April forage of the month with Ruby Taylor

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Posted Apr 28 2020 by Ruby Taylor of Native Hands
April forage of the month : nettle soup

In her April forage of the month, Ruby Taylor of Native Hands takes the sting out of nettles with a delicious soup recipe.


Nettle soup

This is my favourite nettle soup recipe of all time. The green peas are the game changer: their creamy sweetness balances perfectly with the robust flavour of the nettles.

Nettles are plentiful, easy to forage and packed full of nutrition. Pick the leaves before the nettle plant flowers, and wear gloves when you pick them.

You want the top six leaves of the nettle plant, as they’re the ones that are nice and juicy. If you harvest regularly from a patch of nettles, they’ll keep producing new, young leaves. If you see a small web on a leaf of the nettle plant, that’s likely to have butterfly eggs in it, and it’s important to leave that alone. Nettles are a crucial food source for several species of native butterflies.

April forage of the month : nettles

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 spring onions
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 medium sized potato
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 100g nettle leaves
  • 250g frozen green peas

Method

Top and tail the spring onions, slice thin and let them soften with the butter and peeled, chopped garlic in a deep saucepan.

Peel the potato, cut into small dice, add to the onions. Continue to cook for a few minutes and then pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes util the potato is tender.

Shake/wash the nettles and add to the pan with the peas. Season with salt and pepper. Bring it back to the boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes until the peas and nettles are tender but still bright green. Blend until smooth.

Later in the year, nettles become a really useful plant for making natural cordage (string) and also weaving fabric from. It’s one of the plants we work with on our wild cordage day course and you can read about making a netted bag using natural cordage in this previous blog post of mine.

Images: author’s own. Find the original post here on the Native Hands blog.


Ruby Taylor of Native HandsAbout the author

Ruby Taylor of Native Hands has been a maker since she was knee-high, and a teacher for over 20 years. She runs popular courses in Wild Basketry and Wild Pottery using foraged materials in the woods. She has experience of a wide range of basketry techniques and also works as part of a team teaching ancient crafts and technologies.