I must admit that I get really excited about adding wild nettles into my springtime cuisine. Mother Earth is an amazing friend. If we respect her and take the time to connect, she unveils a carpet of super foods without the need for us to rush off and fill our shopping baskets or spend a small fortune on supplements in supermarkets or health food stores. Nettles are jam packed with high vibrational goodness and have been well documented throughout the aeons for a myriad of health benefits. They are said to help urinary tract infections, act as a diuretic, help break down kidney stones, destroy internal parasites, to relieve gas/colitis/coeliac disease, alleviate asthma, hay fever, hives, dermatitis, arthritis and even help prevent hair loss. There seems to be an endless list of benefits, making this a must-have addition to our diet. As if all that isn’t enough, nettles are also high in chlorophyll, iron, potassium, silica, sulphur and vitamins C, A & B, offering a rich infusion of nutrients. The fact that they provide a dose of serotonin and acetylcholine (neurotransmitters that help us find a sense of calm and fulfillment) really does it for me. When I eat them, my body just says ‘yes!’.
The best time to pick nettles is before they start developing seeds. The seed produces an irritant that may bother some folk. Spring is normally the best time to gather them, although if you cut them right back after the first seeding, you will get new growth later in the season too. The youngest, freshest leaves, without the stalks, are optimal. Unless you are feeling brave, I recommend gathering stinging nettles with rubber gloves. Drying or soaking in water, sauce or oil will instantly remove the sting, making them edible both raw and cooked.
So, nettle soup! You can toss nettles in to lots of different dishes, although if you want a super infusion of this nutritious gem then you might enjoy my thick, green, ‘Very Nettle’ soup.
Very Nettle Soup Recipe
- 200g fresh nettles
(this is about one large salad serving bowl full)
- 1 large onion
- 1 large stalk of celery
- 1 large potato (approx 300g)
- 500ml (about a pint) fresh water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch of black pepper (optional)
- 75ml coconut cream (optional)
- Dash of olive oil (to saute onion)
- Chive flowers to garnish (optional)
- Chop onion and saute for a couple of minutes using the olive oil in a medium sized pan.
- Chop potato and celery roughly in to small chunks.
- After a couple of minutes add the water, along with the potatoes, celery, salt and pepper and bring pan back to the boil. Once it is boiling turn down to a simmer and prepare the nettles.
- Preparing nettles is a simple art once you know how. Use rubber gloves and place them in a large colander to rinse if necessary. Shake off any excess water and pick the leaves off the stems. Once you have done this (still with gloves on) use a large sharp knife to roughly chop them up. Be really careful at this stage to avoid cutting through your rubber gloves (I’ve seen this happen so many times, so stay aware).
- After about 15 minutes of cooking the contents of the pan, add in the nettles. Stir in if needed and allow to cook for a few more minutes. If you love coconut and have coconut cream available you might like to add some at this stage for a creamier effect (although this is optional).
- Blend the soup and then serve along with some delicious spelt bread or home made oatcakes.
Given my passion for recipes my cookbook also has a few other really delicious nettle recipes such as ‘Hempy Nettled Potatoes’, ‘Nettle & Mushroom Stir-fry’, ‘Trin’s Soul Food Special’ (nettles in a sweet potato, coconut & shiitake mushroom soup) and ‘Sun-dried Tomato & Nettle Pate’. You can find out more about my book here: Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen.
Related articles that you might find of interest:
Essential Guide to Foraging in a Temperate Zone (with 12 wild plants anyone can find)
All about Dandelions and their Health Benefits
Please feel free to share, but be sure to link back to my website.
I finally foraged and made some of this – it has turned out very tasty and I added butter beans for a bit of protein. Very hearty but I think I underestimated the amount of nettles as mine’s not as green.
Delighted to hear that Jude. Butter beans – excellent idea. You certainly can play with the amount of nettles – less works fine too as you found out.
I have just discovered your website through ‘Wake up World’. Your recipes are amazing and I am going to start with the Sweet Potato and Turmeric Falafels.
Just a question re:Very Nettle Soup recipe – can dried nettle be used – can’t find fresh ??
Thanks for tuning in. The sweet potato falafels are one of my absolute favourites – you’ll love them.
I’ve actually never used dried nettles in this type of recipe or cooking – only ever used them for nettle tea. It would certainly work better with fresh nettles for this particular dish.
Thank you so much for your super quick reply.I live on the outskirts of Melbourne( Werribee ) Will have to see if another suburb closer to city or the city markets may have Nettle.
I’ll be going to Bunnings in the morning to buy some Nettle Seeds to grow.
Can’t wait to start cooking 🙂
Just made this….first time ever buying and cooking nettles. I think they were clean because there wasn’t much stem if any at all and there weren’t any pricklies…I was hesitant to touch them and even afraid to taste the soup but of course, as all your recipies are, it is amazing!!! Thanks Trinity. Much lvoe. xo
Well done. Nettles are so worth it. You’ll love the Minted Nettle & Pea Soup that I posted earlier this week too.