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Welsh Nettle Beer

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 August 2018 at 11:51
I struggled to find a proper translation into Welsh for this, and finally gave up.

I make no claims as to whether this recipe is "viable" or "authentic," as I am unable to try it due to a lack of needed ingredients. I hope someone is able to give this a try, perhaps in the UK or northern Europe, and would really love to hear about the results.

I would suggest covering the fermentation vessel with a tea towel at the very least, or using some sort of blow-off tube or air-lock, if possible.

I will caution: 12 hours of fermentation, then 24 hours of "gassing off" before sealing the bottles seems like it might not be quite enough time, but I cannot say for sure; with only 1 pound of sugar for the yeast to consume, it could very well be just fine for the intended results, I do not know. It might be "safer" to bottle this in PET plastic bottles, at least the first time. If I were able to try this, that's what I would do.

Quote Nettle Beer

What You Need:

A basketful of young nettles
A handful of dandelions
A handful of currant leaves
1 pound sugar to each gallon of liquid
A handful of goose grass
1 ounce yeast
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Wash and drain the nettle and currant leaves, goose grass and dandelions and put into a very large saucepan.

2. Add enough cold water to cover, bring to the boil and cook rapidly for 10 minutes.

3. Strain through a sieve, pressing well to obtain the entire flavor from the leaves.

4. Pour into an earthenware vessel and add the sugar.

5. Leave until lukewarm, then add the yeast, previously dissolved in a little of the liquid, and the cream of tartar.

6. Leave in a warm place for at least 12 hours to allow the yeast to work.

7. Bottle and cork lightly. After 24 hours, cork very tightly. Leave for at least 2 months before drinking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 12:48
Regarding the currant leaves used in making this, here are some relevant snippets from Wikipedia:

Quote Blackcurrant

Ribes nigrum, the blackcurrant, is a medium-sized shrub, growing to 1.5 by 1.5 metres (4.9 by 4.9 ft).... In midsummer the strigs of green fruit ripen to edible berries, very dark purple in colour, almost black, with glossy skins and persistent calyxes at the apex, each containing many seeds. An established bush can produce about 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of fruit each year....

The blackcurrant is native to northern Europe and Asia. It was cultivated in Russia by the 11th century when it was present in monastery gardens and also grown in towns and settlements. Cultivation in Europe is thought to have started around the last decades of the 17th century. Decoction of the leaves, bark or roots was also used as traditional remedies.

During World War II, most fruits rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, became difficult to obtain in the United Kingdom. Since blackcurrant berries are a rich source of the vitamin and blackcurrant plants are suitable for growing in the UK climate, the British Government encouraged their cultivation and soon the yield of the nation's crop increased significantly. From 1942 onwards, blackcurrant syrup was distributed free of charge to children under the age of two, and this may have given rise to the lasting popularity of blackcurrant as a flavouring in Britain. In Britain the commercial crop is completely mechanised and about 1,400 hectares of the fruit are grown, mostly under contract to the juicing industry. Commercially, most large-scale cultivation of blackcurrants is done in eastern Europe for the juice and juice concentrate market.[19] As of 2017, major cultivation efforts to improve fruit characteristics occurred in Scotland, New Zealand, and Poland....

In Lithuanian cuisine, Juodųjų serbentų pyragas, or blackcurrant pie, is a popular dessert.

The fruit of blackcurrants can be eaten raw, but it has a strong, tart flavour. It can be made into jams and jellies which set readily because of the fruit's high content of pectin and acid. For culinary use, the fruit is usually cooked with sugar to produce a purée, which can then be passed through muslin to separate the juice. The purée can be used to make blackcurrant preserves and be included in cheesecakes, yogurt, ice cream, desserts, sorbets and many other sweet dishes. The exceptionally strong flavour can be moderated by combining it with other fruits, such as raspberries and strawberries in summer pudding, or apples in crumbles and pies. The juice can be used in syrups and cordials. Blackcurrants are a common ingredient of rødgrød, a popular kissel-like dessert in North German and Danish cuisines.

Blackcurrants are also used in savoury cooking because their astringency creates added flavour in many sauces, meat and other dishes and they are included in some unusual combinations of foods. They can be added to tomato and mint to make a salad, used to accompany roast or grilled lamb, used to accompany seafood and shellfish, used as a dipping sauce at barbecues, blended with mayonnaise, used to invigorate bananas and other tropical fruits, combined with dark chocolate or added to mincemeat in traditional mince pies at Christmas....

