Cheap, Healthy, Delicious and Easy to Cook Nettle Soup
Medicine with sting
Nettles are often considered a nuisance and they can be found almost everywhere, just waiting for an opportunity to sting us. I used to say I hate nettles; meaning the stinging parts. However, what we do not consider most of the time is how nutritious and healing nettles can be. Traditionally they have been used to treat health conditions such as arthritis, promote milk production in lactating women, support the adrenals, help respiratory tract diseases, support the kidneys, relieve PMS, balance the thyroid, and treat allergies, just to mentions a few. Their health benefits are largely believed to be down to the anti-inflammatory properties of nettles.
Several years ago, I started picking the young tender nettles in spring to make nettle soup. At the time, I did not think too much about the specific healing properties of nettles; I was more interested in foraging and using the resources we have been given in a better way. The additional health benefits were more the cherry on top of the cake.
Nettles are safe to eat but certain individuals may want to consult their GP before starting a supplementation regime (larger doses in supplement form). Nettles may lower blood sugar levels and therefore potentially cause hypoglycaemia in diabetics who are taking medication to reduce their blood glucose. Therefore, it is important to adjust the medication accordingly. In a similar manner, nettle may also lower blood pressure, which could increase the strength of ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers. There is also a debate about whether pregnant women should use nettles, since nettles may affect the menstrual cycle. It is believed that they may potentially cause uterine contractions and lead to miscarriage. Lastly, they are rich in vitamin K, which may under certain circumstances increase the blood’s ability to clot and therefore decrease the effect of blood thinners.
How to make awesome nettle soup
Today I was thinking that it is time to share how to make a very simple nettle soup that anyone can make. First of all, you need a pair of protective gloves, a bag and a pair of scissors. Then you just need to find a patch of nettles and start harvesting the young ones. Although I wash my nettles I try to avoid the ones that are obviously damaged or soiled with bird poo.
I usually fill a plastic bag, the type you get from the supermarket. For the sake of sharing the recipe I weighed it when I came home and it was approximately 300g of nettles in the bag. Before doing anything else you will want to rinse them. No matter how careful you are, there will be some dirt in there. Keep the gloves on!
Once your nettles are washed, you want to blanch them for around 30 seconds to inactivate the stinging parts. After blanching the nettles; remove them from the boiling water into a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, wring them out and chop them up. Next you can add whatever you want to the soup, some people like adding boiled potatoes, however, I am not a fan of potatoes and I am usually sticking to a low carbohydrate lifestyle.
This time I added one onion and a large clove of garlic, both chopped. If you want your soup to be even more anti-inflammatory you can always add a little bit of ginger and turmeric.
Start with sauteing the onion until it is translucent, then add the chopped nettle and homemade chicken stock.
Fill up with water to cover the nettles and boil for 5-10 min. Then add the garlic and let it boil for another 5 min. Now it is time to mix the soup until it is smooth. I use a hand blender of this type. If you are using a more traditional glass blender you may want to let the soup cool a bit first. I have actually cracked one of those in the past by pouring hot soup into it!
Finally, add butter and salt to taste. Do not skimp on the butter! You can eat the soup as it is or add some type of protein to it. I personally I like adding a bit of free range nitrate free bacon, but I imagine that hard boiled eggs will go very well with this soup as well.
The Recipe (approximately 8 portions)
- Approximately 300 g nettles
- 1 onion
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 5 dl chicken stock
- 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
- 50g of pastured butter
- Himalayan pink salt
I hope you have enjoyed today’s blog. If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment or connect with me on Facebook.