonderful time to be collecting herbs. I have been very jealous of my friends and colleagues that have been posting about collecting all the spring tonic herbs now for weeks. Up here in Daviot, just south of Inverness (at 170m/600feet in height) everything has taken much longer to poke its its nose tentatively about ground and sprout. Poor potatoes got frost blackened last week and the beans are a gonner! We are also in a dip here which seems to create a bit of a frost pocket. First year in a new area is always a learning curve
But at long last the nettles are up, along with Cleavers, or to give them their proper Scottish name, Sticky Willies. Both are lovely spring tonics. Sticky Willies are lymphatic herbs so they help to get everything circulating after the winter. Nettles are full of minerals and iron, just what the body needs after a winter indoors.
I collected a small bag of nettles today. Just the tops, that’s the best bit. About half will go in a veggie soup and I’ll dry the other half for tea. I’ll wait till the Sticky Willies are a wee bit bigger then collect a bagful and tincture them for use throughout the year.

Nettles and Sticky Willies growing together

Todays harvest. I don’t have any nettles in the garden, these came from the edge of a nearby field. The stems with roots will be planted in the edge of the garden and next year I will have a really easy supply.

Just use the tops, not the whole plant

Carrots, onions and veggie stock. Then just put in a couple of handfuls of nettle tops. They wilt quickly and lose their sting when cooked