I sometimes enjoy going back to my Celtic roots and making some medicinal herbal beer. Aside from making a somewhat pleasant drink, stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are a great source of vitamin C and apparently help alleviate rheumatic pain. They can also be used to make soup and are an important plant for a variety of wildlife.
It’s a Belgian dream – a beer with a lot of health benefits. Different brewers use different methods for this recipe. What follows is what I do.
As the name suggests, stinging nettles can sting and cause swelling and itchy skin! The stem and leaves have tiny barbs to protect the plant. These contain a mix of formic acid, histamine, acetycholine and serotonin. Wear gloves when picking and handling them.
Learn about more the stinging hairs of nettles and whether dock leaves actually help.
- Nettles 454-860g, fresh
- Water 3.78 litres
- Brown sugar 340-567g, or molasses
- Ginger root 14g, finely cut or grated
- Lemons 3
- Dandelion leaves 56g, optional
- Cream of tartar 28g
- Yeast beer yeast or wild yeast
Pascal Baudar is an author, wild food researcher, traditional food preservation instructor, and wild brewer living in Los Angeles. Pascal offers wildcrafting and food preservation classes through his website.
This is a recipe from The Wildcrafting Brewer by Pascal Baudar, reprinted by arrangement with Chelsea Green Publishing.