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Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Stinging nettles - known as the common nettle (Urtica dioica) contain up to 30% protein and are high in vitamin C and iron - more so than spinach and kale, yet this free and abundant wild food source is over looked in the kitchen!

Being an annual plant, the nettle is best enjoyed in the spring, before flowering, and again in the Autumn, when the milder weather allows for a seond flourish of this crop.

A quick blast of heat to the nettle, in a cooking pot or passed through a flame, will nuetrilise the formic acid in the stinging hairs, making the plant sting free and pleasant to eat.


  • A large handful of freshly gathered nettle tops (to serve 1-2 people), or a large bowl (to serve 4+ people)

  • 1 onion

  • a little oil or butter

  • Vegetable stock cube

To gather the nettles without getting stung, we recommened using scissors or thick gloves nip the top 4 youngest leaves from the stinging nettle plant. Hold a bowl underneath to catch the nettle tops as you cut them.

All of the plant is edible, but it tastes nicer before flowering, and the younger leaves higher up the plant are the most tender.


  • Chop and gently fry the onion in a saucepan with a little oil/butter until soft.

  • Add the nettles, add some liquid stock (500ml-1l ) of your choice and stir

  • Simmer for 5/10 mins, puree and serve!

You can also combine nettles nicely with cleavers, hog weed shoots or ground elder leaves. Enjoy!


If you'd like to discover more of nature's harvest, why not join one of our wild food and forage day workshops which run in Spring and Autumn.

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