Whenever I think of nettle I think of a big nettle bush hidden between the trees next to a detached garage that stood behind the building I grew up in. That was the best and most popular hiding spot whenever we played hide and seek as kids and in my teen years I passed that bush on my way to town as that was my shortcut to the main street, instead of walking all around the block.
Clearly I’m an apartment kid, I’ve actually never lived in a house. But my old neighborhood was pretty kid friendly, which was good for an only kid like myself, as I got a lot of friends there.
We played outside as much as possible, especially during the summer break. I remember us driving our bikes or rollerblading. Instead of building actual goal or bases, we just marked the trees on the lawn and used those when we played soccer or baseball. Badminton was pretty popular too. I once got faux feather balls, made of yellow and pink / blue feathers and was sooo in love with them.
We loved to play hide and seek and there were so many places to hide! That nettle bush I mentioned in the beginning was very popular and of course I got stung quite a few times. That itches like crazy! On lazier days, we just threw a blanket under a tree and played with Barbie dolls or when we got older we just hung out there.
I actually don’t remember ever drinking nettle tea as a kid. I remember having nettle shampoo which has very little to do with nettle tea, but it’s something, right?
But drinking nettle tea just seemed like such an “old lady” thing to do at that age so I didn’t do it. It seems though that the older I get the more I’m able to cherish everything I ignored when I was younger, as I love nettle now. Life is a funny thing, isn’t it?
I’m putting nettle in the “spring hype” box, next to the asparagus, ramps and dandelion. All four can be found in nature and people seem to go crazy for these greens each year. I think wild asparagus and ramps are the most popular, with dandelion following closely. But I haven’t seen much mention of nettle, which spiked my interest.
I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t pick my own nettle. If I lived in an area with less traffic I might go out on a hunt, but buying some was just easier. The cashier at the store nicely said that buying nettle was stupid as she was pushing all my produce over the “beep line”, but at least it was cheap. How much can you charge for a weed anyway?
Making iced tea is embarrassingly easy and it’s hardly different from making regular tea. But the weather has been getting pretty warm, so iced tea seems like an obvious choice. Nettle has a distinct taste, it’s earthy and sort of grassy but still fresh tasting. Instead of making a really strong nettle tea, I prefer to add some citrus too it. Lime is my favorite and works wonderfully with nettle.
To balance out the sour lime and add some flavor to nettle, I make the tea with sugar. Not a lot, just 1/4 cup, so it doesn’t even come close to a classic sweet tea. Instead, I like to serve this lime nettle iced tea with homemade honey simple syrup. It’s aromatic and sweet and a great way to add more flavor to the tea if you want to do that. I love it, Rok however prefers the more natural tea sans honey.Print
Lime nettle iced tea + honey simple syrup
A refreshing, light tea perfect for spring and summer.
Recipe makes about 1 liter (2 pints) of iced tea and 240ml (1 cup) honey syrup.
- 1 liter (4 1/4 cups) water
- juice of 1 lime
- 55g (1/4 cup) sugar
- about 60g (2 cups) fresh nettle leaves
- 120ml (1/2 cup) honey of choice
- 120ml (1/2 cup) water
- ice cubes, fresh mint, one sliced lime
- In a medium saucepan, combine water with lime juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add nettle.
- Let steep for 10-15 minutes, then drain into a pitcher or bottle. Cool to room temperature, then continue cooling in the fridge.
- To make syrup, combine honey and water in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Transfer to a small jar or bottle and let cool to room temperature before using.
Serve chilled tea with ice cubes, few mint leaves and a slice of lemon. Add as much honey syrup as you wish and stir it in.
- Drink the tea within a day or two.
For a stronger taste you can let the nettle steep for longer or simply use more nettle.
Store honey simple syrup in the fridge for up to 14 days, shake before use. To make a stronger or lighter honey syrup adjust the amount of honey used. A lot depends on your preferences and the type of honey you use.
If you want to do more reading, there’s a great article on Serious Eats about honey and its use in cocktails.
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