Spring is here! So get your gloves on to forage for wild plants like nettles!
Stinging nettles may not spring to mind as being particularly good for you, particularly should you stumble through a patch barefoot. But when foraged and cooked just right they are an incredible superfood.
Packed with nutrition and flavour, nettles have high quantities of iron, calcium, vitamin A and K. In medieval Europe, they were used medicinally as a diuretic and to treat joint pain.
They also happen to make the most delicious soup, which is a doddle to make.
Let's go for it?
Make sure that you harvest tender young shoots of nettle as the more mature ones tend to be high in metals that irritate the kidneys.
Always gather in an area you know isn't polluted or where animals roam freely.
If in doubt that you have identified the correct herb to use- please ALWAYS contact a qualified medical herbalist to clarify. This is crucial as many herbs have look a likes that are highly poisonous.
250g Young Nettle leaves
50ml vegetable oil
1 small onion
250g potatoes- peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tsp each of chopped fresh marjoram, sage and lemon thyme (half amount dried herb as an alternative)
1 tbsp fresh chopped lovage (optional)
2 tbsp cream (oat cream or soya cream works very well too)
900ml bouillion/ milk/ dairy-free milk/ half of each
2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
pinch chilli/ salt and pepper to season to tasteMethod:
- Carefully harvest young nettle leaves.
- Using gloves and scissors pick only the fresh young tops of the nettle.
- Remove any stalks and wash leaves in a sieve
- Heat oil gently in a thick-bottomed saucepan, add onions, and saute gently until transparent.
- Add the potatoes and continue to sautee 5-10 mins without browning.
- Add the nettles and cook for another 5 mins.
- Add herbs and spices and fluid of choice.
- simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Allow the mix to cool slightly and then blend to a creamy soup.
- Stir in cream, season to liking, and sprinkle fresh parsley on top.
Once cooked nettles thankfully lose their sting and have a light spinach flavour.
Recipe adapted with kind permission from Gaby Wieland's from Neantog Cookbook.
If you like this recipe, you might like The Neantog Cookbook
The Neantog Cookbook offers a selection of recipes of soups, salads, mains, and sides that work well with them along with ideas for breakfast and drinks, baking, and desserts. If you have food intolerances you will find recipes that are glutenfree, dairyfree, yeastfree, and vegan.