Mother Earth Living

Stinging Nettle Plant Uses: Nettle Soup

Go beyond their sting to find protein, vitamins, and more.
By Peter A. Gail, PH.D.
July/August 1998
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Nettle Soup
Serves 4

Potatoes give this soup its thickness, while nettle leaves provide protein, ­vitamins, and vital minerals.

• 1 large onion
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 potatoes
• Olive oil
• 1 large handful of young nettle leaves (about 1/4–1/2 pound)
• 1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
• Salt and pepper
• 1/4 pint half and half (optional)

1. Peel and chop the onion, garlic, and potatoes. In a large saucepan, add a little olive oil and sauté the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes.

2. With gloved hands, trim the nettle leaves from their stems and discard the stems. Thoroughly wash the leaves and add them to the saucepan. Meanwhile, make the chicken or vegetable stock with the bouillon cube and 11/2 pints of boiling water. Add the stock to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender enough to break with a fork.

3. Add the contents of the saucepan to a blender. Blend until the mixture turns into a thick soup. Return the soup to the saucepan to keep it hot. Season with salt and pepper, pour into large serving bowls, and stir in the half and half to taste.


Peter A. Gail holds a doctorate in botany from Rutgers University and has spent his life researching traditional uses of backyard “weeds” for food and medicine. He is founder and director of Goosefoot Acres ­Center for Resourceful Living and Goose­foot Acres Press, and author of The Dandelion Celebration: A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine and twelve other books.

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