Stinging Nettle Soup

by Laura on May 22, 2011

Spring has come to Minnesota, hesitantly and then with a rush.  This week the trees have leafed out, apple and plum trees have blossomed, and the lilacs are ready to burst into bloom.  Winter is a barren season in Minnesota, and spring comes begrudgingly.  When it finally arrives, seemingly overnight, from dim gray to shades of green, barren places are filled with color and softness.   The grass is suddenly long and in need of mowing.  Shoots push through the earth without notice until they are high or in flower. Owl babies peek from the tops of dead trees, goslings toddle across the road, mallard couples waddle across the lawn.  After the long winter, it’s nice to wander and gather wild and green things to eat.  Use caution as you collect nettle, as even a light brush against your skin can be painful.  If you wear gloves whenever you handle it you needn’t worry.  And a brief boil neutralizes the stinging formic acid.  If you’ve never tried it, grab a guidebook and search it out.  Then simmer a pot of this simple soup, softened by cubes of potato and celery and leek.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura Plumb May 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Just picked stinging nettles yesterday at our local urban farm. This recipe arrives like Providence. Thank you for reading our minds.

2 Laura May 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

We just finished the last of it for lunch today. So good. I hope you enjoy it, too.

3 Kris Jacobson May 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

So interesting.

4 Sarah May 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Nettle grows wild here, coming out in February and March (spring comes early here). Last spring I made bread stuffed with nettles and feta cheese, one of my favorite wild edibles.

5 Laura May 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

That sounds delicious. Nettle grows wild here, too, though we have to wait until May. I will think of you next February gathering wild nettle in your temperate climate as I am up to my eyeballs in snow!

6 Butterpoweredbike June 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

What stunning photos; you are making me fall in love with nettle all over again. I cohost a foraging recipe challenge called Wild Things, and the featured herb of the month is nettle. I’d love to include your recipe in the round up. If you’d like to participate, could you please email your link to ?

7 Laura June 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Thanks! I’d love to.

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