Sunday, 9 May 2010

Stop weeding, and Settle for Nettle Tea...

Many might consider Stinging Nettles to be a weed and a nuisance, but I always keep a stand of them in the garden. They are great for beneficial insects, including bees, and the foodstuff for the caterpillars of Peacock and Little Tortoiseshell butterflies. Anyone who knows about the technique of 'companion planting' will know that if positioned next to herbs it will have the effect of increasing the amount of volatile oils in Mint, Rosemary, and Sage.

This time of year they are particularly lush, and really nice for making into tea. I like to pick the young tips and the first two mature leaves for extra tenderness. Wash thoroughly in cold water to remove the 'beneficial insects', which, although good for the garden don't add anything special to the flavour of tea. Chop finely (at which point they begin to lose their sting) and pop a good heaped tablespoonful per cup in a teapot or jug.

Pour on boiling water and let steep for 3-4 mins. Run the mixture through a tea strainer into your mug, and add a dollop of honey... sit back and enjoy.
Nettles are a great anti- inflammatory. They'll help with arthritis, eczema, hay fever symptoms, and post cold snuffles. They are full of vitamins, and the seeds are said to have an aphrodisiac effect.
If you don't like it as a tea, then you can cook it like spinach and serve with butter, or boil it to a mulch, season and spread it on toast.
If prepared as with tea, and allowed to cool, once strained it makes a great hair conditioner. Wash your hair as normal and then massage through with the mixture as a final rinse for glossy natural hair. It's also safe to use on pets for silky coats.
Why would a plant have to defend itself with such vigorous stings if it wasn't so damned good?!...

6 comments:

GardenerX said...

interesting post. Although it does look nice. I still dont think I am convinced to try nettle tea just yet

Kay said...

I misread part of this and had a lovely picture of silky goats.
Kay x

Kittykatmandoo said...

Love this tea. Great first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Looking for a stand, however,that hasn't been sprayed and have to settle for buying it in from organic farms.

Your Savvy Psychic said...

Steamed nettles and asparagus, the very essence of spring. Yum!

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Lavender said...

Ah, Bravo Mate! Its great stuff, and now Im hankering for a cuppa - havent had it since leaving the northern hemisphere...I wonder if I could source some down here - Ive got just the spot in the garden for it, Cheers!