Food, foraging & recipes

Nettle soup for the soul

Picking stinging nettles and making lovely nettle soup, full of goodness that will give your immune system a boost before winter sets in.
Picking stinging nettles and making lovely nettle soup, full of goodness that will give your immune system a boost before winter sets in.

After recently posting a picture of nettle soup (see above) in Elizabeth’s top ten autumn activities, I’ve been asked for the recipe.  One of the things I love about living in the middle of nowhere, and a little challenge I set myself, is seeing how much I can forage and incorporate into meals.  Wild herbs, nuts, berries, fruit, mushrooms and yes, stinging nettles.

Stinging nettles are a great source of calcium, magnesium, vitamins and chlorophyll and will help to boost our immunity as we head into winter.  The soup is delicious but you can also make nettle tea that can be used for a myriad of complaints from arthritis and asthma to gout and kidney stones.  Nettle soup was traditionally a springtime dish but you may find, like I did, that the warm autumn weather has encouraged new growth.

Be sure to wear thick gloves when picking nettles and try to only use the very top leaves of the plant to get the best flavour.  This is the recipe I use:

You will need:

  • 1oz/25g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 14oz/400g potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1lb/450g nettles (tops only)
  • 1 litre vegetable/chicken stock
  • 150ml crème fraiche
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg

Melt the butter in a pan, adding the onions and garlic and frying gently for ten minutes or so.  Add the potatoes and nettles, frying for a couple of minutes before adding the stock.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes.  Blend and then add the crème fraiche, salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Et voilà!  I did try leaving the potatoes out but found the taste pretty strong.  If you don’t want potatoes you could try substituting them with something like courgette instead.  Enjoy!

NB. This recipe is taken from smiley James Wong’s Grow Your Own Drugs recipes and remedies book.

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