What do I do with… Wild nettles

They take over your garden as soon as look at you, they sting, and they’re ugly, but wild nettles have much to recommend them in the kitchen. Obviously, they’re free, they don’t sting when they’re cooked, they’re tasty with an earthy flavour like spinach, and you can use them in any recipe that calls for spinach or wild garlic.

Soups, risottos, and smoothies all figure in our nettle repertoire, they make for a good pesto, and are fantastic stirred through warm pasta with sautéed prawns and lemon juice. More here:

• Firstly, wear rubber gloves to pick young leaves from the tips. Lay on a tray to wilt or wash in hot water. Once they are wilted they don’t sting.

• Blanch in simmering water, drain thoroughly and stir through quiche filling for a seasonal take on your favourite savoury tart.

• Again, blanch and drain, then whiz in a food processor with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts and parmesan cheese for an earthy, robust pesto.

• For a quick soup, sauté onion, celery and carrot until softened, add thinly sliced potatoes, blanched nettle leaves and stock, then season and simmer down. Add lemon juice and cream to your taste, season and serve sprinkled with fresh mint.

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