More Nettle Love: Nettle Infusion


Mrs. Homegrown here:

It’s nettle appreciation week here at Homegrown Evolution. Inspired by Homegrown Neighbor’s post, I thought I’d throw in my own two cents about nettles.

First, it’s one of my favorite plants. Its nutritional profile is outstanding. In fact, it’s one of the most nutritionally dense foods available. It’s a rich source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamins, chlorophyll–the things your body might be lacking after a long winter, or a period stress and poor eating. For this reason it’s long been treasured as a spring tonic.

The most straightforward way to take advantage of these nutritional benefits is to eat nettles as a green, but as our neighbor mentions, they don’t make great eating. They’re not bad, just bland. It’s funny how such a prickly plant is so aggressively mild when all is said and done. That’s part of its charm and mystery. When I harvest it in the wild, usually from tall stands of tough, mean plants, I really feel like I’m hunting or doing combat of some sort. The older nettles get, the more intimidating they become. Though I wear long pants and sleeves and rubber dishwashing gloves when I go into battle, I never escape unscathed. But stings are just part of the process, a price I pay gladly.

I recommend you check out the website of Susun Weed, an herbalist. Reading there, I learned that infusions make more of the plant nutrients available than regular tea, so now we put one ounce of dried nettle (an ounce is quite a lot–a cup if it’s chopped, half a jar or more if the leaves are whole) in a quart jar, fill the jar with boiling water and let it sit 4-8 hours before drinking. The resulting brew is stronger tasting than ordinary nettle tea, but not unpleasant at all. It’s our house energy drink.

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4 Comments

  1. Paula, my experience is that it’s best to transplant. Easy, too. I’ll be moving some to our new place from a friend’s plot come spring.

    The most amazing thing about the infusion, to me, is the brilliant green color. Nettle has been a long-time favorite of mine. I had already started a jar when I found the blog today. Sweet!

  2. Thanks for doing a little “series” on nettles. I just recently received a packet of neetle seeds and the book: 101 Uses For Stinging Nettles by Piers Warren in the mail and can’t wait to plant them in the garden and make me and my plants some tea.

    Also wanted to mention that a podcast I regularly listen to out of London (I’m not affiliated at all with the show other than being a fan) just did an interview with Susan Weed at:

    http://shamanicfreedomradio.podomatic.com/

    thanks again for all you do, love your blog!!!

    jed

  3. You guys are killing me buying nettle seed! I have nettle that is 6′tall due to the rains this summer~ will be trying some of the nettle next year when it is fresh. Interesting blog!

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