Nettle Ginger Beer.
Nettles are one of the most abundant plants on this island and the most nutritional, they are also the most useful and leased used. The can be used for everything from rope to pesto, skin care to medicinal tea and then plant food! But perhaps most glorious, they make a great beer. They make a beer that has been recognised for thousands of years as delicious and health giving drink. Before agriculture, beer existed in the form of meads made from fermented honey and water, and nettles made one of the most enduring recipes.
Our message is to leave the honey for the bees in these industrial times and head for making the most of the ingredients that are abundant at our fingertips now. Grown in greenhouses or saved from the food system, GINGER is available from most green grocers and also affordable dried. This Recipe uses just 5 ingredients to make a glorious brew thats good for you!
· 1 carrier bag nearly full of nettle tips
· 600g brown sugar
· one lemon
· 20g cream of tartar
· a sachet of beer yeast
· 20g root ginger, chopped and bruised (optional)
· 8 pints of water
To make this for a fundraising event, multiply all by 5 to have enough for a crowd to enjoy.. you'll need a 30 litre brewing bucket with an airlock, a 15 litre pan a thermometer and small area of a household kitchen. Another 25 litre bucket or barrel, a sieve, a large funnel and a colander.
The evening before you make the Beer, fill half the water in the clean bucket and put the nettles in to steep. Bruise and dice the Ginger, squeeze and chop up the lemons and add all of that to the bucket too. Close the lid and leave for 12 hours, this will extract their flavour and nutrients overnight and make a nutritious cold brew that can also be drunk as a tonic. Rinse the nettles and heat up half of the water in pan, add the sugar and heat just enough to dissolve it and make a clear syrup, pour the sugar syrup over the steeped nettles and stir in, add the cream of tartar, stir well and then pitch the yeast! This is called an inoculation!