Nettle soup is a traditional springtime dish, eaten for both its nutrition and taste. Don’t worry – nettles don’t sting when cooked!
Don’t gather nettles or other wild food beside a busy road where it will have been contaminated by traffic fumes. If you keep cutting them you’ll get a regular supply of fresh young leaves, though they can get a bit insect infested during the summer! The older leaves are not good to eat and are hard on the digestive system.
Below are two different recipes for soup.
A ‘cream of’ style nettle soup
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable margarine or oil
- 2 tablespoons of white flour
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Freshly picked and washed young nettles (several good handfuls – picked with gloves and caution!)
- 2 cups soya milk (tesco value is cheap and organic too) OR a handful of soaked cashew nuts
- 1 cup water or stock
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil or marg. for a few minutes then stir in the nettles (no need to chop or remove stalks) until they soften. Stir in the flour and gradually add the soya milk and water or stock, stirring all the time. Add seasonings and blend.
Soup with nettles and potatoes
Ingredient quantities are totally adjustable:
Do an onion and 5 garlic cloves in some oil. Add half head of celery and two potatoes, cover with water, bring to boil and simmer till soft. Then add the gathered nettles, some sage and parsley (feel free to experiment with other herbs but sage is great in this), a stock cube and salt to taste. Cook for for a few minutes and blend.
Food for Free by Richard Mabey is a great guide to Britain’s wild foods. A favourite reference tool of ours, detailing wild herbs, berries, greens, sea vegetables and fungi.
Another good nettle recipe, Minty Pea and Nettle Soup is to be found here on the vegan family house site.