from Rachel for ‘the guidebook’- discovering what’s on our doorstep (in progress)
Nettle Beer is a must for spring, a great way of enjoying nutritious nettles, and a perfect drink for those lighter evenings… Very simple to make, and can be ready within a week, infact, I prefered the ‘fresh’ one, to the version that had been stored for a year – how’s that for instant rewards!! This recipe was adapted from Roger Phillip’s book; Wild Food, which I consider a classic book for wild foodies.
50 nettle tops (top 6 leaves, with stalk
6 gallons of water
1oz cream of tartar
1.5 lb of sugar
1/4 oz of brewers yeast
Boil the nettles in the water for 15-20 minutes. Keep the water, and drain off the nettles, add the sugar and cream of tartar, and stir until dissolved (reheat a little if needed to help this process). Allow to cool down, and while luke warm add the yeast. Cover with a clean cloth, and leave to ferment for a week. Bottle, or drink immediately -it’s alcoholic and fizzy!
Nettle Pesto – using gloves and scissors, cut the top 4 to 6 leaves of nettles (before they flower). Wash and blanch for 1 minute in boiling water, then add in the blender with garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, shelled walnuts, salt and pepper. Alter the ingredients to suit your tastes, though note that the cheese and garlic will proably come through stronger with time! Serve on toast, mixed in with pasta, rice or rissotto, or as a dip. The taste and nutrition of this recipe is divine – hurray for nettles!
Nettle tops (2 large handfuls)
Shelled walnuts (1/2 handful)
Parmesan cheese (1/3 handful, grated)
Extra virgin olive oil (4 taplespoons)
1-2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper (to taste)