Food is Medicine: Stinging Nettle Vinegar

Food is Medicine: Stinging Nettle Vinegar

The soil is warming and the nettles are waking up! How intelligent that the natural world offers us the great remedy of nettles in early spring to get us moving, detoxifying, and energizing into the new season.

Nettle vinegar is a great choice for spring eating as its bitter and sour effects has a detoxifying effect on the liver, while the nutrient profile helps to nourish and restore our tissues. Nettles are rich in iron, calcium, and potassium while also providing a good source of B vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, and K. A powerhouse of an herb, nettles also help to build blood and restore the adrenal glands, which contribute to its invigorating effects.

Many of us have learned the lesson of the stinging tendrils of nettles – the hairs underneath the leaves and along the stem will leave a stinging sensation on skin contact. Don’t worry, this effect is inactivated when we cook with nettles, but do be careful when handling the fresh plant.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that your spring season brings lots of beautiful green, fresh, nutrient-rich foods to your table. This vinegar takes 3-6 weeks to prepare, but will leave you stocked with a nutrient dense source to incorporate into marinades and dressings. If stored properly in a cool, dark cabinet, it should last for a year.

Nettle Vinegar

Adapted from the Herbal Academy


Dried Nettle
Note: If you do not have nettles in your garden or yard, you can always source low-cost organic dried nettles from our pharmacy.

Raw, unpasteurized organic apple cider vinegar

Glass Jar
Note: Because vinegar can have corrosive effects on metal, you will need to use a non-reactive container such as a glass jar, ideally with a non-reactive lid. If you are uncertain if your lid will work, you can place a few pieces of wax paper between the jar and lid and it will be safely sealed.


Fill the jar 1⁄4 full with nettles.

Pour enough apple cider vinegar to fill the jar, ensuring all nettles are covered by a couple of inches.

Cover the jar with lid, or wax paper and lid.

Let it sit in a cool dark place for 3-6 weeks and shake occasionally. If the dried nettle has soaked up all the vinegar, just add some more vinegar as needed.

Strain and get creative with your batch of nettle vinegar.

*Dr. Denise Note:

Spring and summer are seasons for eating light—toss this vinegar with olive oil on greens such as early lettuce, mustard greens, and dandelion greens for a nutritive liver cleanse.

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