Stinging Nettle Scones

Why it’s the best time of year to make Stinging Nettle Scones

Primroses, daisies, violets and leaves in spring flower arrangement

It has been wet here and there’s water in ditches that have been dry for years. Bill and Jack are desperate to get the tractor work done, but alas every sunny and windy spell that dries the fields has been followed by a soaking. On the bright side, there’s plenty growing; primroses smother some of the ditch banks and the violets are flowering profusely.

Stinging Nettles growing wild in England

There are also stinging nettles springing into life. Stinging nettles are unpopular a lot of the time. Unexpectedly encountering a clump of high growing and vicious nettles in the summer when walking with bare legs is a painful experience, as is not noticing small nettles when pulling weeds in the garden. But, it’s always good to have a patch of nettles somewhere out of the way as they’re a good food source for butterflies and insects and their high nitrogen content make them useful on the compost heap or soaked in water to make a liquid feed.

Even better, you can eat nettles and spring is the best time of all to pick them.

If you’ve thought about foraging for wild food but aren’t sure where to start, then try stinging nettles.

Stinging nettles are easy to identify, grow abundantly and they’re nutritious. Be warned though; nettles taste very green. If you look for stinging nettle recipes, Nettle Soup always pops up. I’ve made several batches of nettle soup and sometimes it was OK, sometimes it didn’t taste too good and it was never fantastically delicious. Mostly, it tasted as though it should be good for you. Which indeed it is.

Cooking with Stinging Nettles

We enjoy stinging nettles stirred into risotto, in a hedgerow pesto or as an addition to soda bread and over the years, we’ve decided that we prefer them as a supporting ingredient rather than the star. Perhaps that’s the reason that the recipe I return to every spring and continue to make through to early summer is the one for Stinging Nettle Scones. The nettles don’t dominate but they add interest and if nothing else, provoke a little discussion around the table.

The Best Time of Year to Make Stinging Nettle Scones

Spring is the best time to make Stinging Nettle Scones because you need to use young, tender leaves and not the tough stringy plants of late summer. Did you know that nettles are so fibrous that they can be used to make fabric? That’s why you need young plants for these scones. Although spring is the best time, you can cut down older plants later in the year and wait for the new growth.

Gathering stinging nettles in colander with violets growing beside

Picking Stinging Nettles

Pick the top six or seven leaves from young nettle plants, cutting them straight into a colander so that you don’t have to handle them. Alternatively, wear gardening gloves to avoid stinging your hands. Rinse the leaves, picking out any stray blades of grass, and tip the stinging nettle leaves into a bowl. Pour enough boiling water into the bowl to cover the nettles and leave them to wilt for a couple of minutes. Hey presto, the leaves don’t sting any more. Honestly. Fish them out, squeeze out the excess water and make a batch of scones.

Stinging Nettle Scones

Needless to say, these scones are best eaten warm, spread generously with butter.

Go on, be brave and give them a go with this recipe for stinging nettle scones.

21 thoughts on “Why it’s the best time of year to make Stinging Nettle Scones

  1. They look great but I reckon my first bite of anything with nettle would be a little cautious (although I really do believe they no longer sting!).

    1. When we make them at Open Farm Sunday, children positively relish the chance to eat them and think they’re being really daring. Honestly, they won’t sting.

  2. I might give this recipe a go! We have plenty of stinging nettles here and nipping their tops off would be a good thing to do 🙂 Such pretty little violets!

    1. The violets are so good this year; they seem to have spread into new places too so I keep discovering little patches of them. Hope you try the scones and enjoy them.

  3. These look good! I’ve made Nettle soup using the Hugh F-W recipe and it’s pretty good … in a rustic kind of way … like Hugh :-))))

  4. These look great Anne. Yum! I have a patch in my garden where stinging nettles pop up every year. I have tried to make pesto with them in the past but it was very fibrous! Your scones look like a much tastier option.

    1. I know what you mean about fibrous pesto 🙂 I soon learnt to just use the leaves and discard any stalks. I’m sure you could incorporate some nettles into a sourdough loaf too.

    1. Sounds like you need to get your pinny on Brian and get baking 🙂 The weather may have been dire for gardeners and farmers, but the violets and primroses seem to have thrived on it.

  5. I have a wine barrel full of nettles .. I can’t bring myself to pick them! Silly ah … I think they may also be a compost activator and are used in bio dynamics. Now those scones look divine Anne, wish I lived closer 🙂

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