To make any conserve

To make conserve of any fruit you please, you shall take the fruit you intend to make conserve of and if it be stone fruit you shall take out the stones; if other fruit, take away the paring and core, and them boil them in fair running water to a reasonable height; then drain them from thence, and put them into a fresh vessel with claret wine, or white wine, according to the color of the fruit; and so boil them to a thick pap all to mashing, breaking, and stirring them together; then to every pound of pap put to a pound of sugar, and so stir them all well together, and being very hot, strain them through fair strainers, and so pot it up. [1] Markham

On the surface this is a recipe might be something that is between a jam and a jelly.  Pulp can still be pushed through a strainer, but the skins and most seeds are removed.  The only explicit amounts listed are the pulp to sugar ratio- 1:1. The rest of the amounts and ingredients are left to chance and experimentation.

For pass #1 I used 24 oz of raspberries and 24 oz of black berries.  Both are starting to come into season in my area and are readily available. I used a Bordeaux rose for the wine. There is speculation about what claret was in 16th century England. Claret is a wine from the Bordeaux region of France, but is a term that was not used by the French. Origins of the word are unknown. References to dark red wine appear in the 18th century.  Experts believe claret refers to paler red wine, similar to a modern rose, as that was the type of grape being grown in the region.[2,3]

I put the berries in a pot with enough distilled water to cover, and brought it to a boil. At boil, I turned off the heat drained the liquid and returned the berries to a clean pot. I added enough wine to cover the berries. I set it over medium high heat and cooked until all the berries had slipped their skins and turned into a thickened pulpy mush.  I ended up with 2 lbs of mush, so I added 2 lbs of sugar.  Brought the whole mixture back up to a temperature of 220 degrees. I then strained the whole mixture through a mesh sieve. I canned the mixture according to modern canning techniques.

I am not 100% sure the mixture will set like a modern jam/jelly.  It was semi solid when they went into the jars last night.  I am also not 100% certain it is suppose to set like a modern preserve.  It wasn’t cooked long enough to be a paste. There was no additional pectin in the form of apples, like there was in the marmalade recipe. The recipe does say it gets potted up rather than boxed.  So there may be a presumption this going to have more liquid.

Because I am impatient, I cracked open one of the jars.  It is indeed the consistency of a semi solid gel.  For this fruit, I believe it follows along with what the recipe wanted me to do. It sticks to the knife and slowly slides down.
knife spoon

[1] Markham, Gervase, and Michael R. Best. The English Housewife: Containing the Inward and Outward Virtues Which Ought to Be in a Complete Woman … Montreal: McGill-Queen’s U, 1998. Print. p. 116

[2] Merchant, Wine, and W. R. Loftus. The Wine Merchant ; a Familiar Treatise on the Art of Making Wine, Etc. London: n.p.75, 1865. Print.

[3] Lawther, James, Hugh Johnson, and Jon Wyand. The Finest Wines of Bordeaux: A Regional Guide to the Best Châteaux and Their Wines. Berkeley: U of California, 2010. Print. pg. 8

The most kindly way to preserve plums, cherries, gooseberries, & c.

The most kindly way to preserve plums, cherries, gooseberries, &c. You must first purchase some reasonable quantity of their own juice, with a gentle heat upon embers, between two dishes, dividing the juice still as it comes in the strewing; then boil each fruit in his own juice, with a convenient proportion of the best refined sugar.- Hugh Plat

This is a whole cherry recipe, equal parts liquid to sugar, boiled to thread state syrup. The fruit was de-stemmed and boiled in the syrup.  I did not have enough of the pure cherry juice to do a 1:1 ratio, so I mixed the juice with water to create 4 cups of liquid (amount needed for 2lbs of cherries). There was a need to skim the scum from the mixture as it was cooking. I chose to take the liquid to thread state as that is the common stage for syrups. Manus Christi height would be too stiff for a liquid.
cherryskim

It was canned for modern preservation. This preserves the cherries in a heavy syrup and maintains the wonderful cherry flavor and provides modern food safety and stabilization.
Cherry
[1] Platt, Hugh. “The Arte Of Preserving Conserving, Candying.” Delights for Ladies: To Adorne Their Persons, Tables, Closets, and Distillatories with Beauties, Banquets, Perfumes, and Waters. Reade, Practise, and Censure. London: Humfrey Lownes, 1609.

To make Marmalade of Lemons or Oranges

To make Marmalade of Lemons or Oranges. Take ten lemons or oranges and boil them with half a dozen pippins, and so draw them through a strainer, then take so much sugar as the pulp does weigh, and boil it as you do Marmalade of Quinces, and then box it up. -Hugh Plat.

