Nettle Mint Iced Tea
When life gives you nettles, make nettle tea.
I have this greenery growing in my front yard so have been experimenting with ways to eat it…and being careful of its little injection needles full of histamines that give it the ‘stinging’ name. They say if you firmly grip the stems it will crush the needles and not allow them to penetrate the skin. My friend told me that if I said to myself ‘you will not sting’ then they would not sting. It actually worked a few times.
I’ve known that nettles were good for you, especially for detoxing, but when I went looking for more properties I found such an overwhelming plethora of medicinal uses that if I listed them all you wouldn’t make it to the end of this page before needing a lunch break. Superfood growing in our ditches. Historically the leaves have been used to treat a wide variety of ailments—arthritis, urinary tract issues, dandruff, and glycogen regulation to name just a few. It’s also packed with iron, vitamins A and C, potassium, manganese, calcium and protein. Here and here are sites with more about this Wonder Weed.
Nettles were often added to soups and teas, and its fibrous stems have even been made into a linen-like material—check out Ten Unusual Facts about Nettles and expand your mind.
When harvesting your own it’s best to do it when the plants are very young before they flower, and be careful you’re not wild-crafting from areas with pesticide runoff or other pollution. If you’re not lucky enough to have this prolific stinging greenery (generally referred to as an annoying weed) near you there are many places to buy it as a tea at specialty stores or online.
I tried what I thought was a brilliant idea of nettles with eggs and saffron. I don’t know what happened but it was horrid. I couldn’t eat more than a bite and put it directly in the compost. I don’t know if the nettles were too old or what the problem was, but it was done. So on to the next nettle thing…
Fuzzy-leafed square-stemmed mint. Pliny the Elder wrote in the Naturalis Historia that the Greeks wore crowns of mint at their feasts, and used mint to season both wine and sauces. Mint in my wine, I may have to try it sometime.
This is barely a recipe and it’s such an old combination I hope nobody tries to claim it as their own.
Enjoy it hot or cold.
Nettle Mint Tea
Prep Time: 20 minutes or 4 hours
Place in a quart jar for sun tea or quart size heat-resistant container for hot water method:
1 cup fresh Nettle leaves, or 2 tea bags
1 cup fresh Mint leaves, or 2 tea bags
Either pour boiling water over them and let steep for 20 minutes, or place in the sun for 4 hours.
Chill and serve over ice on a hot day.
You could also add before brewing:
Rose Petals (not from commercial flower shops)
A cup from Allamakee Wood Fired Pottery…