Sunday, April 3, 2011

nettle tea recipe, made just the way I like it...


I have long been a fan of the humble nettle. Not only are they great for cooking with (or so I've read), and for making natural homemade fertiliser, but they are also amazing and personally I think at their best when made into a tea. Steeped overnight it turns into the most magical nutritive tonic out. For vegetarians and meat-eaters alike it packs an amazing multi-vitamin and mineral rich punch, providing Vitamins A, B, C, E & K along with minerals; iron, calcium, potassium, silicic acid, manganese and copper. It stimulates kidney excretions making it the perfect detoxifying tonic and is also amazingly helpful for skin conditions such as eczema. It is known to help relieve premenstrual symptoms and also counters arthritis, rheumatism, tendonitis and other disorders of the muscles and joints. But you wanna know something else cool about nettle tea that is not such common knowledge? It stimulates milk production in breast-feeding mothers. Without going into too much detail (this being a mostly food oriented blog and all) if you feel you are running low on milk supplies, skull a few glasses of this a day and you will have more milk than you know what to do with! I even had to stop drinking my nettle altogether while breast-feeding Kye as I found I had way too much milk, and choked the poor boy. Okay, too much information, sorry.

For us vegetarians, anything containing readily available iron is something not to be missed. While pregnant for the second time in less than two years, you’d think my iron levels would have been plummeting. But drinking a couple of glasses of nettle tea along with my daily 10ml dose of Floradix tonic, my midwife was shocked to announce that my iron levels had actually gone up during pregnancy! She was gob-smacked as most people, even meat eaters lose iron stores while pregnant.

Back home in Raglan we were lucky enough to have friends down the road growing stinging nettle commercially, so it wasn’t very often that we were out of freshly dried leaves for our daily brew. Over here in Perth, I’m going to have to look a little harder to find it I think, although I have just come across this on eBay which looks promising. There was even wild stinging nettle growing all around the chicken coup at Ada’s kindy and the kids would have to be extra careful not to brush up against. I remember at our family home growing up, mum had a whole bunch of it growing down the side of the deck. My poor little sister would have only been about 4 years old when she fell face first into the nettle bushes! Ouch doesn’t even begin to cover the pain she must have felt.

The best tip I was given when I first started drinking nettle tea, was to add star anise to the brew to disguise the somewhat grassy nature of nettle. Just one or two is all you need to add a lovely little licorice note. Going even further, in a bid to use up all the random ingredients lost in the back of our pantry before moving over here, I got into adding oat straw tea and licorice root to the mix too. That was some of the tastiest nettle tea I’ve ever had. The licorice adds a lovely natural sweetness while the oat straw adds even more to the nutritive value, it's loaded with plenty of  vitamins A, C, B complex and K. Mineral; silica, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorous.  It’s also said to be great for insomnia, skin and hair health. 

Happy brewing. Cheers xxx




nettle tea recipe
You'll have to look out for a supplier of freshly dried nettle leaves as this is far superior to the tea-bag forms of nettle. It can be grown and dried yourself, but you'd have to look into the rules and regulations of growing it in your area. Oat straw tea can be purchased at good health food stores, but I tend to go to an Asian grocer to find my star anise and licorice root, at very reasonable prices.
makes 1 litre
  • 2 small finger fulls (2-6 tablespoons) dried stinging nettle leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2-4 pieces of dried licorice root
  • 2-4 tablespoons of dried oat straw tea
  • 1 litre boiling water 
Place everything into a large heat-proof glass jar, large tea pot or clean coffee plunger and step overnight. Strain and either drink cold or re-heat gently in a pot over medium heat. Best drunk within 1 day of brewing. To keep longer store in the fridge.

21 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks! I drink a lot of herbal teas, but I have never thought to steep them overnight. That is a great, great idea, and I will definitely be doing it soon. Many thanks!

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  2. Your welcome Rebecca :-) By steeping nutritive teas like nettle, all the minerals and vitamins have just that much longer to leach out of the leaves.

