Do you cook with stinging nettle? It’s not as crazy as it sounds! Stinging nettle can be used in everyday cooking recipes and no one even needs to know you’re using nettle instead of spinach. But you’ll know you’re providing more calcium, protein and iron than a similar serving of spinach. That’s why I’m so happy to harvest stinging nettle every spring. That and it’s free for the picking!
I’ve been picking and enjoying stinging nettle for over 10 years, ever since I brewed a batch of stinging nettle tea for campers at Camp Wasaga after I took a course with biologist and wild edibles expert Laura Reeves of Prairie Shore Botanicals. Now I look forward to harvesting and experimenting with it every year! I’m happy to share with you my favorite stinging nettle recipes so you too can cook with stinging nettle and enjoy this delicious, versatile, and free wild edible.
7 Ways to Cook With Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle Tea
Tea Made from Fresh Nettles
Simply add a handful of fresh nettle leaves and stems to boiling water and steep for 3 -5 minutes. It tastes okay, but I prefer adding a little bit of giant hyssop or mint with the nettle for a more sip and relax kind of tea.
If you let it steep longer, the color will deepen and look dark green almost black. You just know this brew has to be good for you! Google the benefits outlined on Healthline.com. Here’s a look at the tea after letting it steep overnight. It still tastes great, especially with the added hyssop.
Tea Made from Dried Nettles
Drying stinging nettle and using it in herbal tea blends is my all time favorite way of using stinging nettle. I find the dried nettle is not as intense as the fresh brewed leaves. When added with other herbs and fruits it adds nice body or depth to the tea mix.
Whether you use just stinging nettles or a mixed herbal blend, here’s how to brew tea with dried nettles:
1 cup of boiling water
1 Tbsp dried nettles or herbal blend
Cover & steep for 3-5 minutes
A WORD OF CAUTION: Drinking moderate amounts of herbal tea is generally safe. However, all plants may cause allergies or undesirable side effects. I drink herbal teas including stinging nettle tea for pleasure, that is, an occasional cup here and there. I do not recommend taking x amount of cups per day for any sort of medicinal or health reasons. I simply do not have enough knowledge. If you wish to have more than an occasional cup of herbal tea, especially if you are pregnant or your immune system is compromised please RESEARCH carefully from trusted sources.
More Ways to Use Stinging Nettles
Of course you can also use stinging nettle in any cooked recipe that calls for spinach or kale. It goes particularly well with eggs and nutmeg.
The only when you cook with stinging nettle is don’t serve it raw!
More How To’s
So, what do you think? Which stinging nettle recipe will you try first? I hope you give it a try and when you do, please leave a comment below or reach me on Instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.