This is a beautiful recipe for a creamy wild nettle soup cooked with garlic and potatoes and topped with a delicious spicy granola. Learn about the healthy benefits of stinging nettles, where to forage for them and how to harvest them without getting stung . Its a delicious and healthy dish perfect as a starter or for lunch.
When I think about nettles I will always come up with the memory of my baby boy having a little bicycle accident and falling into the stinging nettles. Of course he was very upset and had a rash along his legs which weren’t covered with clothes but fortunately he survived 😉 . But stinging nettles not only sting they have a lot of healthy benefits too .
Creamy wild nettle soup with garlic and spicy Granola – healthy and delcious
Where to forage for these healthy plants
These little healthy stinging plants are my favourite food to forage for in Spring and summer . Wild nettle soup is always on our meal plan during these months.
Stinging nettles are one of the first plants growing in spring even when the ground is still partly covered with snow you’ll find them popping up .
These plants love rich moist soil and you mostly will find them along waterways like rivers, lakes, ditches and streams, or along fence lines and on the edges properties. They always grow in thick tense patches and that’s already a sign that you have found nettles and not another unwanted weed which may not sting when touched ;-).
Stinging nettles have a very distinct design and shape and can grow very high during the summer month. The leaves are pointed at the tips and serrated along the outer edges (like a serrated kitchen knife). The base of the leaves are sort of heart-shaped and they grow in pairs opposite one another, alternating in direction along the length of the stem. The leaves and stems are covered with fine tiny hairs, which give the sting when touched.
When you want to be 100 percent sure if it’s a stinging nettle just touch the leaves. When you can feel the sting you found your nettles 😉
The best way to harvest stinging nettles
The best thing you can do when foraging for them is to cover as much of your body in clothes as possible. That means long shirt, jeans, closed shoes and cloves. Thick cloves with an extra layer of rubber are the best. Thin cotton cloves won’t prevent you from getting stung. I always put the harvested nettles in a cotton back where they can still breath.
Once you’re all geared up with gloves, harvest nettles by either cutting or pinching them off just above a set of leaves. Much like basil, nettles will produce new shoots if they are harvested just above a set of leaves. I usually harvest the top two to three sets of leaves and leave the rest of the plant as the lower leaves and stems are tougher and woodier anyway. Before you put the nettles in your basket or bag give them a good shake to get rid of the bugs and beetles. Only go for the young and tender tops and pass any older or insect-eaten nettles. Only fresh and tender nettles for our creamy wild nettles soup with garlic and spicy granola 😉 .
What to do with the stinging nettles when you are back home
When I’m at home the first thing I do is giving the nettles a good wash. I tunk them in batches into cold water to get rid of the dirt bugs or other residue. I do this with gloves of course. After that I pick of the leaves and try them off a little bit with a kitchen towel and prepare them for my creamy wild nettle soup with garlic, butter and some potatoes.
When I want to try them for tea I put them loosely on a baking tray and let dry out completely with a regular turning to ensure that no leaves mold .
Stinging nettles lose their sting when they are either cooked or dried. NEVER EAT THEM RAW! You don’t want to be adding fresh stinging nettles to your salads, but a light sauté is all they need to wilt the stinging hairs and make them edible.
Potential health benefits of the wild nettles
- Stinging nettles contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, polyphenols and pigments – many of which act as antioxidants inside your body.
- They may help suppress inflammation, which in turn could aid inflammatory conditions, including arthritis
- soothes allergies.
- These stinging plants may help reduce prostate size and treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland in men with BPH .
- They may treat hay fever.
- The stinging nettles may help lower blood pressure by allowing your blood vessels to relax and reducing the force of your heart contractions
- They may help lowering blood sugar levels.
6 Reasons why I love to cook my creamy wild nettle soup
- First of all nettles have a much finer and flavourful taste than spinach
- Foraging with my kids for our own food is such a fun occupation and the kids learn something about self-sufficiency
- Sauteed nettles, garlic and cream makes such a perfect combination
- The soup recipe is easy and quick and on the table in under 1 hour
- The spicy granola is such a great crunchy and delicious add in
- The healthy dish is perfect as a starter or for lunch
Take an afternoon off and thrive with your kids through the woods and along the streams and river banks. Enjoy nature and some good family quality time while foraging stinging nettles for this quick, delicious and healthy soup.
If you love wandering through the woulds and cooking with plants you collected with your kids, you may like our recipe for homemade elderflower syrup.
Sweet warm hugs, Nina <3
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Gorgeous green recipe. The picture is stunning. Well done ladies. Best. Silvie
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