One of my favorite times of year; the on-set of spring. Coming out of a long, dark and wet winter, practically with moss growing on our backs, us Pacific Northwesterners are always grateful for the first hints of spring. Crocuses, daffodils, burgeoning buds, and the ever-so-delicious nettle. In a sleepy forest, struggling to recover from a long winter’s nap, the nettle leaps forth announcing spring’s emminent return. If that’s not cause for pause and rejoicing–I don’t know what is…
This year, DH, Sweet Toddler and I all went to our favorite harvest spot. DH and I gathered 2 paper grocery sacks full, while Sweet toddler got to ride on her Daddy’s back. (Mama gets a reprieve because she already has to carry one baby around) 🙂 Just as we had done the year before, we carefully gathered the stinging nettle, taking care to only harvest the top third of the plant, to ensure that the plant would flourish and we could all meet again next year.
With last year’s harvest, I made a delicious nettle pesto, a few pizza dishes, a pasta dish, made tea, and dried them for use throughout the year.
This year, we did all of that, and then some, experimenting with a few nettle soups. They were delicious! The first was ridiculously simple, and was a variation of an egg drop soup:
Nettle and Egg Soup
- 4-6 cups of veggie stock or bone broth
- 1-2 generous handfuls of nettle
- 2-3 eggs
Heat broth or stock in a small saucepan until it reaches a gentle boil. Wearing gloves, clip the leaves from the nettle stalks using kitchen shears until you gather your handfuls. Toss the nettle into the pot and allow to fully wilt. Crack eggs into the pot and whisk rapidly. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
The second soup is a variation on a Scandanavian nettle soup. It uses nettle and potatoes. It was earthy and delicious, and came together quickly, although not as quickly as the first soup.
Nettle and Potato Soup
- 2 handfuls of nettle
- 1 onion
- 2-3 potatoes, medium to large size, peeled
- 3 cloves garlic
- 7-8 cups of water
- salt and pepper to taste
- *optional* a dash of spices such as celery seed, parsley, basil, thyme, chive, etc.Click here for my favorite place to buy high quality, organic bulk spices
Wearing gloves, clip nettle leaves from the stalks using kitchen shears, until you have gathered 2 handfuls. In a food processor or blender, combine nettle leaves, onion and garlic with one cup of water and puree. Simmer pureed mixture and remaining water on the stovetop for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes into the soup and add salt and pepper to taste.
While fresh nettles can’t be beat, if you don’t have access to them you can buy high quality, organic, dried nettle leaf or powder for use in tea, tincturing, oil infusions, cooking, etc.
Nettles are nutrient rich and high in vitamins and hard to get minerals. They are nutrative, cleansing, and are great for a number of ailments and overall wellness. However, if you are unsure if consuming nettles is right for you, please do your own research and consult your own doctor. Information found in this blog post is not a substitute for professional meical advice.
What is your favorite way to use nettles? Share your recipes in the comments below, or find me on Facebook here.
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