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Nettle soup

Using rubber gloves, remove the leaves from the nettles, discarding the stalks. Give them a good wash and drain.

Place a pan on a medium to low heat with a knob of butter in. Dice and add the onion and sweat for a few minutes.

Peal the potato and dice into small cubes, also dice the leek and carrot and add to the pan.

Add the milk, stock and nettle leaves. Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Blend or purée the soup until smooth.

Serve with a little drizzle of double cream.

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This recipe is probably what most people think of when county cooking and foraging comes into conversation. Nettles are best to eat in spring and early summer, when the plants are younger and not as bitter.

Take the sting out of foraging…

The way that nettles sting is by tiny hollow hairs on the surface of the leaves that transfer formic acid which is the irritant. After picking the leaves they will wilt and so the hairs become less erect, reducing the chances of getting stung. It is only when cooked that the formic acid is broken down, so avoid nettle salads at all costs.

If you do get stung, dock leaves are the long standing remedy for relief. There is a lot of discussion into the reasons behind rubbing a crushed dock over a sting, but placebo or not, it seems to do the job!

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Brayford, Devon
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