Thistle Soup Recipe

This Thistle Soup Recipe uses wild edible thistle to create this satisfying dish.

This Thistle Soup Recipe is made using edible food from the wild.

This Thistle Soup Recipe is made using edible food from the wild.

Photo by Fotolia/zdekubik

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Learn about this Thistle Soup Recipe and how you can use this free wild food in a nutritious, delicious recipe.

Thistle Soup Recipe

Make thistle soup by chopping (scissoring would be a better word since an old pair of shears is the best thing I've found for cutting up green plants) a pan of thistles. Push them down in the pan and add just enough water to cover the plants. Bring to a boil and let simmer for at least twenty minutes. Now you can season this soup and eat it just as it is or you can add some boiled fish, leftover rice or anything else you happen to have. It's guaranteed to be good and you can use this stock in stew.

Chop and boil about six thistles until the water has absorbed most of the juice from the plants. As they're boiling, add water as needed until you have two quarts of very dark green juice or soup stock. Add to the two quarts of stock, two wild onions — tops and all — or medium chopped domestic onion bulbs. Use less if you like only a mild onion taste. Now add 1/2 pound of fish and 1/2 pound meat. The combination of meat and fish that I like best is 1/2 pound diced browned venison shin and 1/2 pound fillet of bullhead. If you're still city bound, use 1/2 pound fish or fish heads and six to eight chicken feet or one package of chicken necks or backs.

Chicken feet are rumored to be available at very small cost in some city meat markets and I hear many people buy them for "dog food". This is the best part of the chicken for making soup but the feet do require parboiling for three minutes to remove their scaly skin before they're placed in the soup. The feet also can be chopped after parboiling and before being put into the stock.

Anyway, when you finally have your meat and fish placed in the soup, add two cups cleaned and peeled arrow head tubers or chopped potatoes, a few leaves of sorrel and 1/2 cup chopped cattail stems or celery stalks. Bring to a boil, season well and simmer for about two hours. Taste before removing from the fire and add seasoning if desired. If anyone can think of a way to make a soup as good tasting and nutritious as this for as little as this one costs I would certainly like to hear about it.


Read more about finding wild edible foods: Foraging for Wild Edible Food.