My main experience with nettle involved the old fairy tale The Wild Swans. I had a comic book about it as a kid. It seems these guys (Princes of course) got bewitched and turned into birds, and so this Princess who was either their sister or their girlfriend or whatever, had to go gather nettles in the field and spin them into cloth in order to make clothes for these swans and then put the clothes on the swans before they flew away in order to turn them back into her brothers, or her dates or whatever.
In the story, he turns out like this
In reality he'd probably look more like this.
But I digress. Stinging Nettles aren't just for avian clothing anymore, if they ever were. People all over the world have been eating nettles for eons. I'm just late to the game, but better late than never. Nettles are one of the signs of Spring in the Farmers Market. This inexpensive weed is rich in vitamins and flavorful. In fact nettles are similar to spinach or sorrel in taste and the only difference is that certain precautions have to be followed when preparing them. They don't call them stinging for nothing.
In fact Wikipedia has this to say about them:
The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds cause a painful sting or paresthesia from which the species derives its common name.
So then how does the smart nettler deal with the sharp hairy little buggers? With plain old medical gloves that's how!
Weirdly enough, while processing them I felt less like this:
And more like this:
Spring Nettle SoupHere's What You Need:
1/2 lb Stinging nettles
2 tsps salt
1 onion finely chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup basmati rice, or 1 lb peeled diced boiling potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
Here's What To Do:
Boil a pot of water add in the 2 tsp of salt.
When the water is boiling toss in the nettles.
To avoid any sort of rash or getting stung, make sure that you wear some sort of gloves whenever handling the nettles, even after cooking them.
Boil the nettles for about 1 to 2 minutes, so that they soften.
Drain them in a colendar.
Run cold water over them.
Trim off the stems, and chop the nettles. It's okay to remove your gloves now.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pot and toss in the chopped onion.
Saute the onion in the pot until it's turned translucent.
Add in the rice.
And the chicken or vegetable broth.
Add in the cooked nettles.
Bring everything to a boil then turn the heat down to medium low, slap a lid on things and let it all cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the rice or potatoes are soft.
Put the soup in a food processor or use an immersion blender and puree everything.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Decorate with a bit of sour cream or yogurt and serve it up.
There it is. The sting but not the taste taken out, guaranteed to turn any old goose into a Prince.
But what would soup be without butter milk biscuits? Alone, is what it would be, at least at my house. So follow this link to my Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
This is what you'll find.