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Nettle is one of the first spring plants with a rich chemical composition, which can replenish the body with essential vitamins. For culinary use, it is harvested at the beginning of growth, when the stems and leaves are juicy. Dried raw materials lose their taste and are suitable only for medicinal or cosmetic purposes. To reserve until next spring and maintain nutritional value, it is best to freeze the nettles.
The amount of nutrients in nettles is much greater than in herbs and fruits. For example, the concentration of vitamin C, B2, K is 3 times higher than that of citrus fruits.
Important! Subject to the laying technique, freezing completely preserves the chemical composition of the plant. Such raw materials are able to replenish the body with missing vitamins in the winter.
Nettle is used for making soup, added to pie filling. You can freeze the herb as a whole, puree it for seasoning, or cut it into arbitrary pieces.
Preparing nettles for freezing
Nettles are harvested in April or early May, when the stems are not yet fibrous. Take the top. If the plant is already tough, then only the leaves are plucked. It is necessary to be in time before flowering, since the green mass then loses its nutritional value.
After harvesting, the raw materials are processed:
- They are washed, placed in a saline solution (6 tablespoons per 1.5 liters of water).
- A load is placed on top so that the green mass is immersed in the liquid. Leave for 25-30 minutes.
- The water is carefully drained.
The raw materials are washed under running water and laid out on a cloth napkin
- You can only freeze dry nettles (without moisture residues).
Attention! Subsequent processing depends on the way it is placed in the freezer.
Ways to freeze nettles for the winter
You can freeze in airtight or packaging bags, in a container with a lid or in ice cube trays. It all depends on how the workpiece is processed. Care must be taken to protect your hands from burns. Nettle leaves marks on the skin even after soaking in a saline solution.
Advice! It is best to use medical or household rubber gloves to protect your skin.
How to freeze leaves
One of the popular and not labor-intensive methods is freezing. Treat with saline and dry well. Fold it tightly into a bag, tie or pump out the air (if it is a vacuum package), place it in the freezer. It is better to pack a small amount into a container so that it is enough for one use.
Re-freezing the nettle will not work, it completely loses its shape and a significant part of the nutrients
Packages with raw materials are left at a low temperature for about a day. Then they are sent to the freezer compartment, placing them horizontally (on top of each other). Nettles will not lose their shape and take up less space.
Freezing chopped nettles
Processed and dry greens are taken along with the stems. You can cut with a knife on a cutting board or use scissors, as you like. There are two ways to freeze:
- Spread out on a tray in the freezer and leave for three hours to firm.
- Pour the workpiece into a bag or container.
Attention! Chopped nettles are packaged in portions.
Packages are tightly placed in the freezer.
Freezing nettles in bunches
The freezing method is more painstaking, but the nettle remains intact after being removed from the refrigerator. This method is used if the plant is needed for making salads. Prepared green mass is divided into portions, approximately 4-5 branches.
For the bundle method, cling film is required
The packaging material is cut into pieces taking into account the length of the stems - they must be completely closed. Collect nettles in a bunch and wrap in two layers of film. Put it in a container and put it in the freezer. Can be laid out on a pallet in the chamber, after 12 hours put everything in a bag and send to storage.
How to freeze sorrel nettle
Sorrel and nettle grow at the same time. Green cabbage soup recipes often include both plants, and you can freeze them as a mixture in one container. The blank can also be used for filling pies, so it is best to cut the plants into pieces and mix.
The proportion does not matter, but more often both plants are used in the same amount:
- Nettle is treated in a salt solution. Sorrel is just washed well. Allow to dry.
- Cut into pieces, mix.
- They take a large plastic bag, put a cut into it, tie it.
- Distribute in an even layer on the bottom of the freezer compartment.
It is easy to break off the part necessary for culinary use from a thin frozen briquette
Chopped greens can be poured into vacuum bags for one portion and immediately identified in the chamber. This method of harvesting can be simplified and the plants can be frozen with a bundle of sorrel and nettle. Wrap in plastic wrap, fill a bag or container with bundles and place in a camera.
Freezing nettle puree
All aerial parts of the plant are used for processing. The output will be a homogeneous liquid mass.
How to freeze nettle puree:
- The processed greens are divided into pieces so that they go into the blender.
- Add 60 ml of water, grind to a homogeneous substance.
- Pour into silicone bakeware or ice cube rack. Freeze until the puree is completely hardened.
Remove from the container into a bag or container and place in a chamber
The blank is used for sauce or soup. Can be used for cosmetic purposes as a face mask or added to water to rinse hair after shampooing.
Freezing blanched nettles
For this method, a young plant is used, only the tops are harvested, about 10-12 cm each. Treatment in a salt solution can be skipped, it is enough to rinse the nettle well under the tap.
How to freeze raw materials:
- The green mass is dipped into boiling water and kept for 4–6 minutes.
- Raw materials are caught and thrown into a sieve or colander.
You can use a slotted spoon to extract from boiling water.
- When the water drains and the raw material cools down, squeeze out in small portions.
- Place in small containers and place in the freezer.
So that the products do not take up much space, vacuum bags are used.
Storage terms and rules
Store the nettle in the container in which it was originally frozen. Use only the freezer compartment. The temperature is kept constant, the minimum indicator is -16 0C. Defrost the required amount for cooking, the workpiece is not subject to a repeated procedure. Subject to the technology of bookmarking and storage requirements, the nettle does not lose its nutritional value until the next harvest.
You can freeze nettles in several ways: collect in bunches and pack in cling film; make mashed potatoes, pour into containers and freeze. The easiest way is to put the leaves in bags. For lovers of baking fillings, nettles are pre-boiled. You can make juice from green mass, filter and freeze to add to a vitamin cocktail in winter.