First of course is getting to the country to pick your own nettles*. They don’t appear at the market although they are a great “100 mile radius” wild food for most of us.
Beware not to pick road side where the nettles might have been visited by friendly dogs… also be sure to bring a large basket, thick rubber gloves and scissors.
Then identify young plants, the leaves are green, they are not flowering yet.
Cut the top part only about 6”. Take lots as nettles act a bit like spinach when you put them in the pot.
Do not touch them, they sting!
Now the making:
Blanch the nettles in a lot of boiling salted water about 5 minutes, drain and throw water out. Nettle broth is not worth keeping.
In the pressure cooker, add 2 carots, 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, chicken stock or vegetable stock or water, 2 branches of celery or one small leek, (white only).
When this is cooked, add the nettles, pour in the “moulin à légumes” (best as the stringy parts are removed) or chop fairly fine in the food processor.
Add salt to taste, serve hot with small garlic croutons.
If the nettles are not enough after cooking, you can add a can of condensed tomato soup, it will give the soup a creamy texture and the acidity in the tomato enhances the taste of the nettles.
In BC, the nettles are best in March/April.
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