I know what you’re thinking: ouch. But trust me, just don the rubber gloves and go rummaging in the hedges. Stinging nettles make a fabulous soup, they’re free and they’re good for you, properly good for you, and perhaps even better than spinach or broccoli.
Like kale’s best friend before kale got popular (grew boobs, lost the braces and announced that “on Wednesdays we wear pink”), stinging nettle has all the makings of your favourite leafy green, but because the supermarkets don’t stock it, and it, well, stings, many haven’t tried it. Funny that as the stuff really gets about.
I’m sure you know where to find it, and obviously you’ll want to stay away from major roads to avoid pollution. Nettle is best in the early spring so make haste and get foraging, choosing the top four to six leaves. This recipe calls for 100g or 3 cups, which is about a small shopping bag full. For a detailed description of how to forage nettles, take a look at this nettle guide.
Boiling the nettles gets rid of the sting, so don’t worry that this cake will be like eating popping candy. Instead it tastes very spring-like as the flavour of the nettles fades away beneath the zesty lemon.
One of my old best friends from school went camping with her family when she was 13. She went for a wee in the woods (you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?), and used stinging nettle’s evil cousin, poison ivy, as toilet roll. Hospitalised. *facepalm*