Today, I am writing about a plant that inflicts bodily harm. Appropriate for spring, methinks.

The stinging nettle is a little green leafy thing that I’m honestly not terribly familiar with, but when I learned that my pal Andrea had purchased a huge bag of these angry painmongers at the Wychwood barns farmers’ market, I had to get in on the action. It’s a devlish little weed, covered in tiny hairs that become chemical-injecting needles when handled and, as a result, deliver quite the sting. How sci-fi of them, I know.

Interestingly, the stinging nettle becomes a vitamin-laden (and pain free) superfood when cooked. It’s high in protein, vitamins A, C, D, and K, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium, and has long been used to relieve pain from arthritis and rheumatism. The flavour falls somewhere in between adult spinach and garlic mustard. In other words, tasty.

I had a recipe for stinging nettle soup, so I made it. It looks kind of like potato leek soup, and it is damn tasty.

Wear-Gloves-While-You-Make-Me soup

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 huge cooking onion, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • 1.5 C nettle leaves (for the love of all that is holy, don’t touch these with bare hands!)
  • 3 C chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then cook the onions in there until soft. Throw in the potatoes and stock. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Throw in the nettles and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, puree and serve. Easy!