Kiwi-cordial-art - 6/23/00
"Prickly Gooseberry, Mango, Cardamom Cordial" by Constance de LaRose.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set
of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at:
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be
reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first
or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris
AKA: Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
[This is a copy of the documentation that Constance submitted with her "kiwi" cordial at the Athelmearc A&S Constest in May 2000]
PRICKLY GOOSEBERRY, MANGO, CARDAMOM CORDIAL
Presented by: Constance de LaRose
*** Caution – this cordial is 60 proof
VODKA - Having heard, many times and in many ways, that vodka is not appropriate to our chosen time period (600AD to 1600AD), I set about to learn the truth of the matter.
The first place I checked was with the Vodka Distilleries themselves to see if any had a proven date of inception within or near that time period. Somewhat to my surprise, I found one. Johannes Nolet founded the Ketel One Distillery in 1591 in Schiedem, Holland. This distillery is still run today by the Nolet family. They distill their vodka from wheat and claim to be using, today, the same methods and ingredients used at the inception of the distillery. They also have records of the founder being apprenticed and trained in the art by a master distiller in Lorraine, France.
I purchased and used Ketel One Vodka in this cordial.
SUGAR - Sugar Cane has been known of and used for making refined sugar since at least Early Roman days when they called it Arundo Saccharina Indica because it was first known or brought from India.
Likewise the process for creating sugar from sugar cane is described in Gerard's Herbal (pg. 39). Following this description, I purchased some sugar cane and cut it into one-inch lengths, which I then proceeded to quarter lengthwise. Using a large bowl and a rock from the garden, I slowly crushed the cane pieces as much as I was able. I then put the pieces and the juices into a pot of water, which I boiled for about 2 hours. At this time, I strained the mixture through an unbleached muslin bag to remove all of the reed pieces. I then placed the liquid back in the pot and continued to boil it until it was very thick (almost like honey). This was then poured into a glass bowl and left 3 days until it had totally dried out. By turning the bowl over, I was able to remove the sugar mold, which I then placed into a mortar and pestle and ground into a usable form.
PRICKLY GOOSEBERRY (KIWIFRUIT):
I like kiwifruit but hesitated to use it in SCA liqueurs or cordials because I had been told that it wasn't appropriate to the time period. One evening, when I was griping about not being able to use one of my favorite fruits, my husband asked me how I knew it couldn't be used. I realized that I had never researched the question myself.
My first step was to look for kiwi in Gerard's Herbal followed by Culpeper. I was not greatly surprised when I failed to find it in either. I then searched the Internet to see if there was anything on the history of the kiwifruit. On two sites I found not only the history of the fruit but also the history of the naming of the fruit. According to the New Zealand Agriculture Commission, kiwifruit was renamed in 1947. Its prior name was "Chinese Gooseberry". The farmers who were hoping to market this fruit did not think that the name would sell, so they changed it to kiwifruit. Unfortunately for my search, Chinese gooseberry was not listed in my sources either.
As a final step, I looked up the species and genus name. Actilaria grossulus was the original name given to Chinese gooseberry. This was later changed to actinidian deliciosa at about the same time as the name change to kiwifruit. In looking under gooseberry in Gerard's Herbal, I found that the Latin name given is Grossularia. Armed with these two names with the same root words in Latin, I visited the library for more in-depth research into the genus and varieties of gooseberry. My first stop was the Oxford English Dictionary and there I found my answer. Under gooseberry, I found listed the known varieties and their genus names. Actilaria grossulus was listed as the name for "prickly gooseberry" and the description was "a variety of gooseberry with slightly larger and sweeter fruits, named for the larger and more numerous spines or thorns É common name Chinese Gooseberry". The first reference given is from 1497 and concerns the recommendation that the ripe fruit be used in children's tonic from an Italian phamacopia.
Returning to Gerard's Herbal, I was now able to find "Prickly Gooseberry" listed and also to identify it as being recommended to provoke appetite.
MANGO: I first considered Mango due to having seen it in a book on "Timelines of the Ancient World" which identified oranges, lemons, and mangos as arriving in Europe from South Asia in the 11th century. [] Though I looked in various other sources, the only verification I could find was again in the Oxford English Dictionary. Here they list Mango as a tree fruit originating in India and used in recipes for it's slightly sour flavor and in medicine to soothe the stomach.
CARDAMOM: Both of the fruits I planned to use originated in South Asia and were introduced to the continent at approximately the same time period. Also both were known to have been used to aid the stomach either by soothing it or by aiding digestion. Therefore, I decided to combine them with a spice from the same area and time period, which was used for the same purpose.
Cardamom is also known as "Grains of Paradise" and was used as long ago as the Grecian Empire and known throughout Western Europe. Gerard gives as one of their virtues "They also comfort and warme the weake, cold, and feeble stomacke É being drunk with Sacke." []
Using the techniques described for making tinctures by Culpeper, supplemented by lessons from Mistress Casamira Jawjalny OL, I prepared the cordial in the following manner:
1 cup Prickly Gooseberry (Kiwifruit) peeled and quartered
1 cup Mango peeled, cored and cubed
1/2 tsp. Cardamom seeds
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Ketel One Vodka
Place all ingredients in a 1-quart glass jar with lid tightly fastened. Use either a lid insert which has been treated with plastic or saran wrap over the top of the jar prior to sealing the lid to prevent the metal coming in contact with the vodka (the metal can add a bitter taste if in contact with the vodka).
Place the jar in the sunlight for 2 days.
Then place the jar on a shelf in the dark for at least 6 months.
This particular cordial was left on the shelf for 8 months.
At the end of the steeping time, remove the contents of the jar and pour through an unbleached muslin bag to strain the liquid from the fruit and spices. In the case of this cordial, it was necessary to complete the straining process 5 times before all of the pulp was removed.
Pour the remaining liquid into a bottle and insert a cork to seal the bottle.
This is, by far, my favorite cordial thus far. Though I made it specifically to aid in digestion (as I have a particular problem in that area), I would happily drink it at any time and have. Several acquaintances have also sampled it and are eager for the next batch to be finished. As one friend said "It is like drinking liquid sunshine".
 Personal conversations with Phillip Nolet, the current CEO of the Ketel One Distillery and head of the Nolet Family.
 Gerard, John "The Herbal or General History of Plants", 1633, Dover Publications, pg. 38
 Scarre, Chris "Smithsonian Timelines of the Ancient World", Dorling Kindersley, pg 208
 Gerard, John "The Herbal or General History of Plants", 1633 Dover Publications, pg. 1542
Mistress Casamira Jawjalny
Phillip Nolet, President of Ketel One Distillery
Gerard, John. "The Herbal or General History of Plants", Dover Publications London 1633
Culpeper, Nicholas. "Culpeper's Complete Herbal", Foulsham & Co., London 1657
"Oxford English Dictionary", Oxford University Press, London 1999
Scarre, Chris. "Smithsonian Timelines of the Ancient World", Dorling Kindersle,
Copyright 2000 by Debbie Snyder, 4744 W. Crestmoor Ct, West Jordan, Ut 84088.
<LadyPDC at aol.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related
publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in
the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also
appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being
reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.