Stories from our School

Nettle Noodle Soup

When springtime shows itself in Seattle, it is often not the sunshine or the temperatures that tell us the season has changed. The plants are the first to inform us that spring has sprung…

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First, we saw the Indian Plum sprouting its bright green leaves. Then, the snowberry plants that the students planted this Autumn started leafing out. It wasn’t much longer before we saw a heart shaped leaf, growing on a stalk, covered with little hairs. 

As the children get to know this plant, they quickly realize that it is a very important plant to recognize. If you can identify this plant, you can avoid getting a painful sting. If you know a LOT about this plant, you can learn how to pick it without getting stung. 

Why would you want to pick stinging nettles? At Roots of Connection, we have many reasons. Sometimes we make tea, sometimes we eat the leaves raw, but every spring, we have a feast to celebrate the season…. Nettle Noodle Soup!

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Brave students went to the field to harvest the new stinging nettles - some with gloves, some with sticks to use as tweezers, and some…..with their bare hands! They collected a mound of stinging nettles that looked like far too many for us to eat. 

Part of the magic of making Nettle Noodle Soup is watching the nettles shrink when they come in contact with the boiling broth. Even though you can still see the stingers when the nettles are cooked, they can no longer sting you. 

Once the soup is made, we got to sit down and enjoy our not-so-springy Seattle weather. And what could be better to enjoy a cold, rainy day than a steaming bowl of soup? A steaming bowl of soup made from wild plants that you worked hard to collect! 

Nettle Noodle Soup: 

Note: This recipe makes a BIG pot of soup. Adjust as necessary to for your family... All ingredients used at our school are organic. 

-One cup of chopped carrots

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-One cup of chopped celery

-One cup of chopped Sweet Onions

-One to three cloves of garlic depending on taste preference

-Salt and Pepper to taste

-One tablespoon of olive oil. 

-One can of kidney beans

-Two cans of chickpeas 

-Three boxes of vegetable stock

-One large can of diced tomatoes

-One bag of pasta

-A large HEAP of stinging nettles!


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Saute’ carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in a large pot, in olive oil, with salt and pepper. Once veggies are soft, Rinse the kidney beans and chickpeas and add them to the pot. Add broth and tomatoes. In a SEPARATE pot, cook the bag of pasta. Once the pasta is strained and rinsed, it can be added to the soup-pot as well. Let the soup simmer for at least 30 minutes to absorb flavors. 

While the soup simmers, process the nettles. Pick the leaves off of the stalk, leaving the stem attached. You might want to use gloves to protect your fingers…unless you are like teacher Brooke, in which case the stingling sensation on your fingertips will remind you of the presence of spring for days to come.  Once the leaves are removed from the stalk, rinse them and then gather around the soup pot to watch the nettles shrink as soon as they touch the soup. 

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Recipe by Teacher Brooke. 

(For personal use only.)

© Roots of Connection 2018