Forest School

21st May 2020

Year 5 Forest School challenge Week 5 – wild cooking – it tastes better than it looks!

Nettle soup with wild garlic.

Bored of Tomato Soup? Why not try your hands at this Forest School classic – Nettle Soup!
Nettle Soup is actually surprisingly delicious!

However please take on board the safety tips so you don’t get stung!

Nettle Soup Recipe
At some time, you must have experienced the sharp sting and lingering unpleasant tingle of the common stinging nettle Urtica dioica. Now is your opportunity to get revenge by cooking up some young nettle leaves into a delicious soup.

Nettle Soup Top Tip: Young leaves of nettles are better for soup, so start searching where you may have seen nettles growing last year. You might think the sting is less potent in younger nettles… well to save you finding out the hard way, it’s not.

*So you must take some gloves and a bag to carry your pickings.
Once the leaves have been dropped into go in hot water the sting is neutralised.
You need around half a carrier bag to make a decent amount of soup for four.
*Another safety tip is to fold the leaves inwards with the furry sting on the inside. Then press the leaves together and the sting releases some of its potency.

Nettle Soup is a tasty wild recipe that has become a favourite of mine. It’s relatively quick and easy to make and I promise you this, it’s so much tastier than it sounds!
I also add various different vegetables each time!
This week I added aubergine and sweet potato to the usual recipe.

How To Make Nettle Soup
This is an easy foraged dish to get your forest school dinner on the go. Nettles are an incredibly versatile ingredient with many uses and often very easy to come across. Once cooked nettles have a similar taste to spinach or cabbage.

* If like me you decide to use wild garlic please ensure that you pick and use the right thing! There are lots of other similar looking plants that can harm you so a good foraging book or app is a must in order to keep yourself safe.

1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 leek, washed and finely sliced
1 large floury potato (Maris Piper or similar), thinly sliced
1l vegetable stock
400g stinging or dead nettles, washed, leaves picked (see tips below)
50g butter, diced
50ml double cream ( optional).

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, leek and potato and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Add the stock and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the potato is soft

2. Add the nettle leaves, simmer for 1 min, then blend the soup. Season to taste, then stir in the butter and cream. Serve the soup drizzled with extra oil and scattered with dead nettle flowers if you have them.

3. Enjoy your nettle soup.

There are plenty of other ingredients that would also work well with stinging nettles, like chicken or bacon. Why not create your own recipe using stinging nettles?

Stinging nettles are widely available across Great Britain, which in part, is why this has become such a popular Forest School recipe.

If you do make nettle soup, we’d love to see your cooking skills! Don’t forget to share a photo so we can admire your culinary skills!

Have fun!

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