Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nettle Soup

Best time of the year!

The Marathon Garden Club and some friends were here for an Herbal Walk in Nature presented by my friend, Renee Lobdell. She is an Associate Polarity Practitioner, Reiki Master and has had training in Kinesiology and Iridology. She uses herbal healing as a part of her healthy living regiment. While we were drinking nettle and red raspberry tea, Renee gave us the healing properties of several herbs* that grow right in our back yard. We discussed which books** to use for identification and how to make teas, oils, and vinegars from the herbs. She talked about the different ways of drying and storing the herbs. We walked in the fields identifying the herbs that we had learned about and picked some for our salad. The soup for our luncheon was Nettle Soup (one of the herbs that we had learned about) and our salad. You have to try this soup to believe the hearty country flavor. It is an easy soup to make once you have located the nettles and we have several places that they grow here. I would never have imagined that it would have such a gourmet flavor, it leaves you wanting more!

Nettle Soup

The Soup Bible/ Debra Mayhew
Souper Sarah

This is a country-style soup which is a tasty variation of the classic Irish potato soup. Use wild nettles if you can find them, or a washed head of round lettuce if you prefer.

Serves 4

½ cup of butter
3 cups of sliced onions
3 cups potatoes, cut into chunks
3 cups chicken stock
1 oz wild nettle leaves
A small bunch of chives, snipped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Evan’s Farmhouse Creamery Crème Fraiche, to serve

1 – Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the sliced onions, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes until just soft. Add the potatoes to the saucepan with chicken stock, cover, and cook for 25 minutes longer. ­­­

2 – Wearing latex gloves, remove the nettle leaves from their stems. Rinse the leaves under cold running water and then dry on paper towels. Add to the sauce pan and cook for 5 minutes longer.

3 – Ladle the soup into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Return to a clean saucepan and season well. Stir in the chives and serve with a swirl of crème fraiche and sprinkling of pepper.

COOK’S TIP – If you prefer, cut the vegetables finely and leave the soup chunky rather than pureeing it.

Healing Herbs - Renee Lobdell

Looking for salad herbs

Lemon Balm - Melissa Officinalis

Making lemon balm sun tea

Sliced onions

Chicken Stock

Simmer for 25 minutes

Nettles in the field

Basket of nettles

Drying nettle leaves

Weighing nettle leaves

Add nettle leaves to soup and cook for 5 minutes

Simmer soup after blending in the food processor

Serve hot with creme fraiche and chives

Herbal salad

Renee made it fun and exciting learning about the healing powers of herbs that we live with every day. A gathering of friends, a new understanding of herbs and a healthy lunch – What a lovely way to spend time connecting with one another and nature! Thank you, Renee, I so appreciate your herbal expertise and your friendship.

*Burdock: First year – use Leaf & Root, Second year – use the stalk (peal and cook in stew or soup) Burdock is high in Iron, it pulls pain, helps sore/stiff muscles, good for gout, arthritis, uric acid build-up, cleans the blood, good for high cholesterol, good for the lymph system.
· Leaf: use the whole leaf in teas, foot bath, or as a wrap around an injured body part
· Root: dry and grind for capsules, steep root and add the water to a bath to pull pain, watch out for bugs, dry in a 200 degree oven until dry.
· Flowers: use in oils to pull pain
· Seeds: can be used for prostate and female organs as a cleanser/balancer

*Nettles: Will sting until dry. Very high in serotonin, draws your attention, nervine, goes right to the brain, high oxygen source – the sting wakes up the area and forces circulation to that area. Good for strains, sprains. Loves a challenge! Do not pick once they have gone to the little green grape-like berries.

**Suggested List of Books:
Smithsonian Handbooks ~ Herbs; Leslie Bremness
Peterson Field Guides (2 separtate books): Medicinal Plants & Herbs
Edible Wild Plants
Identifying & Harvesting Edible & Medicinal Plants; Steve Brill & Evelyn Dean
Web Site -

The thought for the week - "Explore gentler; more natural remedies" - Body & Soul

Happing souping until we meet again!
Souper Sarah

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