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Can You Freeze Nettles?

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By Lewis Brindley

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Nettles are easy to forage, full of goodness and delicious… To some people, at least! This is often the cause of a significant problem. You have more nettles than you know what to do with. So, how should you store them?

Can You Freeze Nettles?

Yes, you can freeze nettles for up to 1 month. To do this, we recommend boiling the nettles in hot water and then plunging them into iced water. After this blanching process, dry the nettles gently, and pack them into a freezer bag, removing excess air before sealing and freezing.

Do Nettles Freeze Well? Sometimes

Can You Refreeze Nettles? Yes

How to Freeze Nettles

Freezing nettles isn’t a tricky process, but there are quite a few steps involved. If you’ve never blanched food before, then we recommend following our steps to ensure that you achieve success.

  1. Boil for 2 Minutes: Boiling the nettles for 2 to 4 minutes serves as a simple way to ensure that their texture can be preserved for a long time. On top of that, the boiling water cleans and sterilizes the nettles.
  2. Plunge Into Ice-Cold Water: Plunging the nettles straight from boiling water into iced water shocks the cells in a process called blanching. This will lock in flavour, nutrients, texture and appearance – wins all round!
  3. Dry: Dry off the nettles either with paper towels or with a cloth tea towel. This is typically most easily done by gently pressing the nettles between the sheets of the kitchen towel until the excess moisture has been absorbed.
  4. Pack: Carefully place the blanched nettles into a freezer bag with a resealable top. Seal the bag up and push as much excess out of the bag as you can.
  5. Freeze: Once the nettles are dried and packed into a freezer bag, they can be frozen for roughly 1 month.

You can also pack the blanches nettles into the slot of an ice cube tray to freeze them into ready-to-go balls like the ones below:

Frozen Nettle Bundles

3 Tips for Freezing Nettles

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing nettles to have the best results:

Act Fast!
Don’t waste time between the boiling water and the ice water – transfer the nettles as quickly as possible to ensure the physical reaction within the leaves does take place. That will make sure that you can easily preserve the nettles.

Remove Excess Air
Removing excess air from the freezer bag is always a good idea, but especially so in the case of something as flavoursome as nettles. We recommend it here to ensure that the nettles retain their flavour.

Freeze With Other Herbs or Greens
If you already have an idea of other herbs or greens that you might use alongside the nettles, then you might consider freezing the nettles in batches along with other herbs and greens such as spinach, parsley or kale.

How Long Can You Freeze Nettles?

You can freeze nettles for a very long time, but for the best quality possible, we recommend freezing them for around 1 month.

The reason we wouldn’t recommend any more than this is that the nettles will start to lose flavour, making them less usable.

If you’re not concerned about the texture of nettles, then you don’t need to consider how long you’re freezing them for quite to much – the freezer will damage their texture a lot and their flavour less so.

How Long Do Nettles Last in the Fridge?

Unfortunately, freshly foraged nettles won’t last long at all. Once stored in the fridge, they will last for around 2 days.

How Do You Defrost Nettles?

The easiest way to defrost nettles is typically to just add them to the meal you’re cooking. They’re not very dense, even when packed in the freezer, and so can be added to a hot pan or roasting tray, allowing the nettles to thaw as they’re used for your recipes.

This is especially true if you have already blanched them as you’ll have cooked them part way.

Can You Refreeze Nettles?

Yes, you can refreeze nettles as many times as you might need to.

In fact, this is the case with many different herbs and vegetables, since these herbs and vegetables can find it a little trickier to develop bacterial growth over time. You may find you ruin the texture, however.

Do Nettles Freeze Well?

This really depends upon what you’re using the nettles for. The blanching and freezing process will destroy the texture of nettles, but it will also allow you to preserve their flavour.

If you’re preserving the nettles for their taste, then we would say they freeze well. If you’re preserving the nettles for their texture, however, then freezing might not be the best choice for you.

If you’ve still got questions about freezing nettles or nettles in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Nettle Soup?

Yes, nettle soup can be frozen like more vegetable-based soups. Once cooled, portion it out in Tupperware containers, seal up tight and then pop the containers into the freezer with a clear label.

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