Nettle & Wild Garlic Recipes

Nettle pesto

150g nettle tops (top5/7 leaves)

25g roughly chopped walnuts

1 clove garlic finely chopped

200ml olive oil

salt & black pepper

Bring a pan, large enough to take the nettles ½ filled with water to the boil. Add the nettles and cook for 1 minute. Drain through a sieve over a bowl to save the cooking water. Immediately plunge the nettles into very cold water. As soon as they are cold, remove and squeeze them dry

Put the nettles into a food processor along with the walnuts & garlic. Process together for 30 seconds then slowly trickle in enough oil to make a loose paste.

Season your pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Dollop on any savoury dish. Will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

The reserved nettle water is a nourishing drink.

Nettle soup

serves 4

450g nettle tops

250g floury potatoes peeled if necessary & roughly chopped

1ltr well flavoured vegetable stock

salt & black pepper

Plunge the nettle tops into boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain through a sieve over a bowl to save the cooking water for a nourishing herbal tea. Immediately plunge the nettles into cold water to refresh, drain and set aside.

Put the potatoes and stock into a pan and gently simmer with the lid on until tender. Add the nettle tops to the pan, remove from the heat, cool slightly then process to a purée in a food processor. Return to the pan and gently bring back to the boil. If it seems too thick add a little more stock. Season as necessary with salt & black pepper.

Nettle juice

serves 1

large handful of nettles

3 celery sticks

1 apple cut into pieces

thick slice of lemon

knob of ginger

Feed all the ingredients through the funnel of your juicer. Drink straight away

Nettle kimchi

about 500g of nettle tops

brine made form 2 tablespoons salt & 1 litre unchlorinated water

2 medium chilli finely chopped (more or less according to strength)

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 thumb size piece of ginger grated

Pick over and rinse the nettles. Place in a bowl and pour over the brine, push down and weight down to ensure the nettles stay submerged in the brine. Leave to soak overnight

The next morning, drain the nettles reserving the brine, gently squeeze any excess brine from the nettles, roughly chop and place into a bowl. Thoroughly mix the chilli, garlic and ginger into the nettles.

Pile this mixture into a kilner jar (or whatever fermenting jar method you use) and add enough of the reserved brine to ensure the nettles are submerged under liquid weight down and leave on the side in the kitchen to ferment for about 10 days. Gently push down each day to ensure the kimchi remains under liquid.

When the ferment subsides pop on the lid of the kilner jar with the rubber seal removed and store in a cool dry place. Will keep for 6 months. If you start using this straight away store in the fridge.

Nettle powder
I love this powder, it means you can benefit from the minerals and phytonutrients in nettles all year round. Add it to sauces, breads and smoothies to increase the nutrition.

Simplicity itself, harvest the tops of nettles (top 6 leaves) spread out on a tray and leave to dry on a sunny windowsill, when dry grind to a fine powder in a pestle & mortar. Or if you have dried masses of nettles use a processor/blender. Store in an airtight jar.

Nettle ravioli

1 quantity of pasta dough


12 oz (350g) nettle tops

2 oz (50g) pine kernels

2 oz (50g) grated parmesan

1 oz (25g) chopped basil

To finish:

Olive oil


Plunge the nettle tops into boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and refresh in cold water. Put the nettles in a cloth and wring out any excess moisture. Put the pine kernels in a processor and process for 30 seconds. Add the nettles, parmesan and basil and process for a further 30 seconds.

Divide the pasta dough into four. Any dough you are not working with keep covered. Roll out the dough into a long strip 3" wide. Arrange teaspoons of filling 1½" apart in parallel rows on the pasta. Roll out a second piece of dough slightly larger and place over the first piece. Press with your fingers around each filling to form small cushions. Cut the individual cushions out with a knife or a fluted pastry wheel.

Sprinkle semolina or flour over a clean tea towel and arrange the finished ravioli on top. Repeat the whole process with the other two pieces of pasta dough. Allow the ravioli to dry for a least an hour before cooking. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the ravioli for about 5 minutes or until they rise to the top of the pan. Remove, toss in a little olive oil and parmesan and serve.

Sourdough rye bread with nettles

250g rye leaven

250g rye flour


1 tablespoon molasses

2 tablespoons nettle powder


well oiled bread tin with coriander seeds sprinkled on the base

Preheat the oven 20 minutes before baking 220C/425F/gas mark 7

Combine the rye leaven, flour, salt nettle powder & molasses in a bowl. Use as much water as needed to mix the ingredients together to form a soft sticky paste.

With wet hands shape into a loaf shape and pop into the prepared tin. Flatten the dough with a spatula and sprinkle a little rye flour on top. Cover and leave in a warm place until almost double in size, about 5 hours maybe more, maybe less.

Bake in the preheated for about 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and if the loaf is becoming too brown turn the oven down for the last 15 minutes.

Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Wild garlic grissini

For the ferment

150g unbleached strong white flour

120ml warm water

20g yeast

For the dough

350g spelt flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

16 leaves wild garlic very finely shredded

4 tablespoons olive oil

water to mix.

Combine the ingredients for the ferment and leave in a warm place covered for 1 hour.

Combine the dough ingredients in a bowl and stir in the ferment and enough water to make a soft dough, leave for ten minutes. Lightly oil a work surface and gently knead the dough for 1 minute. Return to the cleaned and lightly oiled bowl and leave for ten minutes, repeat twice, then leave for 1 hour.

Heat the oven 350º gas no 4.

Lightly flour a table and roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 8” wide, cut thin strips across the width of the dough, then roll and elongate each strip to 12”, place on an oiled baking tray and bake for about ½ hour until golden brown, remove and cool on rack.

Wild garlic oil

1 large handful of wild garlic leaves

about 500ml olive oil or enough to fill your chosen jar

Roughly tear up the wild garlic leaves and pack them into a wide necked jar.

Top up the jar with olive oil. Fasten with a secure lid and shake well

Leave in a cool dark place for 2/3 weeks for the garlic flavours to infuse the oil

Strain the garlic leaves from the oil and decant into a clean bottle

Store in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

Wild garlic flower vinegar

wild garlic flowers

apple cider vinegar

Gently pick the wild garlic flowers off the stems and pack into a jar. Pour over the vinegar and seal tightly, give a good shake. Leave in a cool dark place to infuse for a month before using. It will last for ages but it is so delicious you will probably use it all up quickly!

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