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Pick Wild Garlic and Nettles on your Walk for a Tasty Soup

Posted by Last Updated February 12, 2014

Walking in the spring is the best time of year for harvesting food from the hedgerow, right now wild garlic and nettles are at their best and together can be used to make a really tasty and delicious soup. So before you go out for your next walk, make sure you pack a bag and perhaps some gloves so you can pick your own supper to warm you up on your return.

Picking nettle tips

Nettles are best picked on their vigorous growing phase as the young shoots and leaves are sweet and tender whereas the old growth will be fibrous and even once boiled, are pretty inedible. Protect your hands when foraging, select just the very soft tip and first two leaves which will be succulent and packed with fresh grassy flavour.

Wild garlic - Ramsons

Wild Garlic, also called Ransoms, grows in shady acid soils so walking in the woodland is a great place to spot some, try to pick from lots of different plants so that they can continue to grow. Once they flower a seed head will form and these can be collected to propagate your own patch in a damp spot in your garden so you will never have to walk far for dinner.

Ingredients for a tasty soup

Wild Garlic and Nettle Soup Recipe

Below is our recipe for Wild Garlic and Nettle Soup, light and fresh tasting and if you like spice, adding chilli gives a vibrant taste similar to that more often found in eastern cooking. If you prefer a heartier version then you can add fried potato cubes or tofu for a great vegetarian soup.

Ingredients - Serves 3 to 4

  • 50g Wild Garlic Leaves
  • 75g Nettle Tips
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Red or Green Chilli (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 500ml Vegetable Stock
  • 500ml Boiling Water

Method

Finely chop the onion and chilli then add to a large saucepan with the olive oil, on a medium heat fry the onions until softened and lightly browned.

If you feel the need to wash the nettles then go ahead but make sure they are thoroughly dry before adding them to the pan as they are best stir fried so they wilt rather than steam.

Rough chop the wild garlic leaves and again wilt them in the pan with the other ingredients.

Add the stock and boiling water adjusting the temperature to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes until the nettles are very soft.

Using a blender puree the soup, season with salt and pepper to taste, for an indulgent creamy finish add a teaspoon of clotted cream.

Fry the onions and chilli till soft and ligth brown Add the nettles and allow to wilt Wild garlic roughly chopped goes in next Now pour in the stock and water, simmer 10 mins Blend until smooth then season Serve hot with a little cream

If you would like to learn how to identify these and other wild edible plants then join us on our guided walking holidays this spring where your guide will be happy to point them out and show you how to recognise them.