Nettles can be found in abundance around our Cornish coast, but there is more to them than just a sting. Cornwall is famous for it’s Cornish Yarg, a cheese that uses nettles as a key ingredient.
Our friends at the Lynher Dairy near Truro (recently visited by Mary Berry for her TV programme Mary Berry Cooks) specialise in making their own Cornish Yarg. One of the most notable features of this cheese is its wrapping made from wild Cornish nettles which adds a light mushroom like flavour to the cheese.
Nettles are a super food: As well as being known for possessing antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, they are also a surprisingly nutritious plant. Nettles are rich in lots of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and C, so despite their prickly reputation they’re very good for you!
There’s a particular process to making Cornish Yarg. Firstly, the curd is pressed and brined before it is covered in its famous wrapping. The wild nettles are foraged from the Cornish countryside and are usually at their best for picking between the months of May and September. Once picked, the nettles are stripped of their leaves and these are then rinsed and steamed.
When ready, the nettle leaves are painted onto the cheese very carefully using a brush, arranged in a pattern of concentric circles to attract natural moulds. The cheese is then left to mature for around 3-5 weeks before it’s ready to eat, having developed a unique coating on the wrapping with its distinct lacy white pattern.
Enjoy with fresh crusty bread, melted in a quiche or add a Cornish twist to a pasta dish!