What five-year-old would be enthused about going for a walk to look for stinging nettles? I can’t think of one, and the little granddaughter I dragged along certainly wasn’t. However, she indulged her grandma and followed me along the trail, pretending to be interested in helping me find my “secret” patch where I had harvested them a year ago. Nettle tea is not high on her list of favourite foods, I’m sure, but I’m looking forward to having a supply of this nutrient-rich tea in my pantry soon.
The list of vitamins and minerals in stinging nettle tea is impressive: Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, calcium, iron, folate, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Nettles also have a high protein content (up to 25%) for a leafy green vegetable. They help to detoxify the body, they can alkalize an acidic condition, increase lactation, and more.
Gloves are necessary to protect your skin when you harvest the young leaves, but after they are soaked in water or cooked the stinging chemicals from the plant are removed. Be sure to pick the leaves before the plant has developed flowers.
To make Nettle Tea
Dry the leaves in a dehydrator or by hanging in small bunches by their stems until completely dry and crispy when crumbled. Put about 1 tsp. of the crumbled leaves in an infuser and brew for 3-5 minutes. Adding dried peppermint leaves to the mix tempers the grassy flavour of the nettles. Here’s another way to make it: simply order it from the teafarm! (Nettle tea may not be safe to drink during pregnancy.)
Want to learn more about stinging nettles? Alderlea Farm hosts the 2nd Annual Stinging Nettle Festival on Saturday, April 14. More information here.
Next recipe: Stinging Nettle Spanikopita . . . Nettlekopita?