4c Stinging Nettles
1 1/2c Water
2c Sugar (we used superfine)
Heat sugar and water in a high-sided pot over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves (the mixture will be clear).
Bring to a boil.
Make sure to wear a glove when handling nettles (until they're cooked)!
Add the nettles, pushing them under the liquid with a wooden spoon until they are wilted: 1-2 mins. Remove from heat and cover.
Leave to steep 30 minutes covered. Strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve pushing liquid out of the nettles. Discard solids. Transfer strained liquid to a glass container.
Syrup can be stored up to 3 months according to Traunfeld. We put it in glass bottles and store them in a cool dark spot.
Serve with sparkling water and a dash of lemon, over fruit or ice cream.
The Inspiration, Notes & Substitutions:
We enjoyed a Stinging Nettle beverage at the Herbfarm and have wished to duplicate it. Stinging Nettles are available in the early spring and are really good for you, but require special handling as they will really sting! We purchased ours at our local farmer's market already picked and stemmed. If you bravely forage them, be sure to wear gloves and only use the leaves and a short bit of the leaf stem for this recipe.
The recipe in the Herbfarm cookbook is for an Herbal Simple Syrup – not specific to Stinging Nettles – this is my adaptation of it and it worked great.
Sugar is completely dissolved when mixture becomes clear
Add Nettles and push down until wilted
Stinging Nettles after steeping for 30 minutes
Other herbs could be substituted for the nettles. The amount of herb/sugar/water ratio can be adjusted - to get a stronger infusion use a higher ratio of herbs.
Other Herb Simple Syrup suggestions: Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Mint, and Pineapple Sage.