An early memory from childhood at Butterwell Farm is of the glass bottles in which mum and dad stored the ginger beer and elderflower champagne they made, exploding and then setting off a chain reaction of explosions. The IRA could not have organised it better. And thus the nettle bear I made is stored in plastic bottles which should not explode and which I am now “burping” once a day, that is to say letting the air out and the beer fizz. And boy is it fizzing. In a week’s time, the beer, currently sitting next to a piggy bank in the larder, will be ready to drink and will be decanted into glass bottles and stored in the fridge. I have already promised to bring a glass up to neighbour D, to the chap repointing our barns and to the couple who run the village’s Greek South African restaurant. After all, they had a special present for me today.
Meanwhile, the remaining nettle tops have been mixed with almost a litre of water, 1.5 kg of sugar and 40 teaspoons of lemon juice. I apologise for going all metric on you but it is what is on the packet. Heated to 60 degrees, what you see below is now covered with a cheesecloth and sitting in the kitchen where I shall stir it daily. In a week’s time, it should have turned red and will be strained and poured straight into bottles where it should be nettle cordial. Fingers crossed.