ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland
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250g young nettle tops (best from April-June)
Wash the nettles and remove the tougher stems. Boil gently in a little
water with the lid on the pan for 15 minutes. Drain and then mash (or
liquidise) the nettles. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the onion lightly.
Stir in the flour and the oatmeal and cook on a low heat. Add the milk
slowly, then the mashed nettles. Season to taste, simmer for a short while
Pick the berries after the first frosts. Prick each with a fork and then
half fill a bottle with them. Add a few spoonfuls of sugar and fill the
bottle with gin. Agitate the bottle daily for the first week and then
weekly for the next month or two. If you're strong-willed enough, leave
it for another year. Otherwise drink it!
Collect the hips when they have just turned red. Mince 1kg in a coarse mincer and drop the mash into 1.7 litres of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and then leave to stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag (this is important, as the irritant hairs must be filtered out). Return the residue to the pan, add 800ml of boiling water, stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes before straining as before. Put all the juice into a clean saucepan and boil down to about 800ml. Add 400g of sugar and boil for a further 5 minutes. Then pour into hot sterile bottles and seal at once. Store in a dark cupboard.
4.5 litres of water
Pour the boiling water over the sugar and leave to cool. Add the flowers,
lemon juice, grated lemon zest and vinegar and cover with a thick cloth.
Leave for 48 hours and then squeeze out the flowers and strain the mixture
through a piece of muslin. Bottle it and leave for two to four weeks before
drinking. Plastic fizzy drink bottles are best, as they are unlikely to
explode if the mixture becomes too gassy.
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