During forest school today we looked at the most hated plant in your garden, the stinging nettle.
When asked why do we have stinging nettles, the overruling answer was. “TO STING US!”
However, according to www.nettles.org.uk the stinging nettle is a major part of our eco system, housing approximately 40 different species of insect from caterpillar to butterflies and protecting them from predators.
They also contain a high level of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, B, C and K, calcium, iron, potassium, essential amino acids and lots more.
Studies have found that eating stinging nettles may reduce inflammation, help treat hay fever, lower blood pressure and aid blood sugar control (www.healthline.com) So teaching children that these “horrible” little stingers are not just on this planet to hurt us I felt was important.
We started around the log circle and discussed the amazing things the stinging nettle can do. Did you know the juice of a stinging nettle is an antidote to the sting of a stinging nettle?
We discussed how we can reduce the chances of getting stung. Wearing gardening gloves and long sleeves. The children helped to picked nettles prepare the soup and collect wood for the fire.
So why not give it a go yourself and show your children the benefits of the stinging nettles instead of telling them to stay away from them? It couldn’t be easier, in fact the children managed to prepare all of this completely independently (as long as you are happy to let them (safely) loose with a knife).
A mixing bowl of nettle heads
2 large potatoes
2 small onions
2 cloves of garlic
150-200ml cream (we used soya milk today to make it suitable for vegans)
Approx. 1 litre of water
Salt and pepper
A pinch of chilli powder
Glug of olive oil
Vegetable stock cube
First, please remember to wash the nettles in some cold water.
Chop everything into pieces, fry off the potatoes, onions, and garlic in the olive oil for around 5 minutes.
Add the stinging nettles and cook off for another few minutes. Add water.
Once it starts boiling add the stock cube. When dissolved add the cream. Add the pinch of chilli powder salt and pepper.
We blitzed it to make it a smooth soup but you don’t have to. However this does mean that you do not have to worry about the fine chopping of the ingredients.