Rachel Lambert: forager, author, guide
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The Best Nettle Syrup Recipe

I recently went out for a meal at a restaurant and they had wild nettle cordial on the drinks menu. Ooh, as a forager with a soft spot for 'sweet' I just had to try it. I must say, I was disappointed. I even asked for an extra dash of cordial so I could taste it better, though even then, all I could taste was sweet.

Perhaps because I'm used to making my own, non-commercial wild nettle cordial. Fresh and homemade always tastes superior, I feel. Personally, if I make something from wild ingredients I want to benefit from a mixture of the nutrients, the flavour and the whole experience of picking to creating with it.

I find nettles rewarding to cook with because they are in such abundance and their flavour is pleasant though not overly strong. My wild nettle syrup is dark green, it is nettley (not a real word, though you get the idea) and good for you. Here (video above) I'm about to dilute it as a refreshing prelude to a nettle based lunch of nettle soup and nettle pakoras.

Oh, I do like the common stinging nettle - it is the perfect spring wild food! Here I tell you a little about why I love nettles in a short video. Alternatively, discover some of the reasons nettles are worth falling in love with.

Rich Nettle Syrup

Dark and rich, I’ve watched nettle syrup disappear surprisingly quickly as a diluted drink at events. This version includes fennel, which lifts the syrup out of the darkness a little and is delicious in Nutty Nettle Energy Balls. Nettles also goes well with lemon or root ginger (simmer the ginger with the nettles, or add the lemon at the end of cooking).

The recipe for Rich Nettle Syrup is in my book 'Wild and Sweet' (page 32). Where you will also find 4 other nettle recipes such as Nettle Baklava and another 99 wild desserts in this celebrated cookbook.

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