Now is a great time to be harvesting one of our most underrated – yet free – superfoods, with its fresh shoots packed full of health benefitting proteins and nutrients, including vitamin A , calcium and iron. Nettles can help strengthen our organs, including the immune system, helping combat illnesses and boosting our resilience against disease.
One way of using nettles is to make a soup – and it happens to be one I love. Having said that, it may not be to everyone’s taste, being the colour of alien snot and with a somewhat fibrous nature. But it certainly tastes hearty, and rather like Popeye after his can of spinach, I’m sure I feel better for it afterwards!
Anyway, for those who are tempted to give it a try, here is a tried and tested recipe:
- 1 tbsp olive oil , plus extra for drizzling
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 leek, washed and finely sliced
- 1 large floury potato, thinly sliced
- 1litre of vegetable stock
- 400g stinging or dead nettles (pick and wash the leaves)
- 50g butter, diced
- 50ml double cream
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, leek and potato, and cook for 10 mins until the vegetables start to soften. Add the stock and cook for a further 10-15 mins until the potato is soft.
Add the nettle leaves, simmer for 1 min to wilt, then blend the soup. Season to taste, then stir in the butter and cream. Serve the soup drizzled with extra oil and scattered with dead nettle flowers, if you have them.