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Wild Food & Nettle Beer

Our weekends are Sunday & Monday, as we work on Saturdays...
This Sunday we were washed out from working a few days & then going straight out in the evenings.
The weather wasn't brilliant, but on Monday we woke to beautiful blue skies & sunshine...

We'd already said we'd go out & collect some nettles, so off we went - though by the time we got out there it was 4pm, we do struggle to get going some days after working lots & just enjoy sitting with cups of tea either in the garden or at our dining table... We really are chatterboxes & sometimes I wonder how we can possibly find so much to talk about... But we do!

Just a minute from our door is the youth hostel...

Around the corner, the lane begins to go down towards the beach...
It's such a narrow steep lane & lots of big vehicles get stuck every year - our landlord, the local farmer always goes to the rescue.

The view...

And the nettles...

The hedgerows are abundant with wild food...
 The alexanders (on the right with yellow flowers) are massive this year & can be used like asparagus. They go particularly well in stir-fries or risottos. 

Goosegrass or Cleavers - Which we know as Sticky Willy.
We always add it to our beer...

The kidlets used to love finding sticky willy & delighted in secretly sticking it to our backs when on a walk! 

We also picked some 3 cornered leeks to add to our salads, but forgot to take photos & have eaten them all now!
 They taste like a cross between garlic & chives. 
We also eat the white flowers which look lovely in salads

We separated the nettles on our return.
 Some for beer...

And some to be dried in our airing cupboard...
 Which will then be chopped ready for our morning nettle tea.

Sime decided to add some dried hops to make a more bitter beer.
It doesn't look like there are many nettles in the pan, but the hops are sprinkled on the top.
We put in a large colander full of nettles, about 4 handfuls of goosegrass & a cereal bowl full of hops.

We boiled up the hops, nettles & goosegrass & simmered for about 45 minutes. 

In the fermenting bin we poured in 6 medium jars of malt extract.
Then added 1kg of raw cane sugar & a large pan of boiling water.
We stirred until the sugar had dissolved.

Then we strained the nettle mixture & added the liquid to the bin.
This filled the bin to about half way (it holds 5 gallons/25 litres).
We then finished off by filling the bin with cold water, we mixed the liquid thoroughly & were satisfied that the temperature was perfect for adding the brewing yeast (it needs to be hand hot).

This is what the beer looks like today - bubbling away...

The house now smells like a brewery & will take about 10 days to 2 weeks until it's ready to be put in the barrel - which is when the beer stops bubbling.

Next we're going to make a lemon balm bitter for the summer.

We've managed to eat outside again today...

A beautiful day...

And Sime's had a bit too much sun...

Bye for now.


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