Rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, iron and calcium, considering Nettles as a weed seriously undervalues their nutritional benefits. Here at Puntarelle & Co we have them in Spring and early Summer when they are at their vigorous best. The first of the season usually arrive from Italy in early March. Like everything that grows wild, you need to be sure it has grown in a clean environment if you are going to eat it. If you have such a patch near you, go out and pick it - the tender top 10cm. If you don’t, you’ll find Stinging Nettles grown in the Kent countryside on our shelves for the next few weeks. Take care picking them or filling your bag as they pack a mighty sting until subjected to brief heat or cold.
To use Nettles for soup, soften a chopped onion or leek in butter, add washed nettles with a roughly equal proportion of green veg like spinach until just wilted then add vegetable stock. Cook for about20 minutes then blitz with a stick blender. Serve topped with a spoonful of cream. Alternatively, make Nettle Butter - blanch nettles in boiling, salted water for no more 1 minute then plunge it into very cold water, drain and squeeze out excess liquid, chop and mix into room temperature butter until evenly distributed then roll into a log using greaseproof paper. Refrigerate or freeze the Nettle Butter until you want to use it. It makes a great a sauce for pasta, gnocchi or gnudi and we highly recommend allowing a slice to melt into a baked potato.