Stinging Nettle Soup

Monday, September 26, 2011
Stinging Nettle Soup 1



I'm trying to be better about posting my seasonal recipes before the season disappears. And seeing stinging nettles growing in the wild at Latourell Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon reminded me that I needed to blog this recipe.

The first time I heard of stinging nettles was in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Wild Swans," about 11 brothers who turned into swans at night, and their sister who wove shirts out of nettles to remove the enchantment to change them back. Such devotion. Reading the story as a child, I could only imagine the sores and welts she suffered while weaving the stems into cloth. But actually experiencing the sting myself as an adult was enough to make me permanently wary of this plant. I brushed against a nettle once when I was in Scotland years ago and it caused my skin to sting, and itch, and swell with red dots.

Last month at the Farmers' Market - Alhambra, despite the conspicuous sign that said "Don't Touch," my masochism, or perhaps my insatiable curiosity, lured me toward the bunch of stinging nettles.

"If I can't touch, how will I prepare them for eating?"

"Good question," chuckled the farmer.

So I decided to err on the safe side and didn't purchase any that first week. The following week, the stinging nettles beckoned me forth again with their "Don't Touch" sign. Oh, alright, I reasoned. I'll simply use tongs and scissors and won't touch the nettles at all.

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