Nettle Mint Iced Tea

May 12th, 2015 5 Comments

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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.

 

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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…

 

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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.  

 

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This is barely a recipe and it’s such an old combination I hope nobody tries to claim it as their own.

Freeware tonics!

 

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)

Rooibos

Ginger

Lavender

 

A cup from Allamakee Wood Fired Pottery

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5 Comments

  1. Louise says:

    We used a lot of nettles in the spring on Hornby Island in BC. First: get them young… go out with rubber gloves, scissors and a big bag. Just take the top 3 inches or so. You can dry them to use later as tea, or blanch and freeze to add to soup (or make tea). Really good as substitute for spinach in both lasagne and omelettes. I was told that if you put them raw in the blender with apple juice, they lose their sting but I never tried it.
    I love the sound of nettle mint tea, but unfortunately, I don’t have a nettle patch in Ontario, only mint. I miss those nettles!!

    • Ruth says:

      Thanks for the harvesting tips! They grow in recently disturbed soils, if you’re out looking for patches.

  2. Sarah says:

    Wow, and then I read the three websites, so my mind is totally expanded now. Thanks Ruth.

  3. Debra K. Masek says:

    Ruth! Gabi shared your nettle/mint tea…oh…my…yummy…drinking it like water!!! I would like to know if you would like a set of “vintage” dishes I have…Gabi thought that you might. They are from my childhood neighbor’s auction…bought them 14 years ago as I remembered eating lunch off of them as a child!! If you think you are interested, please e-mail me…I would love to give them to you!!! Only if you really want them, as I don’t want you to take something only as a kindness. Thanks for sharing your love of food!! Debra.

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