New Year's Cure: Nettle Tisane

After all the (so delicious!) holiday indulgences, my body naturally craves clean, green and simple foods to bring me back to center. Here in San Francisco, we're fortunate that nettles are showing up at the farmers' markets, just in time to for a new year's cure: a simple nettle tea that is healthy, balanced and comforting. Oh, and it tastes good, too. Perfect!

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Nettles are said to be rich in vitamin C and E, as well as calcium, iron, silica, magnesium and potassium. There are a lot of heath claims associated with nettles, too, but I like to think of nettle tisane as a general tonic, good for the blood and cleaning out the liver.

Nettle tea has a refreshing, green taste and is quite simple to make. This recipe is based on one from the amazing Julia Wiley of Mariquita Farms in Watsonville, CA. The nettles are collected from her land (see photo of the nettle harvesters above) and are available through her Mystery Box program in the SF Bay Area.

When using fresh nettles, you must be very careful as these are also known as stinging nettles. Ouch! Be sure to read Kathryn's article on stinging nettles before handling fresh nettles. And not to worry about the tisane: the stinging properties in nettles are destroyed by the boiling water.

While nettles are already available in Northern California, other regions may have to wait until the spring or you can check out some of the dried nettle teas available in natural food stores or online.

Fresh Nettle Tisane
for one serving

You will need:
A 2-cup pyrex measuring cup, or any other measuring cup that can take boiling water
A strainer
Enough nettles (stems and leaves) to loosely fill 1/3 to 1/2 of the measuring cup

1. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
2. Meanwhile, soak the nettles in cold water in the measuring cup.
3. When the water comes to a boil, strain nettles from the cold water and rinse. Be sure to use a tongs (or rubber gloves) to protect your hands!
4. Place cleaned nettles back in the empty measuring cup, pour the boiling water over to fill, and let steep for 5 minutes.
5. Strain the tea into a cup, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Related: What Can I Make with Stinging Nettles?

(Images: Dana Velden and Julia Wiley at Mariquita Farm)

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