Many people know about stinging nettles, but they are much more well known for their painful sting than their edible and medicinal qualities. If prepared the right way, stinging nettles are delicious and nutritious! So many edible wild “weeds” are brushed off as being a nuisance, when they are actually quite tasty, and often have medicinal value as well. The new book by Mia Wasilevich titled Ugly Little Greens tells us how to cook these overlooked plants in delightful ways! That is where I got this recipe for Nettle-Ade that I’m going to share with you today.
Stinging Nettle Benefits
Stinging nettles are a very nutritious superfood. They have a large amount of many vitamins and minerals, but are particularly high in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium.
Nettles are also a potent medicinal plant. They are commonly used for kidney and bladder problems, including urinary tract infections. They are also known as an all around tonic for women’s reproductive system, and are often used when trying to conceive, as well as throughout pregnancy (check with your doctor or midwife before using it during pregnancy). Because of its high concentration of minerals, nettles are also commonly used for bone ailments such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Stinging Nettle-Ade Recipe
If you don’t have any dried nettles on hand for this recipe, you can always purchase them from Mountain Rose Herbs, my favorite place to buy high quality, organic herbs.
Yield 8 servings
This recipe is from the book Ugly Little Greens by Mia Wasilevich, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017
- Dried nettle leaves and stems, as needed (see note)
- Boiling water, as needed (see note)
- Ice, as needed
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey per serving
- ⅛ preserved lemon (or a ½-inch [1.5-cm] chunk) per serving
- 1 cup (240 ml) sparkling water per serving
- To steep the dried nettles, place the nettles in a teapot or a nonreactive pot and pour the boiling water over them. Let the nettles steep for 15 minutes, then strain them from the water.
- Add ice to a tall glass and muddle the honey with the preserved lemon. Pour in ½ cup (120 ml) of the strong nettle tea and finish with the sparkling water.
A general rule of thumb is to use 1 tablespoon (1 g) dried nettles per 1 cup (240 ml) water. But I like to make this strong so I can enjoy it with ice and sparkling water, so I use 2 tablespoons (2 g) dried nettles per 1 cup (240 ml) water. For example, to make 4 servings, use 8 teaspoons (6 g) nettles and 4 cups (960 ml) water. It’s OK to eyeball this, as dried nettles weigh practically nothing and you won’t get a significant measurement by weight.
This Nettle-Ade recipe is surprisingly delicious! Slightly sweet from the honey, and a pleasant tartness from the lemon make it really wonderful. It is super refreshing on a hot day!
It’s nice to know how healthy it is, too. Nettle infusion is something that we could all use a little more of, and this is the perfect way to make it more enticing. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this all summer long with my stash of foraged dried stinging nettles.
Ugly Little Greens Book
I really love the book Ugly Little Greens by Mia Wasilevich! She takes underutilized wild plants like dandelions, mustards, nettles, plantain, cattail, thistles, lambsquarters, mallow, watercress, and elderberries and turns them into gourmet recipes such as:
- Plantain and Purslane Poke
- Cattail Pollen Madeleines
- Nettles Benedict
- Salted Dandelion and Plantain Two Ways
- Lambsquarters Marbled Bread
- Elderflower Sangria with Summer Fruit
Both this wonderful book and this amazing Stinging Nettle-Ade recipe are highly recommended! It’s always so much fun to actually make awesome recipes from foraged and wildcrafted ingredients. Mia’s book will help you with some of the best recipes I’ve seen for these wild edible weeds!
What is your favorite way to prepare stinging nettles?