I’ve drunk nettle tea (made from both fresh and dried nettles) many times before. And, a couple of friends who are naturopaths proclaim the nutritional benefits of nettle tea. When naturopathic doctors agree that something is good for me, I don’t ask questions. I just open my mouth.
But, I’ve never made fresh stinging nettle tea before… So, as we so often do around the office here, I decided that we’d all make good guinea pigs.
First, I rinsed a few handfuls of the nettles.
Don’t forget: never handle raw nettles with your bare hands. The “stinging” part of their name is true, as Emily learned when she picked these up from the farmer’s market. Just use gloves or put your hand in a Ziploc bag to handle them. After they are cooked a couple minutes, they are completely safe: heat destroys the stinging agent (which I am told, is formic acid).
Then, simply boil some water. Add the nettles to the boiling water and cook for a couple minutes. Then, remove from heat and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. The aroma of stinging nettles as they cook and steep is fantastic… earthy, robust, spinach-y.
Some days are happier “guinea pig” days than others. It’s a good thing that we’re also shooting artisanal cheeses today, because otherwise this would’ve been a pretty unhappy sampling day, right before the weekend. Comments on the taste of nettle tea ranged from: “like drinking broccoli water” to “a cross between sautéd greens and green tea”… not such good comments for a beverage.
Herein lies the discovery. Nettle tea is rich, robust, dark and very nutritious. It would make a fantastic soup stock with a little salt…
And, of course, it’s good for you. So, drink up. I added some honey and drank the whole cup. If we had lemon around, it might have made it tasty. I might just go down to the market and come back for seconds.
We’ve since found an even better way to make nettle tea that makes it taste more like green tea and less like spinach water. All you have to do is steep dried nettles in water like you would loose leaf tea. Drying nettles is really easy and a great way to keep nettles in your kitchen year round…check out How to Preserve Nettles for more info.