Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nettle soup

The stinging nettle is a much maligned plant, but is actually very useful and highly nutritious. They contain high quantities of iron and also vitamin C, which is needed for our bodies to make proper use of the iron, so they're great for correcting anaemia. They're also good for arthritis, rheumatism, gout and eczema. Free food and medicine! They make great soup, which is what we did yesterday:

You need to harvest them in the spring or early summer - any later and they taste slightly bitter. Just pick the sweet tops and discard any woody stems. And if you don't like being stung, wear gloves and long sleeves of course.

First we found a good healthy crop:

And we picked a couple of baskets full:

Next we warmed some olive oil in a big pan:

... chopped onions and cooked those in the oil on a medium heat until soft:

Next we chopped about 4 cloves of garlic and about 8 medium sized potatoes, cut into cubes about an inch wide, added these to the pan and stirred:

Next we put a couple of stock cubes in. We used vegetarian ones to cater for our non-meateaters, but meat stock is just as good:

Sprinkled them on...

And washed the nettles and put those in too.

Finally we added boiling water from the kettle - about 2 pints, but this would depend on the size of your pan obviously. We stirred it, then put the lid on and cooked for about 15 mins until the potatoes were soft.

Next it all got blended:

Until it looked like this:

And here's our chief taster, who went from "Ewww, I'm not eating nettles!" to "Mmmmm! Can I have some more please?" in about 3 minutes flat ;-)


Blogger Ruth said...

Looks yummy.

1:35 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

It is! Nobody ever believes it until they taste it ;-)

1:40 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Lin said...

I just told my son that you could eat nettle soup. His reaction was: Ouch!

I have to admit that it doesn't really appeal to me, one of those things that I would rather eat and then find out what it was IYSWIM.

2:20 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

LOL! I've been making this soup for so many years that it's just normal in our house, but we've had a few funny incidents when we've forgotten it's not the case in most other houses! Especially when we serve it up to visitors, airily saying: "Have some nettle soup," then we wonder why they get strange looks on their faces ;-)

3:29 pm, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous jax said...

I've fancied trying it for a while, but somehow I just never get around to it.

7:15 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

That's kind of my problem too Jax. I only manage it once or maybe twice most years, when I would enjoy it more often. But it's just easier to go and buy food instead of picking it, for some reason. And I've got a field full of nettles and Asda is 2 miles away! How does that work then? I'll blame the ubiquitous *them*, for brainwashing me so well ;-)

7:23 pm, May 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe. I've been needing a push to get going with our massive patches of nettles :)

Luv 'EF' x

7:49 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Claire said...

Yeah, thanks for the recips :) I made this last year but didn't blend it (and it did not get eaten - what was I thining!). I think that final blending makes a big difference. My son just looked at the step by step photos and now it's on our to-do list for tomorrow!

We have used dandelions already in the kitchen this year, my boys get excited by the picking, so nettles (even more exciting because they *sting*) are a must now!


8:29 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Elaine said...

I have the nettle patch
not sure about the mettle though

10:37 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Tim said...

Mmm, I do like nettle soup.

11:35 pm, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Louise said...

I love that soup. I made some and passed it on to my Mum who despite thinking she'd get a stung tongue, ate it and enjoyed it!

9:35 am, May 07, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Funny how many people think they'll get their mouth stung!

Ooh Claire what did you do with the dandelions? We tried dandelion coffee once but it wasn't half as nice as Symington's. Not sure what we did differently! Except I think they add lactose to theirs.

9:39 am, May 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've tried it, but it looks nice!

I'll let you know how it goes!

4:54 pm, May 07, 2007  

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