I followed the recipe up until the boil it as you do Marmalade of Quinces. I ended up with 2 lbs of pulp, so I added 2 lbs of sugar. I used granny smith apples instead of pippens, because crab apples are not in season in the US and granny smith apples yield a similar flavor profile.

Once there I cooked it on a med heat to a boil about 20 minutes (220 degrees-ish on a candy thermometer). And did the Alton Brown chilled plate test. Take a cold plate, put a tsp of marmalade on it. If it runs it need more time. If it slowly kind of jiggles then it’s ready.

I am very concerned with people being able to eat it and not getting sick.  Rather than boxing, I used a modern canning jar.  I currently have 8 3oz jars of lemon marmalade. Some time later I will make a batch and box it, to see what the science will do to the marmalade over time.
[1] Platt, Hugh. “The Arte Of Preserving Conserving, Candying.” Delights for Ladies: To Adorne Their Persons, Tables, Closets, and Distillatories with Beauties, Banquets, Perfumes, and Waters. Reade, Practise, and Censure. London: Humfrey Lownes, 1609.

How to keep the dry pulp of Cherries, Prunes, Damsons &c. all the year

45. How to keep the dry pulp of Cherries, Prunes, Damsons &c. all the year. Take of those kind of cherries which are sharp in taste (Quære if the common black and red cherry will not also serve, having in the end of the decoction a little oil of Vitriol or Sulphur, or some verjuice of sour grapes, or juice of Lemons mixed therewith, to give it a sufficient tartness) pull off their stalks and boil them by themselves without the addition of any liquor in a cauldron or pipkin, and when they begin once to boil in their own juice, stir them hard at the bottom with a spatula, least they burn to the pan’s bottom. They have boiled sufficiently, when they have cast off all their skins, and that the pulp and substance of the cherries is grown to a thick pap: then take it from the fire, and let it cool, then divide the stones and skins, by passing the pulp only through the bottom of a strainer reversed as they use in cassia fistula, then take this pulp and spread it thin upon glazed stones or dishes, and so let it dry in the sun, or else in an oven presently after you have drawn your bread, then loose it from the stone or dish, and keep it to provoke the appetite and to cool the stomach in fevers, and all other hot diseases. Prove the same in all manner of fruit. If you fear adustion in this work, you may finish it in a hot balneo.- Hugh Plat

For this recipe I used strawberries. They are in season and I had 2 pints worth that I needed to use up. I followed the recipe up to the dry in the sun.  I live in a 2nd story brown stone with cats. So letting something dry in the sun is a sure way to get cat fur in it.  I dried my fruit pulp in a low oven (200 degrees F) for 3 hours.  The end product is just a sheet of dried cooked seedless strawberry. It has a nice rich, not too sweet flavor.

The strawberry didn’t make it much past 7 hours before it was completely eaten. I have repeated the recipe using cherry.  The end resulting fruit pulp slurry is thicker than the strawberry.  Tart cherries are not yet in season, so I did what the recipe suggested and added the juice of a lemon.  My lemons were small, so I added a whole one. But it takes quite a bit of fruit to get a reasonable amount of dried pulp. Fruit was dried on a siltpat as I did not have a ceramic dish large enough for the amount of pulp.
fruit
[1] Platt, Hugh. “The Arte Of Preserving Conserving, Candying.” Delights for Ladies: To Adorne Their Persons, Tables, Closets, and Distillatories with Beauties, Banquets, Perfumes, and Waters. Reade, Practise, and Censure. London: Humfrey Lownes, 1609.

On Whyte Roses

I have used white roses in a conserve and candy. In each preperation the flowers have imparted an apple like flavor and a beige color to the end product.  My brain has a hard time reconciling the smell of rose and the flavor of apple.  It’s an interesting problem.  I wonder if I should have people guess which flower the conserve and candy are from.

To preserve Oranges, after the Portugal fashion

I do not have access to sour oranges. Since this is an experiment, I am going to try them with blood orange, because they are only in season for  a few more weeks at best.

Take Oranges and core them on the side and lay them in water, then boil them in faire water till they be tender, shift them in the boiling to take away their bitterness, then take sugar and boil it to the height of syrup as much as will cover them, and so put your oranges into it, and that will make them take sugar. If you have 24 Oranges, beat 8 of them, till they come to paste, with a pound of fine sugar, then fill every one of the other oranges with the same, and so boil them again in your syrup: then there will be marmalade of Oranges within your oranges, and it will cut like an hard egg.[1]

The blood oranges I found were a bit on the sour side, so they would do for this exercise. I cored 6 oranges 2 of which would be beaten into a paste with sugar. I used 2x refined sugar for this experiments.

