There are a few ways to take the sting out of nettles, but nothing can remove their goodness. Choose your source from an organic, pesticide-free location. Harvest carefully, only picking leaves from younger plants while allowing mature plants to continue propagating.
Heat up some vegetable or chicken stock and add cleaned nettle leaves. Simmer until soft, and then purée. Excellent sipped hot or cold. Swirl in a little yogurt or sour cream, if you wish. It can be seasoned with all sorts of flavours, from ginger or mint to cinnamon and cardamom.
Did you know that nettle is almost 40 percent protein? Plus, it’s been studied for its use in reducing pain in people with osteoarthritis, and is said to provide fodder for more milk in dairy cows and to induce chickens to lay more eggs.
If you live in an area with a bounty of wild stinging nettle, you can harvest it yourself. There are ways to harvest stinging nettle without arming oneself with protective clothing gear. But for a novice, the best approach is to wear long pants and a shirt with long sleeves and gloves. Thin latex gloves work perfectly.
Wash nettle leaves thoroughly. Add to saucepan with water and honey, if using. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Then strain through fine-meshed sieve into jug and refrigerate until chilled.
Using tongs, pop a fresh mint leaf into the bottom of cup. Add ice cubes and pour chilled tea overtop.
This recipe is part of the Thirsty? collection.
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