Nature calls

 This is what I am looking for
I have a need for rennet.I have made extensive enquiries here in the Algarve as to where I could obtain rennet but no joy. I am surrounded by artesan cheese makers and farms,but it is not cheese I am looking at making.What´s he up to you ask ?-more on that story later.
I am no great fan of veggie substitutes, agar agar and all that, but with no animal rennet to hand I shall have to go down the veggie trail.Talking of which its that time of year and I have got my foraging head on. I have my foraging kit in the back of the car on the off chance of passing by a nettle bed, a patch of wild spinach or some other manifestation of free food ..... gloves, snippers and saco pano on board off I go, and yes I´ve found one.
Nettles nestled neatly under the boardwalk to the beach in abundance. If my rennet works I will post what I have produced with it.

Rennet —liquid rennet derived from wild nettles?  that’s right, nettles can seperate milk into curds and whey.  So although cheese will never be vegan (duh), there is a way to make it completely vegetarian.  I have a grand plan for this rennet, let me tell you! Pictures will have to wait — In the meantime, here’s how you can make your own vegetarian rennet:

In a large pot, combine 1lb (500 g) nettle tips with 2 quarts (2 litres) of cold water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Use a pair of tongs to push the nettles below the surface of the boiling water until wilted and submerged.  Continue to boil the nettles over medium heat for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat, strain out the nettles, reserving the liquid.  Stir 2 teaspoons of salt into the hot liquid, then set aside to cool.  Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

It takes about 2/3 cup of homemade nettle rennet for 2 quarts (2 litres) of pasteurized  milk.


  1. Talk about getting in touch with your roots! Didn't they use nettles for cheesemaking in ancient Scotland? I have a healthy batch of nettles in a corner of the garden - I generally leave them there for the flora and fauna, but assuming the foxes don't pee on them, I think I might give this a go . . .

  2. Rupert, I could get you some artichoke rennet or animal rennet from the place here in Spain and send it to you if you would like ????

    (or both)



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