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Nettle Soup

Nettle Picking Tip

The whole nettle -leaf and stem- is edible but the best-tasting part is the top five centimetres of the plant. Young nettles are what you’re looking for, tear the tops off or cut them with scissors. Light green leaves and green stems are good, avoid the ones that are turning purple and nettles that have flowered.  We’re coming to the end of the nettle-picking season, but after a chilly start to the spring, there are still plenty of flavourful nettles around. Nettles are not great lovers of direct sunlight so usually, the freshest and greenest ones are near a hedgerow or amongst the trees. Always use gloves when handling, and wash thoroughly before use.

Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

500g young nettles, washed

A small knob of butter and 1 tbsp of oil

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

Salt, to taste

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

2 tbsp flour

500ml milk

Sourdough bread, to serve


Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water, then tip the nettles into the pot of boiling water and blanch for three minutes, until wilted and soft.


Scoop out the nettles with tongs or drain through a colander, then plunge them into the cold water to stop them cooking any further. Once the leaves are cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely.


Meanwhile, wipe the pan dry and melt the butter and oil over a medium heat, then fry the onion and a pinch of salt, until soft and translucent.


Stir in the garlic and a good grating of nutmeg, leave to soften for another minute or so, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes.


Gradually whisk in milk until you have a smooth paste, then add the rest, followed by the stock, and cook until the mix is roughly the thickness of double cream.


Add the nettles to the soup pot, warm through then allow to cool before liquidising with a stick blender. Add a little more stock or milk if it’s too thick.


Gently reheat, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve with sourdough to mop up the bowl.


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