Falling into stinging nettles was an occupational hazard of mine when I was 5 through to age 12. This was neither fun nor painless as I’m sure you can imagine but believe it or not every time I see stinging nettles now I am instantly transported to a happy place, a place where the tiny piece of wilderness that I used to play in at the top of my street was my own private universe! I remember spying on the farmer as he tried to round-up his sheep, collecting wool from the barbed wire fence to take home and spin, whittling twigs into arrows and spears and, of course, climbing up and jumping out of trees and into stinging nettles. Ouch! But whatever happened, no amount of temporary stinging pain could take away the joy that I felt just being out there in the country, surrounded by trees. Oh how little has changed 🙂
Anyway, I saw these on the weekend and thought that one day soon I’d better cook up some nettle soup!
I’ve never tried it as I assumed it would be either prickly (apparently not) or tasteless (maybe so according to this recipe from the River Cottage). I think I’ll gather up the other ingredients and make some next time we are on the land, before the nettles retreat for another winter as no matter how it tastes it will be a free vitamin boost! If the nutritional data on the interwebs is to be believed nettles are a rich source in vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and iron – I could always do with more iron! I am just going to make sure I have some tasty stock cubes to put in there just in case it does just taste like boiled weeds.
On another note I should eat these to get rid of them as they are not even supposed to be here. I bet some English chap brought them over with the foxes, rabbits and feral cats back in the day. By eating them I’d be doing the Australian bushland a favour probably although I’m not sure if eating the leaves kills the plans? Maybe I’d have to dig it up? But then what if I like my soup?
Maybe I’ll wait and see how it tastes before I decide whether to exterminate my non-native green friend.
What do you think?