Uses for Nettle Blanching Water

Sarah Mickey All Recipes, Nettle Recipes, Wild Produce Recipes Leave a Comment

While you have to briefly blanch stinging nettles before eating them in order to remove their sting, you’re not washing their acid into the blanching water.  Instead you’ve actually disarming it completely.  After the blanch both the nettle leaves and the blanching water are completely safe to consume.  Not only that, but the blanching liquid has absorbed flavor, color and nutrients from the nettles themselves….it’d be a shame to waste it!

The water will get stronger (and darker) after each batch of nettles you blanch in it.  We’re considering a small stock pot full of boiling water with enough nettles stuffed into it as will reasonably fit a batch.

Here’s our rough strength scale to help you use it.

After 1st Batch:
Pale green color, mild almost green-tea-esque flavor with a slight bitterness. 

This water can be drunk as nettle tea, though it will taste more spinach-esque than nettle tea made from steeping dried nettle leaves (see How to Preserve Nettles for drying tips).

After 2nd Batch:
Darker green color and a stronger pot greens flavor (think kale or collard greens).

This strength level would be a good choice for use as a stock where you don’t want the nettle flavor to overpower other ingredients.

After 3rd Batch:
Very dark green color with strong brown tones. Full, rich nettle flavor.

At this point the blanching water is potent enough to use as a soup base or broth standing on its own.

Nettle blanching water can be frozen for long term storage as you would other stocks & broths, and is another way to stock your kitchen with nettle goodness beyond fresh nettle season.

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