Nettles (Urtica dioica) are a common shrub native to Europe and Asia. The plants have heart-shaped leaves and stems that are covered in fine hairs which cause pain, redness and swelling if brushed against.
Nettles have a number of health benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, immunostimulatory, anti-infectious, hypotensive, antiulcer activities and cardiovascular disease prevention.
When foraging for nettles, always wear gloves, a long-sleeved top and long pants to prevent being stung and choose a clean location away from busy roads and pollution.
A quick and easy soup recipe using wild nettle
- 1 Medium saucepan
- 1 Blender
- 1 finely chopped white or yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 400 grams stinging nettles, washed, and stems removed
- 1/3 cup double cream
- 1 bay leaf
- Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan and add the garlic and onion, cook until golden.
- Rinse the nettle leaves thoroughly and remove any tough stems, set aside.
- Add the nettle leaves to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are wilted.
- Add the chicken or vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a blender, puree until smooth.
- Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and crusty bread.
- Vitamins: A, B, C and K
- Minerals: Iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium
- Amino acids: Threonine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, lysine, histidine, methionine