PICK STING­ING NET­TLES FOR SOUP

The Napier Mail - - WHAT’S ON -

If you haven’t tried sting­ing net­tle soup, you must – just don’t taste test the leaves be­fore you cook them or you’ll end up with a botoxy smile that will amuse your friends but you won’t en­joy one bit. Sting­ing net­tle loses its sting as soon as it meets boil­ing wa­ter, so cook your soup be­fore sam­pling. In­clude other veg­eta­bles in the mix and your soup will taste fa­mil­iar but will have the ex­tra nu­tri­ents that net­tle brings, in part be­cause of its wild, un­do­mes­ti­cated state. If you don’t have any, net­tles are com­monly found grow­ing in dry, hot, ni­tro­gen-rich places, such as be­side wool­sheds or un­der the skirts of a hedge where an­i­mals may have camped. My net­tles grow in a bath­tub, to keep them con­tained, but there are also some grow­ing in the wilds of my wider for­est gar­den.Oc­ca­sion­ally I stum­ble across them. The pain is fleet­ing, if four hours can be con­sid­ered fleet­ing!

Be­fore you har­vest net­tles, check the plant care­fully as it may be host­ing cater­pil­lars or co­coons of our na­tive ad­mi­ral but­ter­flies. It’s well worth leav­ing those alone

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