Nettle Beer recipe

I’m not a beer drinker but do like this one, chilled on a hot day or sitting round a bonfire at night, easy to make and ready in less than 2 weeks. Important to say you will need strong beer bottles or plastic bottles for the second fermentation. If you try this or have suggestions on how to vary I’d love to hear from you.

  • 4400Ingredients for 1kg nettles to give 12 liters of beer. 
  • 1 1/2 kg unrefined sugar,organic if possible.
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons and 2 oranges, organic.
  • 1 teaspoon of tartaric acid or 2 teaspoons cream of tartar.
  • Piece of Dandelion root, about 100gm or root ginger.
  • 2 teaspoons of brewers yeast.(you can use bread yeast if no brewers yeast available)
  • 6 liters hot water,5 liters of cold water and a kettle full (1liter)

How to,

  1. Harvesting your nettles, Tip weigh you empty collecting container and make a note of the weight, that way you can weight the full container and easily work out weight of nettles gathered. I used a large 20 liter bucket and filled it was approximately 1kg ( if a bit more all the better) Pick just the tips of nettles leaving plenty of food for the many insects which love to feed on nettles.
  2. Put 6 liters of water to boil in a big saucepan or use two if needed. Meanwhile sort through your nettles releasing any hitch-hiking insects back to the great outdoors.
  3. Slice the root, Dandelion or ginger thinly and add to water along with the tartaric acid. Add the nettles and bring to the boil stirring once or twice, allow to boil 15 mins.
  4. Meantime put sugar, zest and juice into the fermenting bucket, boil the kettle and pour contents over sugar, stir to completely dissolve sugar.
  5. Activate the yeast by placing in a cup along with a pinch of sugar, pour on half cup warm water and leave aside.
  6. When the nettles have been boiling 15 mins remove from heat and pour into the fermenting bin, add the 5 liters of cold water and give it all a good stir.
  7. Allow to cool to blood heat and then add the activated yeast.
  8. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for 5 days.It’s best to maintain a constant temperature if possible, TIP I place the bucket on a doubled blanket and wrap the whole thing up to keep cosy. 
  9. While you are waiting for first ferment collect and clean your bottles, they can be sterilized in oven just before filling, (140 degrees cent for 20 mins) You can also use water bottles but they don’t look good and can be either too big or too small.Please do remember you need strong bottles, the swingtop kind used for many craft beers are ideal.
  10. Tip, if using clip top beer bottles, I sterilize the bottles in oven and tops including rubber seal in solution, before removing clips from bottle take a photo of them so it quick and easy to replace them correctly later.
  11. Day 5, strain beer through muslin and bottle, leave one week and it’s ready to enjoy.
  12. Share with friends.
  13. Repeat, adapt to your taste, more Dandelion? more nettle? herbs?

Elderflower Delight

Elderflowers are at their best for picking just when they open before they begin to drop their pollen.The stalks should always be removed. I first started making delight last year and was amazed by its popularity even with people who dislike turkish delight.I started with John Wright`s recipe from the River cottage handbook no.7, “Hedgerow” but soon began tweaking anf modifiying to suit my own taste, this is the result and I hope you like it.

  • 40 large elderflower heads, stalks removed,
  • 600mls water,
  • 1,400grms unrefined sugar,
  • 8 limes, jest and juice,
  • 200grms cornflower,
  • 40grms gelatine, leaf or powdered,
  • 1 teaspoon salt,

Line a shallow tray with baking parchment.put the flower heads and water into heavy sausepan and heat, leave to infuse overnight or for at least a few hours. Strain and return liquid to the pan.Add the sugar and lime juice and zest. Continue heating and stirring to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile soak the gelatine according to pack instructions. Make a smooth paste with the cornflower and some cold water. Stir the cornflower mixture into pan and mix well,add the gelatine and stir quickly to mix well and dissolve throughout mix.

Now (this is the tough bit) bring the mix to the boil stirring all the time, its a good idea to wrap the mixing hand in a tea towel to protect from heat and splashes of very hot mix.As the mix comes to the boil it will thicken and can “spit” a lot, keep stirring to prevent burning, boil for 10 minutes and then pour into prepared tray. Allow to cool and when cool cut into cubes.Place the cubes on a flat tray lined with parchment and allow to dry in a hot press or other warm dry spot for 2 or 3 days. Toss the cubes in a half and half mix of cornflower and Icing sugar. Delight can be stored in tin boxes if you can manage to resist eating it all straight away.

I would like to experiment a little further and try using Carrigeen moss to set the delight thus producing a vegan friendly version.

Hay fever tea?

Time for more recipies, so many things going on, lots of growth which is great but high pollen means hay fever for many people. If you are one of the unfortunate afflicted you could try a herbal tea made of Nettle, Elderflower, Ribwort Plantain and Camomile. I do not have a recipe for this and happily don’t suffer but here is a suggestion, I would be grateful for any other ideas and especially feedback on this. Buy herbal camomile tea and brew up with a handfull of Ribwort Plantain leaves, a glove-full of Nettle tops and 3 Elderflower heads (stalks removed). Allow to infuse for 5 minutes before straining, sweeten with honey or unrefined sugar if liked.

 

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