The juice forms the basis for various popular cordials, juice drinks, juices and smoothies. Typically blended with apple or other red fruits, it is also mixed with pomegranate and grape juice. Macerated blackcurrants are also the primary ingredient in the apéritif liqueur crème de cassis, which in turn is added to white wine to produce a Kir or to champagne to make a Kir Royale.

In the United Kingdom, blackcurrant cordial is often mixed with cider (hard cider) to make a drink called "cider and black". If made with any common British lager beer, it is known as a "lager and black". The addition of blackcurrant to a mix of cider and lager results in "diesel" or "snakebite and black" available at pubs. A "black 'n' black" can be made by adding a small amount of blackcurrant juice to a pint of stout. The head is purple if the shot of juice is placed in the glass first. Blackcurrant juice is sometimes combined with whey in an endurance/energy-type drink.

In Russia, blackcurrant leaves may be used for flavouring tea or preserves, such as salted cucumbers, and berries for home winemaking. Sweetened vodka may also be infused with blackcurrant leaves making a deep greenish-yellow beverage with a tart flavour and astringent taste. The berries may be infused in a similar manner. In Britain, 95% of the blackcurrants grown end up in Ribena (a brand of fruit juice whose name is derived from Ribes nigrum) and similar fruit syrups and juices.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackcurrant
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 13:38
My parents have a couple red currant bushes in their back yard, I wonder if the leaves can be substituted. 

I'm not sure what goose grass is, but everything else seems find-able.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 14:13
I would bet that red currants would work just as well with no trouble at all.

As for Goose Grass, I'm not even sure what it might be related to; here are some examples, according to Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goosegrass

I'm pretty sure I've seen one of the varieties here in Montana:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carex_lenticularis

According to the USDA, that one (Carex lenticularis) can also be found in in the Pacific Northwest:

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=CALE8
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 14:53
I did a rather loose search for goose grass and came across this...

http://www.survival-manual.com/edible-plants/goose-grass.php

And given the definition in wikipedia and that it's in the same family as coffee, I'm guessing that's what it means, though it's certainly up to debate.

I've seen plenty of it around here in the woods.

When spring comes around I might be persuaded to give this a try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 15:03
An important note:

I'm still sorting out what "nettles" are, but it appears that at least some of them are related to the Nightshade family, which means that some can and probably are poisonous.

I strongly caution anyone to keep this in mind if pursuing this project.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 15:19
Good news regarding nettles:

It looks like one of the most common species (Stinging Nettle) is widely distributed throughout the United States and Northern Europe:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_dioica

It also appears that while this one can "sting" you a bit, it doesn't appear to be deadly, and is in fact used for various culinary and herbal purposes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 15:44
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

An important note:

I'm still sorting out what "nettles" are, but it appears that at least some of them are related to the Nightshade family, which means that some can and probably are poisonous.

I strongly caution anyone to keep this in mind if pursuing this project.


Hmm, you may be right on that one. I was misreading that as 'needles' like pine needles. Along the lines of spruce beer.

Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

Good news regarding nettles:
It looks like one of the most common species (Stinging Nettle) is widely distributed throughout the United States and Northern Europe:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_dioica

It also appears that while this one can "sting" you a bit, it doesn't appear to be deadly, and is in fact used for various culinary and herbal purposes.


Stinging nettles are quite common around this area for sure. I've been stung many times with them, and once as a kid my friends and I even had a "war" where we took rather long stalks of it and would attack each other like they were swords. It produces a rather unpleasant burning rash that lasts a couple hours. I've never had it as food before but I know people make tea out of it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2018 at 22:07
Nettles have a long history as both a foodstuff and medicinal herb. The "stinging" hairs covering the leaves inject formic acid into the skin.

Depending on the person, the reaction to this ranges from an irritating itch,to a burning rash. However, the hairs (actually phytohypodermic thorns), lose their potency when the herb is cooked.

But we hae meat and we can eat
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2018 at 09:33
Thanks for the information, guys - my own knowledge on them is exactly nil.

It looks like the best time for this project is springtime; our own GarethM and a couple of other fellows in the UK are going to give this a try; assuming that the same or closely-related components can be found on this side of the pond, I'd be interested in seeing if anyone can give this a go over here, too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2018 at 12:03
Just wanted to add this link for those who want to try to harvest stinging nettles for this.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-harvest-and-prepare-nettles-2952739


Mike
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