Stinging nettle is a plant that emerges in the spring throughout the forests of BC and has been used by our indigenous communities for centuries. The ‘sting’ comes from tiny needles on the plant that contain an acid that irritates our skin. Gardening gloves must be worn for harvesting but once nettles are cooked, the ‘sting’ goes away. For more information, check out http://mapping.uvic.ca/section/stinging-nettle
Always use caution when wild foraging for food and be sure you know what you’re looking for and how to harvest and prepare it safely.
Stinging nettle is often used to make tea but can also be used in most applications as a substitute for spinach.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ pound stinging nettles, washed (or substitute spinach)
1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cups stock or water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)
Heat a large pot on medium-low then add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until onion is soft and golden. Add nettles, potatoes, water, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly then blend until smooth and creamy, in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender in the pot. Add nutmeg and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired, and with bread and a spring salad.
Recipe by Nicole Fetterly, RD