Cored and ready for boiling.
photo 1

Post boil, stuffed.
photo 2

Sugar bath
photo 3

Finished product
photo 4

I would definitely do this again. I learned the bigger the ring, the easier they stayed up and resisted cracking when the sugar boiled over the tops of them. I also learned that oranges float, so you cannot have too much liquid (aka cover the oranges). But sugar will rise and cover the tops of the sugar. Filling the pan 2/3 up the orange is sufficient for complete coverage and total saturation. Also all oranges ended up the same color in the end. Variations on the skin all evened out to the same dark orange.  Filling is a little loose. I dont know if the breed of orange makes a difference or if there was too much liquid in the pulpy filling.  Total cooking time 3 hours.  This resulted in 4 oranges, 2 of which I am happy with their appearance.  I can see where this would be better in bulk.

[1] Platt, Hugh. “The Arte Of Preserving Conserving, Candying.” Delights for Ladies: To Adorne Their Persons, Tables, Closets, and Distillatories with Beauties, Banquets, Perfumes, and Waters. Reade, Practise, and Censure. London: Humfrey Lownes, 1609.

To make a conserve of flowers- Gilliflowers

The English gilliflower was popular as a flower used in confections.  It is the ancestor of the carnation. Typically clove pink , it has a hint of clove flavor profile in the petals. I was able to find some organic carnations at our flower show.  They were a dark pink/burgundy variety.  It was used in two preparations, conserve and syrup.  Both preparations were made with the 2x refined sugar purchased from a Grocer/Sutler, made with an 18th century processing technique. This gives the final product a diverse flavor profile of sweet, but not modern sugar sweet and floral.
petals

“To make conserve of flowers, as roses, violets, gilliflowers, and such like you shall take the flowers from the stalks  and with a pair of shears cut away the white ends at the roots thereof, and then put them into a stone mortar or wooden brake and there crush or beat them til the be come to a soft substance, and then to every pound thereof, take a pound of fie refined sugar well searced and beat it together, til it comes to one entire body; and then put it up an use it as occasion shall serve.”[1]
prep conserve
This is a very nice thick paste. But very sweet and should be used sparingly  It will make a good accent for wafers.

The syrup is a beautiful royal purple color.  Since the sugar is only 2x refined, you can see a few of the impurities I missed in the skimming process. It still has a pleasant, complex flavor.
Carnation-Syrup

[1]Markham, Gervase, and Michael R. Best. The English Housewife: Containing the Inward and Outward Virtues Which Ought to Be in a Complete Woman … Montreal: McGill-Queen’s U, 1998. Print. p. 117

Syrup Experimente

It has been 1 week since I made syrups of Herb, Rose Raspberry, and Orange Primrose.  The jars display varying degrees of crystallization.

The herb syrup, is nearly completely crystallized. This one had the most violent boil, so this was not unexpected.  The jar had also been shaken up a wee bit, further agitating the syrup.
Herb Syrup

Next up is the Orange Primrose.  It has some crystallization having been tipped over at some point on the ride home.  Even with this shaking, it is still mostly liquid.
OrangeSyrup

Last up is the Rose Raspberry. It has very little crystallization, only a little at the top of the jar.  It is for the most part, all syrup. This is the one I worry about the most growing something, as it had to be filtered out 5 times to remove any pulp and plant materials.
RoseSyrup

But as of yet, no sign of spoilage, from any of the three. I will see what happens in a month’s time.

To candie Orenge pilles

I had left over peels from making an orange primrose syrup, so I candied them.

“Take your Orange peels, after they be preserved: then take fine sugar and Rosewater, and boil it to the height of Manus Christi, then draw through your sugar, then lay them on the bottom of a sieve, and dry them in an oven after you have drawn bread, and they will be candied.” [1]
The oranges were simmered to within an inch of their lives during the syrup process.  This made them very soft and super easy to clean. Once the oranges were cool, I cut the flesh and pith away from the rind, and set them aside to cool and dry completely.

Several hours later, I made a solution of equal parts sugar and water. I brought the whole pot up to a boil. I added the orange peels at this stage. This gives me less of a chance for the peels to cause an impurity effect of over boilage. I gradually raised the temperature of the sugar from boil to Manus Christi height. This process took almost an hour. By the time they hit 240, the peels were nearly translucent.  Peels were arranged on a tray and left to air dry on the counter. I did not oven cure them, as the kitchen was very warm due to the 4 bead torches being used.  A few hours later they were completely cool and dried.

I omitted the rose water from the recipe as I had none at hand. This was a great recipe to use what would have otherwise become a waste product.

1. Platt, Hugh. “The Arte Of Preserving Conserving, Candying.” Delights for Ladies: To Adorne Their Persons, Tables, Closets, and Distillatories with Beauties, Banquets, Perfumes, and Waters. Reade, Practise, and Censure. London: Humfrey Lownes, 1609.