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Stinging Nettle Soup

Updated on October 13, 2014
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Preparing Delicious Soup from a Prickly Plant

When most people think of stinging nettles, the first word that comes to mind is "ouch!" For me, I think "soup!" When spring rolls around each year, Stinging Nettle Soup is like a celebration of the season. Fresh young nettles and spring chives spring up, ready for picking and pureeing into this luscious, green soup that tastes like sunshine melting away the last of the snow piles.

On this page, I'll share my adaptations for this Stinging Nettle Soup and some tips to make the process a bit less prickly. If you don't have access to young nettles, or if it is the wrong time of year, don't worry. I will also share some suggestions of alternative (easily accessible) greens to use.

The Best Edible Wild Plants Book Out There

The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

I own a number of books that help me identify edible wild plants, but few (if any) provide any useful tips about how to prepare foods from them. Samuel Thayer's book takes the guesswork out of cooking with edible wild plants, because he has done the experimenting for us. He provides recommendations and commentary about the best ways to prepare foods and enjoy what you're eating. I own the book and I've heard the author speak on the topic. He is knowledgeable, experienced, and does an excellent job sharing both. This book is many steps above the rest!!

 

Have you ever eaten Stinging Nettle prepared in any way?

Have you ever eaten Stinging Nettle prepared in any way?

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Stinging nettle soup
Stinging nettle soup | Source

I originally got this recipe from my mother-in-law who received it from the local farmer's market. I adapted it to make it vegetarian.

Nettles are incredibly nutritious, and I love to use them in season. However, my favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be made exactly the same throughout the year by substituting spinach, kale, or your dark green leaf vegetable of choice.

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 lb. potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lb. stinging nettles (or other dark greens)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup skim milk

Instructions

  1. Wearing gloves, wash stinging nettles (or other dark greens), removing the thick parts of the stems. Steam about 5 minutes or until wilted.
  2. In a large pot, saute onions in butter until transluscent. Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minute until potatoes are getting soft. Add nettles and about half the chives and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in pepper, salt, nutmeg, and milk.
  3. Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender (in batches if necessary), puree until very smooth.
  4. Top with remaining fresh chives as desired.
5 stars from 1 rating of Stinging Nettle Soup
Chunks of potatoes, onions and nettle leaves simmering in the pot
Chunks of potatoes, onions and nettle leaves simmering in the pot | Source

Video Variations on this Recipe

I like the addition of the fresh chives, because I also have them available in the spring, but here are some other variations. I hope you find a recipe that fits your tastes as well.

Save Work and Mess with One of My Favorite Kitchen Tools

Cuisinart CSB-76BC SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome
Cuisinart CSB-76BC SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome

The Cuisinart immersion blender is the perfect tool for making this (and many other pureed dishes) creamy. Why wash a million parts to run anything through a food processor or blender? Use this quick, lightweight tool to get the job done in minutes with only one part to wash.

 
Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle | Source

Stinging Nettles

Stinging nettles have small spines along their stems that feel like they're stinging you if they touch bare skin. However, there are ways to avoid the sting:

1) Pick young greens when they first arrive in spring. The spines are more supple and less likely to sting.

2) Wear rubber kitchen gloves when picking and while preparing the plants in the kitchen.

3) Boiling or steaming wilts the spines and makes the plant useable for cooking and eating.

Stinging Nettles are extremely nutritious!

They're high in vitamins A & K, calcium, iron, and magnesium. For more detailed nutrition information about Stinging Nettles click on the link below.

Wild Cards: Edible Wild Foods
Wild Cards: Edible Wild Foods

I keep this pack of Wild Cards clipped on my backpack. It does not identify everything I come across on a hike. However, it has helped me out quite a few times to confirm (or deny) whether a plant was truly edible. A very handy tool for using on the go!

 
Wild Edibles: A Practical Guide to Foraging, with Easy Identification of 60 Edible Plants and 67 Recipes
Wild Edibles: A Practical Guide to Foraging, with Easy Identification of 60 Edible Plants and 67 Recipes

This is another book that I really enjoy using, mostly for the recipes. So many delicious possibilities to find, right in our backyards (literally)!

 

Link Party Connections

Here are parties and blog hops this page is linked to. Click on any of them to find hundreds more ideas, recipes, crafts, and much more!

Will you be trying Stinging Nettle Soup in the future?

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    • profile image

      awoodyard2 

      4 years ago

      I'm very tempted to try this.When I hike I constantly find stinging nettle.It would be nice to cool with it and not just curse it!

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 

      5 years ago

      I would say this is the most adventurous recipe I have come across in a long while! I don't think I will don the gloves to go foraging for the Stinging Nettles to try this yet I admire that you are undaunted by the task and the soup looks delicious :) Fab lens!

    • profile image

      StrongMay 

      5 years ago

      I had stinging nettle soup once. It was tasty, but my psychology (aka worry: "what if a thorn wasn't moistened enough? Oh, my pour tongue!") didn't let me enjoy it too much. Unfortunate, really.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      I've never even seen a stinging nettle, but your recipe looks great and your article is interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting, it is different to what we usually eat, but I think I will give it a miss, we have lots of stinging nettle in the native bush were we live in NZ, I will leave it for the admirable butterflies.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 

      5 years ago

      I've known we could eat these things but this is the first recipe I've come across and I bookmarked it.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 

      5 years ago

      I had no idea stinging nettle was edible. As someone who got stung by it as a kid, I've always disliked the plant. Now I can see it does more than sting people.

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