Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

For many people today, stinging nettles are a weed that punishes the careless with an itchy rash. However, plants can do much more. The nettle seeds in particular have it all. The small aroma bombs are extremely healthy for the body and can be harvested, eaten fresh and used or dried without any problems. What is important is the harvest time and how the seeds are collected so that you don't end up covered in blisters.

harvest time

The timing of harvesting nettle seeds is highly dependent on the type of nettle being collected. Four species can be found in Germany, which produce different yields and can be found in different regions:

  • Large nettle (bot. Urtica dioica): large yields, found all over Germany
  • Small nettle (bot. Urtica urens): low yields, found everywhere in Germany
  • Reed nettle (bot. Urtica kioviensis): large yields, only found in the Havel catchment area
  • Pill nettle (bot. Urtica pilulifera): low yields, extremely rare

As you can see, the most worthwhile thing is to collect the seeds of the common nettle. This really occurs everywhere in Germany and grows without any problems, even in difficult places. If you live on the Havel, you should definitely collect the seeds of the reed nettle, as they have a different aroma than that of the common nettle.

The time of harvest differs significantly from species to species, but you will be most interested in the harvest time of the nettle due to the high harvest yields:

  • Flowering period: July to October
  • first panicles of seeds: mid to late August
  • ripen by mid-October
  • ripen in warmer regions by the first week of November

Small nettles can be harvested from mid-August to early October, reed nettles from late August to mid-October and pill nettles, if you can find any, at the same time as the large nettle. This gives you a long harvesting period.

tip: If you do not live in Germany or Central Europe, but for example on the Mediterranean, there are numerous other types of nettles that you can harvest. One of the most common species is the stinging nettle (bot. Urtica membranacea), the seeds of which have been used in Greece and Egypt as a natural remedy for chest ailments.

Collect nettle seeds

Harvesting nettle seeds is easier and less dangerous than you might think. The only thing you need for this are the right clothes and utensils:

  • long trousers
  • Tops or jackets with long sleeves
  • sturdy shoes
  • gloves
  • scissors
  • Container for transporting the seeds

Gardening gloves are great for nettle seed harvesting. When choosing clothing, make sure that it completely covers your skin and cannot simply be pushed up. Some nettle stalks are very firm and can push clothing up. The scissors should be large enough as some of the stems are very thick. Plastic bags, for example, work very well as collection containers. Proceed as follows when harvesting:


1. Choose which seeds to harvest. Immature seeds are green and used fresh, while the brown, mature seeds are ideal for drying. These have the popular, nutty aroma. Don't worry, immature seeds are non-toxic and safe to use.

2. Pick a day to harvest when it dry and sunny is. Never collect the seeds after a rainy day, otherwise they have to dry longer and start to mold in the collection container. Sunny middays and afternoons are particularly recommended.

3. Cut the panicles with the seeds directly from the plant and then place them in the container.

4. If you want to be quick, bend a shoot with lots of seeds directly over the collector and cut it off completely. In this way, numerous seeds end up in the container that you would otherwise lose. This method is also very suitable if the nettle plants are a little drier.

5. Harvest until you have collected enough seeds.

6. On the way home, numerous seeds will come loose inside the container. So make sure it doesn't fall over.

The female nettle plants allow for the highest yields. They can be recognized by the fact that their inflorescences hang down due to the weight. Male specimens, on the other hand, bear fewer seeds and point upwards.

Drying of nettle seeds

After reaping your harvest, you can dry them to use the seeds either in cooking or in tea. Use the brown seeds in particular for this; the green ones should be eaten as soon as possible. Before drying, you need to remove the panicles from the stems. To do this, hold the individual stems upside down in the container and wipe them off from top to bottom. Keep your gloves on, of course. You can then free the seeds from the individual panicles as well as possible and sieve them. This separates the seeds from unwanted parts of the plant for drying.

tip: You should either dispose of stinging nettle stalks and empty panicles on the compost or process them into liquid manure. Nettle manure is suitable for a variety of plants and provides sufficient nutrients in the event of deficiency symptoms.

air drying

Nettle seeds are traditionally air dried. It takes a few days, but this is something special gentle methodto dry the nettle seeds. For air drying, proceed as follows:

1. After screening, check your harvest again for green seeds and sort them out. Feel free to touch the seeds, they don't have stinging hairs.

2. Now choose a flat container and fill it with your harvest. The individual seeds do not have to be placed individually like dried fruit.

3. Place the container in a warm place that is not humid and has plenty of fresh air. Never place the container in direct sunlight as this will remove the healthy ingredients.

4. The container is now simply left standing for a few days. Use your hand to loosen your harvest at regular intervals so that air can get to all the seeds.

5. As soon as these have dried, you can fill the seeds into airtight containers.

tip: You should use a desiccant to store the seeds so that they don't get too wet. For example, fill some rice in an air-permeable cotton bag and place it with the seeds in the container.

In the oven

The oven is the quickest way to dry the nettle seeds. However, you should be careful not to leave the seeds in the oven for too long, otherwise they will roast. Roasted seeds are edible, but scorch easily. Follow this guide:

  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Preheat the oven to 30°C to 40°C
  • Spread the seeds on the sheet
  • put in the oven
  • Leave the door ajar
  • loosen up regularly by hand
  • Take out of the oven as soon as the seeds turn a distinctly brown colour
  • Dry for 24 hours in fresh air
  • then fill into airtight containers

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!