Nettle Soup – I promise it’s delicious

Nettle soup? I hear you say…

Yes, I say. It’s actually delicious and very good for you. It’s also easy to make and a great way to do something with nettles if you have them in your garden.

We look at nettles as a weed, and a pest, and something that can cause harm when we get too close and they sting us, but they actually contain a lot of nutrients and if you cook them, can be made into a delicious, healthy and gorgeous green soup.

They contain

  • itamins: Vitamins A, C and K, as well as several B vitamins
  • Minerals: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium
  • Fats: Linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid
  • Amino acids: All of the essential amino acids
  • Polyphenols: Kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids
  • Pigments: Beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids

And they are not that hard to deal with to remove their sting to make them edible either. I firt had nettle soup as a child, staying with a friend from school who’s mum at the time was considered a bit of a hippy and remmeber being shocked and suprised you could eat anything linked to nettles, but I have also eaten it in restaurants as well and the poor maligned netttle actually can be used for good.

Nettle Soup

Because I am not a fancy or creative gardener, and prefer to just cover the basics of tidy and practical, and admire other peoples much more manicured gardens instead, we do have a patch of nettles in our back garden. I let them grow because I am a fan of the wildlife they attract and I don’t use weedkillers in our garden (again, harmfull to wildlife) but occasionally they get a bit over grown so I cut them back and sometimes I make soup with them.

“But Nettles sting!” You say.

Yes, they do, so you need to blanche them first. See below. I primise you can eat them and you won’t end up with a stung throat and mouth.

For soup for 4 people you need about what I would describe is about a bucket of youngish nettle heads. Put gloves on and pick the top and greenest parts of younger plants. Make sure you give them a thorough rinse to remove any bugs or insects. You don’t need to chop or do anything to them before you blanche them. Nettles have a slightly stronger taste than spinach but taste similar and this soup is like a more concentrated form of spinach, I think. It’s refreshing and healthy. You can serve this cold too if you like.

This recipe uses garlic, and in fact, I use ramson or wild garlic from my garden too, but normal garlic works fine as well.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped or a handful of ramson plants finely chopped
  • 1 large floury potato (Maris Piper or similar), thinly sliced
  • 1l vegetable stock
  • 400g stinging or Dead nettles, washed, leaves picked (see tips below)
  • 50ml double cream or vegan cream if you prefer and are dairy free.

To blanche and make the nettles safe – Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Wearing protective gloves, transfer the nettle tops into the boiling water. Blanch for 2 minutes.

Use tongs to lift the wilted blanched nettles out of the pot and transfer to the bowl of ice water to shock them. Strain in a colander.

To make the soup:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, garlic or ramson plants and potato, and cook for 10 mins until the vegetables start to soften.
  3. Add the stock and cook for a further 10-15 mins until the potato is soft.
  4. Add the nettle leaves, simmer for 1 min to wilt,
  5. then blend the soup. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.
  6. Then stir in your cream.
  7. Serve the soup drizzled with extra oil and with some warm crusty bread.
Nettle Soup

Surprise people, and try it. I promise nettle soup is not as scary as it sounds.

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Posted in Food is life, Recipes.

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