JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Clarissa Dickson Wright's nettle beer

Here is a rare recipe for this blog: one I haven't tried. But it's nettle time of year; Gertrude asked me for the instructions but didn't leave an email address, so here they are. I know that there's a lot of interest in cooking with nettles, because my posts about nettle soup and nettle tea are amongst the most visited on Joanna's Food, particularly at this time of year, when they grow with such profusion.

I'm giving CDW's exact instructions, as found in A Greener Life. There is some suggestion that this helps with rheumatism; not sure I believe it, but it sounds worth a try.

Nettle beer

makes 4.5 litres

1 kilo of young nettle tops
zest and juice of 2 lemons
25g cream of tartar
500g demerara sugar or honey
4.5l water
15g brewers' yeast

Wear rubber gloves to pick the nettle tops. Wash and drain them. Place the lemon zest and juice, cream of tartar and sugar or honey in a large container, preferably an earthenware fermenting vessel. Put the nettles and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes. (This can be done in two batches.) Strain the liquid into the lemon juice mixture. Stir well. Allow to cool to around 21C/70F. Remove a little of the liquid and make a paste with the yeast. Stir into a large container. Cover with a layer of thick cloth, tied down so that it doesn't sag into the liquid.

Leave in a warm place for three days to help the yeast to activate. Strain into bottles and cork loosely. Store in a cool, dark place. It is drinkable in one week, but ... the longer you keep it, the better it be.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Cate at Sweetnicks

Links to other posts about nettles

Nettle tea
Nettle soup

Links to nettles on other blogs

Nettle and ricotta frittata
from The Chocolate Lady
The Old Foodie on rennet from nettles
Chicken breast stuffed with nettles from Eating Britain


My friends call me Tulip said...

What an interesting post. I'm off to check out the nettle soup, DD has a garden full of nettles at the food -yay!!

KJ said...

This is really interesting. I am going to save this in case I stumble across some nettles at some point. Not of the chances here in Australia.


an extremely interesting post - our garden is a bed of nettles in the winter and spring, so I must think of some ways of using them...

katiez said...

I can almost hear Clarissa explaining this... How Fun!
I do miss those ladies.

Kalyn said...

Very interesting. I'm not sure nettles even grow here; at least I haven't ever seen them.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. You may also find useful. Kris, the guy who runs it uses nettles a lot according to the site. Makes for a good read!


Joanna said...

Thanks for that, anon, I'll check it out when I've got a moment