Want a quick, easy and nourishing soup for Spring? Want to eat more greens? Want to do both of these things while saving money on your grocery bill? Have I got the soup for you.
This recipe was a last minute light supper for us over the weekend. I was out picking more clivers for my detox infusion, and came across a massive patch of stinging nettles. So I picked some, and instead of making nettle tea, I experimented with a soup. Oh yum. Even Zak loved this one. If you want to try eating wild food, this recipe is a great starting point!
Why would I want to eat wild food?
Eating wild, foraged food is becoming more popular. Actually it’s the ultimate vintage skill, it’s how our ancestors ate for generations – just eating what’s around you! But even in our modern lives, I think there are benefits to eating wild foods:
- Wild foods are organic
- Wild foods are local
- Wild foods taste good
- And wild foods are free!
What are the benefits of stinging nettles?
Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are in the top 10 list of useful wild plants for most herbalists. According to Rosemary Gladstar, nettles are:
- Full of vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium, silicon and magnesium
- An all around tonic herb to strengthen and tone the body
- Reproductive tonic for men and women, even alleviating PMS and menopausal symptoms
- Strengthens kidneys and liver
- Excellent for allergies and hay fever
I like nettles because they grow abundantly everywhere, and they’re really easy to identify.
How do I pick stinging nettles?
First, check out my guidelines for foraging.
Now, make sure you’ve identified the correct plant. You can find more information on stinging nettles here.
You probably want to wear gloves for this, because as the name implies, stinging nettles sting!
Just pick the tops of the stinging nettles, this is the youngest, softest part of the nettle plant. Just pull off the top at a leaf-intersection so you have a few leaves and the tops. Get a few double handfuls of stinging nettle tops for this recipe.
Stinging Nettle Soup
2 big handfuls of stinging nettle tops, rinsed
1 large potato, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
1 stock cube (or even better, use 1 L or 4 cups homemade chicken stock)
1 onion, sliced.
1 Tb butter (or olive oil)
1 tsp dried thyme or mixed herbs (or 1 TB chopped fresh herbs)
optional: cream or sour cream to serve
Personally, whenever I make soup, I always add a little less water/stock in the beginning – because you can always add more after blending the soup if it’s too thick. It’s easy to thin down a thick soup – but a lot harder to thicken up a soup that’s too watery!
- In a soup pan, sautee the sliced onion in the butter/oil until soft.
- Add the potato and sautee for a few minutes
- Crumble in the stock cube, thyme, and 4 cups (1 Liter) water or add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
- While the water is still bubbling, throw in the nettle tops and stir into the simmering water. Cover. The heat will deactivate their sting. Simmer for at least 5-10 minutes more.
- Now we need to blend the soup to make it smooth. The best way is to use an immersion (stick) blender. Remove the soup from the heat, and blend until smooth. Alternatively you can put the soup in a regular blender, but be careful and never fill the blender more than half-full, the soup is REALLY hot and you don’t want to to splatter!
- Serve with crusty bread and a swirl of yogurt, cream or sour cream if you like! Enjoy!
Have you ever eaten wild food? Will you try this stinging nettle recipe? Let us know in the comments!