I'm not entirely sure where I got the idea for nettle syrup but whilst it is fairly similar to the pretty boy elderflower cordial recipe I personally think it's more of a head turner because most folk haven't heard of it..."Nettles?" they say, "Yes nettles" I reply.
200g nettle tops (Useable tops from approx Feb-Oct. Avoid large 'leathery' leaves)
1 kilo sugar
40g citric acid
500ml boiling water
Dissolve the sugar and citric acid into the boiling water in a bowl. It sounds a lot of sugar to disslove (it is!) but it will go.
Strip the leaves off the stems and roughly chop them.
Submerge in the syrupy mixture and leave for anything from 2-7 days, stirring now and then. It will turn a sort of greeny, grey colour but have faith.
Strain out the spent nettles...try them, they are (predictably) sugary and actually rather nice.
This syrup is nice on it's own but also works when mixed with a little Elderflower cordial (how to here). If you use red stemmed nettles (as I usually do) you'll get pinky/ orangy syrup. See the Cub supplement article I did here. I can't see any reason why this basic cordial/ syrup mix wouldn't work with a whole host of ingredients...I have my eye on an interesting ingredient that I'll be experimenting in due course...I must get round to trying this with a little less sugar but I like it as it is for the time being.
I happened to mention this syrup on the Forage London Facebook page of (a.k.a John Rentson) and he asked me how I made it which I was rather pleased about. He said that he usually makes dishes with less sugar in and did this at about 50%. Now the last thing I wrote before publishing this page was that I'd like to try a lower sugar version, so I should take this opportunity to do so...Going forward I will be obeying my sweet tooth!