Stinging Nettles Recipe: Nettle Soup
One of the most exciting things about late winter is that stinging nettles start to poke their heads up above the Earth. By early Spring, we harvest them regularly to dry for winter and to make delicious nettle recipes.
The other day I taught a daylong class on stinging nettles at Wilderness Awareness School. Believe it or not, there is enough material.
Stinging nettles are among the most nutritious of wild foods. When it is cooked, the sting disappears, leaving behind a delectable herb packed with more vitamins and minerals than you can imagine. It is truly a super-food and its healthful qualities are the ultimate medicine.
Now, instead of listing a nettle recipe with exact amounts of this or that, I am going to approach this nettle recipe a little differently. This way you will remember it, and will not have to reference this page when you are ready to make your soup.
Basically, start this nettle recipe as you would many soup recipes… well, I suppose that’s starting how I would make a soup, which is to sauté some onion, garlic and chopped potato on the bottom of a soup pot. How much is up to you. How much onion and garlic do you like? Me? I like LOTS!
Then, I fill the pot half way with water, or water and stock (vegetable or chicken broth). Turn on the heat.
Once the water is simmering, I jam the pot FULL of stinging nettles. You can chop the stinging nettles up a bit if you like. It’s a bit easier to make this way. I continue to simmer the soup until the potatoes are soft.
Then, serve it up! Adding a little salt is nice as well.
How’s that for a simple to remember nettle recipe? You can do some variations on this as well. Put some in a blender, add some milk, and make crème of nettle soup. See! It’s easy.
I suppose my point is that nettles are a very versatile herb. In the Spring time, any recipe that calls for something green becomes a nettle recipe. You can make nettle lasagna with your favorite spinach lasagna recipe or nettle pesto with any old basil pesto recipe. You can even nettle spanakopita! One of the easiest things is to steam some nettles, and serve them up with a little Parmesan cheese.
Here are a couple photos from our class…
Now, remember… pick your nettles before they flower. They are best picked when they are 4-12 inches tall, before their stalks get too tough.
If you want to learn about wild plants, you need to go out and make meals or remedies with them. Then, as you make your meal, look up some facts in a book.
The next dish you make with nettle, look it up again in the same or a different book. This time, you’ll remember even more. Before you know it, you’ll become great friends with stinging nettle.
If you follow this formula, you’ll develop a wonderful relationship with several herbs, and you’ll be quite the herbalist! AND, you’ll be that much healthier.
Now, go out and pick some nettles. Enjoy!