A walk across our sodden paddocks here a few days ago revealed a large patch of nettles. Of course they need to be dug out, as my husband hastily reminded me.
However – they are plentiful and free, and when I’ve been on radio on occasion, people ring in extolling the virtues of nettles.
I put out a call on Facebook, with many recipes provided, but nettle rennet for cheese really took my eye.
I made this nettle rennet, which turned out to be a suspicious looking green/black brew (that didn’t smell too wonderful either). After all that effort though, my husband picking a clothes basket full of the nettles, and the subsequent cooking up, I decided to use it in my feta recipe yesterday. I thought it didn’t work, no sign or curds when I went to bed.
“Oh well, ” I thought .”The chooks can have that mixture in tomorrow’s warm mash.”
However – by this morning the feta mixture had some promising looking curds, so now it is straining away in a feta basket lined with a layer of cheesecloth. The curds do still look a bit soft though. I suspect it might turn out like a nettle cream cheese.
OK, so what could I have done better? I think I added too much water when boiling up the nettles.
This morning I saw Robert heading out spade in hand to dig out all the nettle plants.
“NO! Stop! I’m going to try again!” I shouted.
So the nettles live to grow another day.
The new batch of nettle rennet I am currently preparing is looking much more promising. I’ll post a photo of the resulting cheese tomorrow.