Fancy an easy foraging adventure? Nettles may not be the first thing you’d plan for dinner, but these prickly plants are suprisingly tasty when cooked, and have a long history as a foodstuff. Native Americans would harvest the young plant in spring, and nettle cordial can be traced back to the Romans. Stinging nettles taste similar to spinach and are very good for you – they have an unusually high protein content for a vegetable and are rich in vitamins A, C, D, iron, potassium and calcium. Read more amazing facts about the versatile nettle here.
Nettles grow in abundance everywhere in the UK, and are easily recognisable. Take thick gloves and collect the biggest leaves, then wash them in hot water, neutralising the stinging chemicals and making them safe to eat.
Easy nettle soup
carrier bag full of nettles
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 potato, cooked and cubed
1 litre stock
Spoonful of crème fraîche.
Wearing gloves, pick over the nettles and wash them carefully and thoroughly in hot water, discarding the tougher stalks.
Melt the butter in a large pan and fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until soft.
Add the cooked potato and the stock and pile in the nettles.
Bring everything to the boil and simmer for 5-15 minutes, until the nettles are tender.
Whizz in a blender and serve garnished with crème fraîche.