May 15-26, 2013 — Be Nice to Nettles Week

be nice to nettles week

Click here to get to the week’s website

Nettle Week is celebrated throughout the UK. There are nettle safaris (long sleeve shirts recommended) — followed by lunches of nettle soup, nettle pasta, nettle and chestnut risotto, and dandelion salad.

Nettle Week is organized by CONE (Cramlington Organisation for Nature and the Environment), based in Northumberland. 

In Praise of Nettles

“Within the Buckingham Palace gardens nettles play an important role in the wildlife habitat areas providing a valuable food source for caterpillars. I hope National Be Nice to Nettles Week is a great success and congratulate CONE on this exciting initiative.”

Mark Lane, Head Gardener, Buckingham Palace




The name “nettle” may have been derived from the old Anglo-Saxon word “noedl” for a needle. Or it may have been derived from the Latin word “nere” which means to sew.

Nettles are nutritional — an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and iron.

As reported on, “This week the much maligned stinging and boring looking nettle gets its day of glory.”

•  Celebrations are held throughout the U.K..

•  Nettle safaris take place, with the warning to wear long sleeves.

•  Food served will include nettle pasta, nettle and chestnut risotto, nettle cheese, nettle tea.

•  The most popular nettle recipe is for nettle soup.

Lady Ridley’s Nettle Soup


  • ½ lb young nettles
  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 ½ pints chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • Peel and chop the potatoes, cook for ten minutes in salted water, then drain.
  • Wash and coarsely chop the nettles. Pick the new, young tops. Wear gloves.
  • Melt the butter, add the nettles, stew gently for a few minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and heated stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about ten minutes until tender.
  • Let the mixture cool. Puree in a blender. Add the seasoning and sour cream.

“I hope you enjoy the nettle soup. The hardest work is picking the nettles. Half a pound is a lot of small leaves, but it is fun to do. In season, once a year.” From the Viscountess Ridley

Nettle Pizza

A treat at 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria in Washington DC
click here for trip report from a DMC member