It's Springtime and time to start detoxing our bodies before the Summer and after the Easter chocolate binges and Winter carb excess. We're really lucky to have an abundance of herbs that naturally grow and bloom in the Spring. One herb that we can't seemingly get away from are nettles, they are growing over our pathways in thick bunches. But this is a good thing, as it means we have access to a free source of nettles, that are a gentle and effective cleanse as well as a super winter detoxify for the liver.
If you don't live within foraging distance of wild nettles, they can be bought seasonally at good Farmers’ Markets.
Ingredients for Nettle Tea:
1 x tea or coffee cup of nettle leaves
4 x tea or coffee cup of cold water
1 tsp of caster sugar or honey
A wedge of lemon or lime
The most important thing to remember when picking is to wear gloves, I like my Marigolds which look attractive on a walk in the woods. You will need to wear gloves when preparing your nettles, if you don't, expect a lot of stings!
Firstly you need to pop on your gloves, collect your nettles and cut of the leaves with as little stem as possible. Interestingly, the older looking nettles tend to be sweeter than their younger counterparts and similarly to Mint, you can dry the nettles at home, so that you don't have to constantly visit the nettle field or farmers market.
First things first, pick a tea or coffee cup out of the kitchen cupboard, fill up this cup to the brim with nettle leaves (one cup of nettles per 3 or 4 servings) and then wash them thoroughly in warm water. Put the nettles in a heavy bottom saucepan with 4 cups of water (use the same cup measure as the nettles).
Then place the pan on the hob and bring to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and sieve into a jug, then taste the tea, adding the sugar or honey as needed. I like to serve in glass 'mugs' with a nettle for decoration and a good 'squish' of lime or lemon juice. I love this after supper or first thing in the morning when I'm getting up and it's a good replacement to my standard lemon and hot water.
For iced-nettle tea: Simply drain and cool the tea, this can take 20-30mins and then pop in the fridge for a few hours. I tend to make up a large jug and keep in the fridge for when I'm looking for a refreshing drink in the afternoon sun; there is something about the lime and nettle with a chunk or three of ice that makes it feel like I'm almost on holiday. When serving, keep it simple, pour over some ice, keeping the wedge of lemon or lime, plus the nettle for decoration.