Nettle Soup and Blood Tonics
Why use Nettles?
Nettles are packed full of nutrients, especially iron, silica and Vitamin C, which is why they are so important in times of heavy menstruation, postpartum blood loss or haemorrhage. They literally help to build up the blood and bring much needed nutrients where there is any kind of anaemia.
They will take up the nutrients from the ground which is why you need to be careful where you pick them and also why they make great compost. Avoid picking them on contaminated ground for instance and also make sure they are not likely to have been wee’d on by any passing animals.
There are many uses for nettles, they have an antihistamine effect useful in hay fever; can be used for skin conditions to help move blood and toxins and improves circulation, and they have a long traditional use in arthritis and rheumatism linked to its diuretic action.
They are, in all, a blood tonic and can be taken as teas, long decoctions, juiced and as seen above as a nutritious soup. There abundance (or weed status) just reinforces the blessing nettles are. It is true that all we need, is in abundance around us, if only we recognised it, appreciated it and knew how to use it.
How to make Nettle Soup
As I admitted on my Facebook page recently, this is the first year I have actually made nettle soup! and I must say I feel a real sense of achievement and a little less of a sham herbalist! It is deeply connecting and grounding to forage for food, prepare it and eat it. This is how I made it.
Picking the leaves.
Now is the time to pick before they go to seed, in-fact about 4 weeks ago they were at their prime. The nettles should be young and you only pick the top few leaves. You can pick them without gloves (apparently). I have tried and the trick is to grasp them firmly between the forefinger and thumb at the stem. However you are no lesser a person if you prefer to use gloves.
Wash in a basin and strain. Take care they still have their sting until they enter the boiling water. Then you prepare the soup base as if you were making a watercress or spinach soup. I used onions, garlic and homegrown potatoes. I also had a stock made from beef bones which adds nutrients but a home made veg stock would be good too. Once the potatoes are nearly done add the nettles, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes in the stock. Then whizz and hay presto you have an amazingly vibrant, green nutrient dense, free super food.