Once relegated to often traumatic childhood memories, Nettles are one of favourite wild superfoods that has had quite the makeover over recent years.
Fresh, vibrant green spring nettles make a gloriously herbaceous refreshing cordial – deliciously refreshing and a great way to make the most of the abundance of young growth around at the moment.
Nettles are a super nutritious plant that are high in vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, and vitamin C, whilst also being anti-inflammatory.
We love to serve this with a little sparkling water, or as part of a Nettle Collins cocktail – combined with a squeeze of fresh lime, your favourite gin (we vote for @distillersofsurrey) and soda water. (You can view our recipe video here).
To learn more about foraging for nettles and its incredibly versatility in the kitchen, explore our Nettle foraging guide.
3 large handfuls of fresh young nettles
1 litre of water
1/2 lemon, sliced
Wash the nettles thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. We’d recommend using rubber gloves or tongs to do this, so you don’t sting yourself!
Boil a kettle, then pour over the nettles (ensuring the nettles are in a heatproof jar or saucepan). Add a few slices of lemon.
Leave to cool, then cover and place in a cool spot for 12 hours, to allow the flavours and nutrients to infuse into the water.
Pop everything into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, then strain the nettle leaves and lemon out.
Add the same volume of sugar as liquid (a rough guess by eye is totally fine). Simmer for 5-10 minutes until combined.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Store in sterilised bottles and enjoy with sparkling water, or as a great base for a Nettle Collins cocktail (with a squeeze of lime, gin and soda water!).
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Always use young, vibrant fresh nettles – before they start to flower. We pick just the tops of the plants, where all the flavour and nutritional qualities are, always leaving the roots intact so that the plant can regrow.
It’s important to avoid harvesting from areas that have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals – as well as away from common dog walking routes!
Nettles have tiny hairs that can cause skin irritation, so it’s important to wear gloves when handling them.
Be sure to wash the plant thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
While nettles are generally considered safe for consumption, some people may have allergic reactions to the plant. Always try a small sample before consuming in quantity.
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