Here is a blog I wrote several years ago, thought I’d post it again as I find the idea that you can create food from things as easy to come by as nettles somehow comforting in these strange times.
So I’ve agreed with some friends to help them out with their garden. I decide I’m going to do little pencil sketches of plants in the garden (see above) and write a blog about each.
The first thing I do is clear away some weeds. The place is covered in thick stinging nettles that go up to my knee. I dig them up, but it seems a shame to just throw them out so I make nettle soup. It’s nice once I get the hang of it, a little “textured” but I imagine that wouldn’t be the case if I had a food blender. The second day it tastes even better. I also make nettle tea in a lovely china teapot a friend gave me. It tastes of nettles, I would be pleased only I’m getting a bit nettled out now, my hands and arms are stinging permanently despite having worn gloves. I decide to lookup what benefit all these nettles might be doing me:
Nettle is very high in vitamins and iron. They stop bleeding and used to be ground into a fine powder and used as a snuff to stop nose bleeds, or used in an infusion. They are also good for treating colds. The leaves are said to improve ones complexion and circulation and can be used to clear the chest of phlegm.
As for magic, the nettle apparently has powers of exorcism, protection and lust. It is seen as masculine, comes under the planet Mars and the element of fire. It belongs to Thor, the Norse god of thunder. To remove a curse and send it back carry a sachet of nettle around with you. Sprinkle nettle around the house to keep evil out. Throw it into the fire to avert danger or wear it as an amulet to keep ghosts and negativity away.
It has been used as a lust inducing herb, used in purification baths and the irritant within the hairs has been used as an aphrodisiac to stimulate the sexual organs.
I’m just sticking to the soup.
Salt and pepper
Cut and wash nettles tips (whilst wearring gloves)
Boil in a saucepan of water for a couple of minutes. This removes most of the sting
Slice them into small pieces and remove tough stems
Fry some onions and garlic in a pan with butter till the onions go soft and golden (I love butter but I suppose you can use oil if you choose)
Add the nettles
Add some rice
Add a good amount of hot water with vegetable stock mixed in
Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is done
Add salt and pepper to taste (I add loads of salt, but then I’m addicted to the stuff and my blood pressure isn’t high)
And there you have it, very simple , tasty and good for you, just be careful not to get stung to pieces like I did.