Friday, 10 April 2009

A buzz from the nettles

Mark Temple of Ashgreen Organics
Beware: Nettles can sting (Mark's been looking at his risk assessment)
The big bag of buzzing nettles
The Slow Food Market at the Southbank Centre, in front of the Royal Festival Hall is a market which gathers some truely exceptional food heroes.  Over this Easter week end the market is resident for 4 days.  

The winner of outstanding contribution was Mark Temple from Kent.  He grows rare apples, many heritage varieties, and some which don't even have names.  Each market Mark will bring something special of the season that you may not find too easily elsewhere.  Today he had stinging nettle lemonade.  
A large dustbin bag of freshly picked nettles passed through the juicing machine, some freshly squeezed lemon and topped with fizzy water.  This resulting offbeat cocktail was surprisingly pleasing.  It certainly tasted  very good for you.  Mark said the aftertaste reminded him of oysters and although I would never have worked that connection out for myself; I couldn't disagree.   Tomorrow I am going to check with oyster aficionado Richard Haward for a taste comparison, I will report back.

In the old days, come spring time, nettle soup was commonplace.  It's rich in iron.  The raw fresh juice certainly tasted potent and a subsequent buzz did kick in 5 minutes after drinking it.  Reminded me of the buzz one gets from wheatgrass juice, but without the foul taste.  
My top tip is to get down to the market over the next 3 days and get some of the nettle nectar.
Chin chin!

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