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Requested Recipe:

NETTLES WINE


"I have heard of wine made from stinging nettles. Can you tell me how?" Jeanne Gaits, Georgia




NETTLES


The common stinging or burning nettle (Urtica dioica) has long been used for food, tea, beer, and wine. The stem and mature, dark green leaves are covered with tiny hairs ripe with formic acid, the source of the stinging inflicted by these plants. The small leaf buds and flowers that form near the top of the plant are the edible portions, too immature to be capable of inflicting pain yet. Nonetheless, one should wear a thick, long-sleeved shirt and gloves when collecting them, as most other portions of the plants from which the tender tops are collected can cause hours of pain, itching and discomfort.

Another edible nettle found in moist woods and river bottomlands throughout the eastern and southern United States is the itchweed or wood nettle (Laportea canadensis). At a height of three feet, the wood nettle is smaller than the stinging nettle and the leaves are lighter in color but exibit similar stinging properties as the stinging nettle.

Gather the young, growing tops and wash and drain them as soon as possible. Measure them without packing. Nettle wine is said to lack character and may be infused with another base ingredient to make it better. The first recipe below is for "pure" nettle wine. The others contain second ingredients.


NETTLE WINE (1)

Thinly peel the lemon and orange while bringing water to boil. Juice the lemon and orange. Place nettles, juice and lemon and orange peelings in in primary with sugar and yeast nutrient. Pour boiling water into primary and stir well to dissolve sugar. Cover with sanitized cloth and set aside to cool. When room temperature, add wine yeast. After five days of vigorous fermentation, strain liquid into secondary and attach airlock. When wine begins to clear, rack into clean secondary and refit airlock. After 3 months, rack into bottles. [Adapted from Steven A. Krause's Wine from the Wilds]


NETTLE WINE (2)

Thinly peel the lemons and place nettles, ginger slices and lemon peelings in 2-quart pot with 2 qts water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Juice the lemons and put sugar and lemon juice in primary. Strain nettles and pour water over sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar and add remaining water. Cover with sanitized cloth and set aside to cool. When room temperature, add yeast nutrient and yeast. After four days of vigorous fermentation, stir well and transfer to secondary and fit airlock. When wine begins to clear, rack into clean secondary and refit airlock. After 3 months, rack into bottles. This wine is drinkable immediately. [Adapted from C.J.J. Berry's First Steps in Winemaking]


NETTLE WINE (3)

Thinly peel the lemon and orange. Place nettles, parsley, and lemon and orange peelings in 2-quart pot with 2 qts water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Juice the lemon and orange and put sugar, citrus juice and tannin in primary. Strain nettles and pour water over sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar and add remaining water. Cover with sanitized cloth and set aside to cool. When room temperature, add yeast nutrient and stir, then add wine yeast. After four days of vigorous fermentation, stir well and transfer to secondary and fit airlock. When wine begins to clear, rack into clean secondary and refit airlock. After 3 months, rack into bottles. This wine is drinkable immediately. [Author's own recipe]


NETTLE WINE (4)

Thinly peel the lemon and orange. Place nettles, thyme and lemon and orange peelings in 2-quart pot with 2 qts water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Juice the lemon and orange and put sugar, citrus juice and tannin in primary. Strain nettles/thyme and pour water over ingredients in primary. Stir to dissolve sugar and add remaining water. Cover with sanitized cloth and set aside to cool. When room temperature, add yeast nutrient, stir and then add wine yeast. After 5 days of vigorous fermentation stir well, transfer to secondary and fit airlock. When wine begins to clear, rack into clean secondary and refit airlock. After 3 months, rack into bottles. This wine is drinkable immediately. [Author's own recipe]


NETTLE WINE (5)

Thinly peel the lemon and orange. Place nettles and lemon and orange peelings in 2-quart pot with 2 qts water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes. Juice the lemon and orange combine with grape concentrate, sugar, citrus juice, and tannin in primary. Strain nettles and pour water over ingredients in primary. Stir to dissolve sugar and add remaining water. Cover with sanitized cloth and set aside to cool. When room temperature, add yeast nutrient and stir, then add wine yeast. Allow to vigorously ferment 5 days, stir well, transfer to secondary, and fit airlock. After 30 days, rack into clean secondary, top up and refit airlock. Rack again after 60 additional days, top up and refit airlock. Allow to age additional 3 months and rack into bottles. This wine is drinkable immediately. [Author's own recipe]


My thanks to Jeanne Gaits of Georgia for this request.


This page was updated on April 7th, 2000

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