Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How to cook Stinging Nettle

I have vivid memories from my childhood of the stinging nettle patch.

It was right behind the chook shed.  Under the grapevines.

It was lush and green but had that hint of danger. The sting of nettles is biting & leaves welts not unlike mosquito bites. It's sting is not enduring, not unlike the burn of wax- fleeting yet felt!

I also have fond memories of the soups that the leaves of the collected nettles made.

It is one of the plants that is seeing a bit of a renaissance in the food world alongside other 'weeds'. One of the reasons perhaps is the knowledge of how incredibly nutrient dense they are.

I bought some at the Farmers Markets on Saturday (it seems kind of strange to be buying them rather than foraging them but when I saw them I just had to have them).

I thought you may be interested in knowing how to cook them.  Perhaps you didn't even know you can cook or eat Stinging Nettles.

For me there is some sort of extra pleasure in cooking something that is a little wild, a little uncommon and a little hard to handle.

For a plant with a bite when it is alive; when it is cooked it is delicate, fragrant and gentle. And yields the most glorious vivid green imaginable.


Nettles are easy enough to prepare- especially if you wear kitchen gloves.

They are a great substitute for Basil in Pesto (some blanch it first before processing, others don't) and can be used as a substitute for Spinach in Saag dishes too.

If you do blanch be sure to ice immediately to help retain that amazing green


  • 1 large bunch Stinging Nettle
  • 1/2 bunch Italian Parsley
  • 6 large potatoes, washed & diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 litres chicken (or veg) stock
  • S & P
  • knob of butter


Using gloves, strip leaves of the woody part of the stem and pull the tops off- stem and all. Rinse nettles well and dry off in a salad spinner or in a teatowel.

In a pan melt the butter and add the clove of garlic.

Fry till fragrant and add potatoes & parsley.

Add chicken stock  & bring to boil.

Cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Add nettles, bring back to boil.

Reduce to simmer and cook for further 5 minutes before blitzing.

Season and serve.

I served ours with Goats cheese on Sourdough toast. DELICIOUS.
I was listening to this on Saturday as I cooked. An old fave from an old fave band.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe people pay for nettles. I hope they were super super cheap. Otherwise I am going into the nettle business, My mums garden is currently overflowing with nettles.

    I am tempted to give this a go though, just to see what everyone thinks of it.


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