One of my favourite hobbies is foraging. I can combine it with walking the dog, it is great exercise and quite meditative, and I get a nutritious free meal as a result!
Winter is not the easiest time for foraging, but there is one trusty weed that is always around to make a refreshing cup of tea or a hearty soup, and that is the Stinging Nettle (Urtica urens). The nettle has been used medicinally for hundreds of years, and it is used to make the homeopathic remedy Urtica. It can be used for skin conditions such as hives and eczema, and is an effective remedy for rheumatism and gout. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Pick the top four leaves from each stem (you will want gloves for this!), wash thoroughly. Simply steep in boiled water for 15 minutes and add some honey for a delicious tea, or try my Nettle Soup recipe:-
2 carrots, scrubbed and cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
1 carrier bag loosely filled with nettle tops
salt, pepper and green Tabasco to taste
Gently fry the onion in a little oil or butter until it is soft, but not browned. Add the cubes of squash and carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the squash is soft. Blitz in a liquidiser, season to taste and serve.