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  3. If this tea tastes as beautiful as it looks -- I might just have to tell my current favorite (jasmine blossom) to move over. Thanks for sharing Emma. I also wanted to let you know that I'm hosting a weekly virtual refined sugar free get-together / potluck at my blog. Check it out when you get a chance: http://flipcookbook.com/2011/04/sugar-free-sunday-april-3-2011/

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  4. thanks Raj, I don't have any spare time to get into anything other than what I'm doing right now, but hope to check it out sometime in the future. Thanks for the invite.

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  5. Hi Emma - not a tea comment, but I just wanted to say I made your afgans to take to visit my sister & her three GF kids & they were a hit : )

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  6. Hey thanks for reporting back on the Afghans Rach, glad they all loved them :-)

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  7. Good for insomnia eh? Perhaps if I could persuade the cat to have some too... :-)

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  8. I just want to say that finding your gluten free blog is really a gift and a treasure. Today, I am making your spice cake because I have some wonderful madjool dates to use. This weekend I am going to buy the spices and herbs needed to make this tea. I, often, do not sleep long enough and maybe this will help. So very glad I found you. Thanks

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  9. Janet~ A cat that has trouble sleeping?!
    Shend~ Welcome :-) I'd love to hear back how you enjoy the spice cake.

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  10. The cat sleeps all day and then is bouncing around all night - so I don't sleep as he likes to be entertained, and cuddled and to have his face rubbed... :-)I'm not REALLY complaining...

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  11. i've been having trouble sleeping lately might give it a go, don't need help with the breastmilk, i've been breastfeeding for five years ! crazy I know, but have pals who have milk supply problems, will pass it on :)

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  12. I ended up making the rubarb, lemon cake instead and it was really yummy. I ate a piece with my coffee already this morning. : ) The texture in the cake it perfect and this recipe is a keeper. Love that I do not see additives like gums in either of these recipes, or the flours that I won't use, like potato and tapicoa because of other issues I have. Will get back when I make the spice cake which will be soon for sure.

    We are fortunate that you are blogging and sharing your delightful recipes with your expertise. Thanks!!!

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  13. Hey Shend, so nice to hear back from you :-) Glad you loved the cake. I do try to not use gums in all my recipes as I know lots of people don't tolerate these. Thanks for your kind words :-) Xx

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  14. hi emma,
    made this tea, and it fabulous, thankyou! I had just been making nettle infusions daily, and was getting a little bored! just wondering, can you reuse the licorice root?
    thanks,simone.

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  15. Hi Simone~ So glad you enjoyed it! You can re-use the licorice root again for sure, I do. Usually it lasts 2-3 brews before the flavour is all used up. I sometimes re-use the star anise a few times too and have even been known to make a second brew of the nettle tea by pouring over more boiling water over the used leaves, then cooling, to use on my vege garden! Tomatoes especially love it. I hate waste! Can you tell? :-)

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  16. I love this! My husband and I are long-time fans of nettle tea, but your addition of star anise (which we happen to have on hand, yay!) has inspired me to do this TONIGHT. Side note: for a recent magazine assignment, I had suggested a recipe for nettle tea, and the publisher that I will leave nameless was against it because of, and I quote, nettle tea's "diuretic properties." Hello, it's tea! Anyway, thank you!

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  17. You can buy lovely dried nettles from Avena Botanicals or Mountain Rose Herbs. They are grown and harvested responsibly by people who really care about the quality of their products. They also sell plenty of other herbs, nourishing teas, and medicine-making supplies.

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  18. I read on several natural websites that nettle can cause fetal distress and death. I wouldn't advise drinking it when pregnant.

    I use the tea for my seasonal allergies. I also read that 1-2 cups per day max is the best way to have it. Too much of a good thing can be bad.

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    Replies
    1. I've never come across such advice ever before and drank it throughout both of my pregnancies. But like with all things, go with what you feel is best.

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  19. It a funny turn of events, as often happens it seems, I stumbled upon your blog today via a Facebook link and had it open in a tab so I could peruse later. THEN this evening I did a separate search on nettle tea and iron and this link came up on the first page :) Seems I'm meant to be here! I love nettle tea by itself but had not considered steeping it overnight, and I bet the concoction you suggest would be marvelous! Ill have to try it. Looking forward to reading more on your blog!

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Thanks so much for stopping by, arohanui xx Emm

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