The Thorn and The Sting. Both dark and sinister, yet contradictory. The bramble, dark & inky, yet fleshy and sweet. Nettles are foreboding for most, conjuring images of childhood woodland escapades ending in tears as that heated prickle irks the young tender skin. But nettles, when used correctly are tender and herbaceous. The very essence of young green life. Picking the young shoots at the tips of the plants gives your food a kiss of the British Countryside.
My Mentor Freddy Forster always used to say, “what grows together, goes together” and it couldn’t be more apparent here. Sweet, inky and herbaceous yet shockingly cold, these are refreshment in the best possible way.
And they’re not resigned for adults, children adore them, running free, wellies chafing their tender little legs, the amethyst juice running down their chins as they find the next tree to climb.
Make this late spring and enjoy the best the countryside has to offer
It’s worth nothing that it is only the stems of the nettles that sting. Carefully removing the leaves and blanching them removes the sting making them safe to consume.
350g Fresh Picked or Frozen Brambles (Blackberries)
20g Nettle tips, leaves removed
100g Caster Sugar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1-2 tbsp Gin (optional)
1. Add the sugar, water and nettle tips to a small pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the brambles.
2. Cook for 1 minute more then remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice, and gin if using and pop the entire contents into a blender.
3. Blend until smooth and divide between 6 lolly moulds. Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.
4. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing from the moulds and enjoying.