Full Nettle Jack
I feel like nettle cheese is the equivalent to receiving coal in one’s stocking. That’s not to say nettle cheese isn’t delicious, but spiky greens are an unusual thing to combine with dairy. Nettles sting, for one thing, and those who harvest them in fall have to work carefully to avoid brushing against their teensy hairs. They cause a nasty itch.
Steam nettles for 30 seconds, though, and those stingers soften. Boom: you’ve got a nutritious lunch, slightly bitter but reputedly calcium-packed. Perhaps that’s why cheesemakers delved into nettledom: to pair one calcium-rich treat with another. Makes me think that eating nettle cheese is probably a better preventative for osteoperosis than, oh, say…a multivitamin?
Full Nettle Jack (pictured) is made by Sam Kennedy over near Princeton, New Jersey. He’s the cheesemaker for Cherry Grove Farm, a sustainable dairy that supplies so many great wedges to the Philadelphia area. I’m a big fan of his rustic natural-rinded wheels, like this one (or his nutty Herdsman).
Of the two, I think I prefer this curious rogue — despite the addition of dried nettles, this cheese is supple with a vegetal, vinegary hook. Imagine a semifirm, very milky cheese with a hint of dill pickle dancing in the background.
If you receive a wedge of Full Nettle Jack in your stocking, grin and make grilled cheese.
More About Full Nettle Jack
Other Nettle Cheeses