Saturday, 29 March 2014

Wild Food Weekends : Stinging Nettle Soup

Stinging nettles are probably one of the best known plants in the UK due to the painful sting you get from their jagged leaves. They can be found throughout the countryside, on waste grounds and on river and stream banks due to their love of damp and nutrient-rich soils! I always notice them under apple trees where apples have fallen or on building sites where those 'caught short' provide nutrients to the soil through their wee (although I think most reputable builders use portaloo's now!)

In Dorset, The 16th Century Bottle Inn is home to the world nettle eating championships, which this year takes place on Saturday, the 7th June 2014. Brave souls compete to eat the most leaves - owch! 

My children love picking nettles as they have an element of danger! Will they get stung through their gardening gloves? We carefully pick the tops of the fresh young plants in spring, and never pick from anywhere that could be a local 'dog wee' place or roadside.

Once we have picked the nettles we make them into a lovely green coloured soup, which is full of calcium, protein and vitamin C and is really tasty served with fresh crusty bread and some bacon croutons, here's our recipe:-

Stinging nettle soup

serves 4 

olive oil
1 large onion
1 large potato
2 diced parsnips
300g washed stinging nettle leaves - the stalks are too stringy
(or 250g nettles and 50g wild garlic)
1 litre of vegetable stock
75g butter
50ml of double cream

  • heat a good glug of olive oil in a pan
  • add the onion, potato and carrot to the pan
  • cook until the vegetables become soft
  • add in the vegetable stock and cook for 10 minutes on a moderate heat
  • once all the vegetables are soft add the nettles and then blend the soup
  • take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter and cream before seasoning and serving
*don't eat an excessive amount as nettles can cause kidney problems if eaten in bulk.

*don't forget to follow the foragers code


  1. Ha! This made me chuckle...I've always wanted to make nettle soup but I've been scarred. I grew up in the village where Cornish Yarg started. Its a very scrummy cheese wrapped in nettles. The farm would pay you £1 for 1lb of nettles picked. My friends and I thought that was easy money. So one summer's day we began to collect the leaves... and quickly realised 1lb of nettle leaves meant A LOT of stings (despite the gloves) and gave up our plan pretty much that day!

  2. I just discovered nettles in my garden, so you have inspired me to get creative with them! I was planning to just leave them for the wildlife to enjoy, I'll see how many I can get going! :)


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