I'm always looking for new ways to add the dense nutrition of nettles to our diet, and these were super easy to make. I thought I'd share how I made them with you here:
If you haven't already located a patch, look for them from early spring to late summer in moist, wooded areas; especially near places where humans live or once lived, near horse trails or animal paddocks, etc. Because nettles require phosphates to grow, and because they can tolerate more nitrogen in their soil than other plants, they thrive in areas that have been populated by humans and animals. Don't forget to bring heavy gloves and scissors!
With your gloves on, cut the leaves free from the stems, and put the mineral-rich stems in your compost. Wash the leaves in cool water, then spin dry or air dry.
Using tongs or gloved hands, toss the leaves in plenty of olive oil or melted coconut oil. Add salt to taste and seasonings / spices until they are thoroughly coated. I used my favorites: nutritional yeast, sea salt, and turmeric.
By now the stingers on the leaves have been softened. They will lose their sting once dehydrated with heat.
Spread the leaves out in a single layer on your food dehydrator trays, or onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Dehydrate the nettles at 135F in a food dehydrator, or in an oven at 200F, until crispy. If using an oven, turn the leaves once after about 30 minutes.
Mine took about 3 hours in our Excalibur food dehydrator, but they would take less time in an oven. If you're using an oven, vent the door from time to time to release moisture.
Make sure that they're good and crispy, and test a few with your fingers to be sure that they're dehydrated enough to no longer sting before popping them into your mouth! I found that the sting was gone after about only an hour in the dehydrator, though I continued to dehydrate them for another couple of hours until they were done.