The Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Roman Nettle (U. pilulifera) both have stinging hairs but this ability to hurt you disappears when the plants are cooked. The young leaves and shoots make a great substitute for Spinach and can be cooked the same way as spring greens. Add a knob of butter when serving.
Alternatively, try this delicious nettle soup.
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped.
- 1 clove of garlic .
- 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced.
- 2 large handfuls (do wear gloves) of young nettle heads.
- 1 Litre of vegetable or chicken stock.
- Olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Cream can be added prior to serving if you wish, but it is perfectly good without.
- In a large saucepan add a little olive oil, the chopped onion, garlic and potatoes and gently fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Wash and trim the nettles, add to the pan, add the stock.
- Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat, simmer until the potatoes are cooked.
- Liquidise and add the seasoning.
- Serve with a dash of cream if desired.
If you love the sounds of this recipe and herb-based cooking check out our Master Classes and other herb-based recipes. Alternatively, read Jekka's Guide to UK native herbs to learn more about food on your doorstep.