Nettles are your best friend!

Spring is here and with it the season of green and renewal!

I always get excited when the first nettles start pushing their way up from the ground on my allotment. As a kid I used to smash them up but now I don't see them as a weed. Why? Because I can eat them.

Nettle soup with chives and cream

Nettle soup with chives and cream

Nettle soup is like a more delicious version of spinach soup - really! - and is (almost) free, nutritious and organic. Only use the tips of the nettle, the most delicate and tender part.

Nettles contain indecent amounts of minerals; more iron than spinach and huge amounts of that vital mineral that most people lack - magnesium.

In Chinese medicine it smooths the Liver and helps build Blood. It will help stop your beard going grey (if you have one...), soothe PMT and keep muscles supple.

I'll eat it just about every day until mid-may when the nettles get tougher.

To make it simply fry onions garlic and butter; add a little potato or rice; mix in some stock; leave to simmer for 10 minutes or so and then add your nettles. You just need to blanch them for a few minutes... then blend. The River Cottage recipe is excellent and you can add a little cumin when frying the onions to spice it up a little.