Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Raspberry sugar and lemon shrub

Ladies, I do here present you (yet)
That which sure will well content
A Queen-like Closet rich and brave
(Such) not many Ladies have:
Or Cabinet, in which doth set
Jems richer than in Karkanet;
(They) only Eies and Fancies please,
These keep your Bodies in good ease;
They please the Taste, also the Eye;
Would I might be a stander by:
Yet rather I would wish to eat,
Since 'bout them I my Brains do beat:
And 'tis but reason you may say,
If that I come within your way;
I sit here sad while you are merry,
Eating Dainties, drinking Perry;
But I'm content you should so feed,
So I may have to serve my deed.
-Hanna Wolley, author of THE QUEENE-LIKE CLOSET Or RICH CABINET: Stored with all manner of RARE RECEIPTS For Preserving, Candying and Cookery. Very Pleasant and Beneficial to all Ingenious Persons of the FEMALE SEX [1692]

I, being a modern girl, believe that gentlemen, too, would enjoy dainties and perry*. Well, the dainties. I'm a teetotaler, so perry is right out.

To make Rasberry Sugar.
Take the Juice of Rasberries and wet your Sugar with it, and dry it in a
Stove in little Cakes; this will keep all the year, a little of it being
put into a Glass of Wine, will give it as good a taste, as you can
desire, and as good a colour; in this manner you may make Sugar of any
Fruit, Flower, or Herb.

IMG_2835.jpg picture by seshet27

Raspberries were not on sale. Strawberries were. So I used strawberries. I chopped them up and sprinkled a goodly amount of sugar on them to draw out the juice, then smashed some through a sieve to get out more juice. If I had a food processor, I would have chopped them in large pieces, left sugar on them for a while, then chopped them into smaller bits. That would have been easier. What would be really easy that only occurred to me right now would be to use frozen berries. Sigh. After that, I poured in sugar until it was the consistency of wet sand and packed it into tartlet tins. They worked great, but I bet silicone molds like these would be awesome. They air-dried for a couple hours, then I popped them out easily with a knife.

But what can you DO with this sugar, if you are not a wine-bibber? Put it in oatmeal, serve it at a tea party, lick it, or make a shrub. A shrub is a beverage that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, consisting of flavored vinegar, sugar, and water. Or rum. There were few teetotalers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

How about you, what would you do with these sugars?

IMG_2839.jpg picture by seshet27

Lemon Shrub
1 T. lemon vinegar
app. 2 T. sugar
ice water

Pour the vinegar into your glass, then add the sugar and stir around until dissolved. Fill up the rest of the glass with ice water.

Lemon Vinegar (from recipezaar)
35 oz. white vinegar
2 lemons
4 bay leaves

1. Pour the vinegar into a stainless steel pan.
2. Wash the lemons and pare the rind from them with a potato peeler.
3. Add the peel to the pan with the bay leaves and boil for 5 minutes.
4. Cover and leave to go cold.
5. Bottle, including the peel and the bay.
6. Leave for 4 weeks.
7. The vinegar can then either be strained and bottled or used as it is, depending on the strength you require.

Try these. I think the sugar is really pretty, and would look gorgeous at a party, wedding reception, baby shower, etc. The lemon shrub was fantastic as well. At first you think, "Yuck! Vinegar!" But give it a chance! Just that little splash of flavored vinegar in ice water is really refreshing.

The vinegar makes it sparkle in your mouth like a really mild soda pop, and the flavor is just like lemonade. Think of it, lemonade on tap in your fridge all year round! Just add sugar and water. Yum. With the strawberry sugar, it was like strawberry lemonade. Not terribly strawberry-y, I think it could stand to have a few slices of strawberry floating in it next time. Try it, try it, try it.

The Snail water excellent for Consumptions.

Take a Peck of Snails with the Shells on their Backs, have in a
readiness a good fire of Charcoal well kindled, make a hole in the midst
of the fire, and cast your Snails into the fire, renew your fire till
the Snails are well rosted, then rub them with a clean Cloth, till you
have rubbed off all the green which will come off.

Then bruise them in a Mortar, shells and all, then take Clary,
Celandine, Burrage, Scabious, Bugloss, five leav'd Grass, and if you
find your self hot, put in some Wood-Sorrel, of every one of these one
handful, with five tops of Angelica.

Snail-WA_edit02.jpg picture by seshet27

These Herbs being all bruised in a Mortar, put them in a sweet earthen
Pot with five quarts of white Wine, and two quarts of Ale, steep them
all night; then put them into an Alembeck, let the herbs be in the
bottom of the Pot, and the Snails upon the Herbs, and upon the Snails
put a Pint of Earth-worms slit and clean washed in white Wine, and put
upon them four ounces of Anniseeds or Fennel-seeds well bruised, and
five great handfuls of Rosemary Flowers well picked, two or three Races
of Turmerick thin sliced, Harts-horn and Ivory, of each four ounces,
well steeped in a quart of white Wine till it be like a Jelly, then draw
it forth with care.

*Like hard cider. But made with pears instead of apples. Thus, perry. Give you three guesses on what you call cider made from peaches.


Bethany said...

You should have made the snails. Wimp.

Jana said...

I know, I know!

Jenny Jo said...

I love this idea for a blog!

Sounds like the snails and earth-worms in the second recipe must be for a medicinal purpose (i.e., to treat consumption)? The flavor of this would probably be overwhelmingly herbal. In fact, if you just left out the animal ingredients, it might be a nice concoction. Although I don't know what Scabious or Five Leav'd Grass are, nor do I know of a reliable source for rosemary flowers.

Jana said...

Thank you, Jenny Jo! I agree with you on all points on the second recipe. Still, even if it did taste herbal, I would not want to be consumptive in 1692. Brrrr.

Anonymous said...

peach cider :-D

Jana said...

A good next guess would be "peachy". ;)