Recipes

How to Pick and Cook with Nettle

Nettles are free, grow by themselves and are said to be more nutritious than spinach. You can use nettles in any recipe that uses cooked spinach (do not try to eat nettles raw!) Nettle texture is rougher than spinach which can be slimey. If your family is cautious, start with mixing nettles in with more familiar veg like spinach, onions, leeks etc (you don’t have to tell them the nettles are in there too).

Foraging

The basic guidelines that need to be followed when foraging are: only pick what you are 100% sure is edible, don’t trample plants and don’t pick close to roads or paths (where plants might be contaminated by pollution, crop spray or dog wee).

I was taught by James Feaver from Hedgerow Harvest and highly recommend his courses. For more information about nettles, where to find them and what to do with them visit Hedgerow Harvest/Nettles.

My technique for picking nettles is either with a pair of scissors or by putting your hand inside a plastic bag and pinching the stalk with your fingers. You only want the top two pairs of leaves (the rest are usually too tough).

Nettle Soup

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a great Spinach & Potato Soup recipe.

I’ve made a Thai version of above adding curry powder, coconut milk and rhubarb (instead of lime). Served with toasted slices of Naan bread.

Nettle Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

So quick and easy – click here

Nettle Beer

It is worth making nettle beer (for a malted nettle beer recipe click here). And if like me, you forget to bottle the beer and it goes flat then you end up with a rather tasty nettle liqueur instead!

Creamed Greens

Steam a selection of greens and nettles (include garlic and onion if you like). Blend with cream cheese and seasoning. Add a pinch of citric acid crystals (used for making elderflower cordial) if it needs some tang.

Nettle Bird’s Nest Recipe

I concocted this dish of fried egg, melted cheese and sauteed nettles & onions on toast. To get the cheese to melt, just put a lid over the pan. Delicious, nutritious and what better satisfaction than eating your weeds?

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