I’ve been curious about cooking with nettles for some time now. They’re reputed to have really great health benefits: vitamins A and C, carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, as well as being able to help with arthritis, allergies, and digestion. A traditional form of medicine, but one that you need to be careful with. Nettles, which grow wild, need to be very carefully handled with strong gloves, since they’ll give you a nasty sting (hence the name stinging nettles). Something I’ve never experienced, and I’d rather not. My farmer’s market had full bags of cleaned nettles; the lovely farmers at Middle Earth Farm did all the work to clean the nettles, protecting themselves and their customers from the notorious sting. Once fully cooked, they won’t sting you.
This is one of the most basic soups — I boiled 5 cups of water, since I didn’t have any stock on hand, and emptied the bag of nettles into the pot without touching them (roughly 300g nettle tops, fairly even water to nettle ratio, you just don’t want it to be too thin and can always add more water later if needed). Kind of nice to just taste the nettles for what they are anyway. I let it cook for 10-15 minutes, blended the soup, and seasoned to taste. Sauteed some oyster mushrooms from the New Hampshire Mushroom Company in a cast iron pan with ghee, salt, pepper, and coriander. Garnished the soup with the mushrooms and some chive blossoms, and a little nub of ghee for flavor and good fat. Simple, healthful, and delicious. Of course, it would have more depth if cooked with a stock, but it was straightforward and simple this way. Easy peasy.