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This recipe calls for stinging nettle (urtica dioica), a plant that can be found in most regions and climates.
Stinging nettle is painful to touch; wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from this plant’s irritating leaves when harvesting. Check books on wild foraging or edible weeds for proper plant identification.
Harvest nettle leaves before the plant has gone to seed. Once the nettle has seeded, it is unsafe to use for making rennet. Harvest nettle leaves into a clean paper sack.
If fresh nettle is not available in your area, check local natural food stores. Dried nettle leaves are readily available, as they are often used for tea. Substitute ¾-1 pound dried nettle for 2 pounds fresh leaves.
Instructions for Making Nettle Rennet:
How to Use Nettle Rennet in Cheesemaking
When using nettle rennet in cheesemaking, use slightly less salt than the cheese recipe calls for, because the rennet will be a bit salty.
Nettle rennet can be used with any milk to make cheese. However, cheese made with vegetable rennet may develop a bitter flavor if aged for a long period of time (over 2 months). Solve this problem by using animal rennet for aged cheeses, making cheeses with shorter aging periods when using nettle rennet, or merely eating the cheese younger.
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