Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

berries-msg - 7/23/18


Period berries and berry recipes. strawberry, whortleberry, raspberry, lingonberry, cranberry, gooseberry, currants, blackberry, blueberry.


NOTE: See also the files: grapes-msg, cherries-msg, marmalades-msg, fruits-msg, fruit-pears-msg, apples-msg, beverages-msg, fruit-pies-msg, fruit-wines-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is unclear  at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: ercil at astrid.upland.ca.us (Ercil C. Howard-Wroth)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re:  Mulled Wine Receipe

Date: 17 Oct 95 11:16:18 PDT


UDSD007 at DSIBM.OKLADOT.STATE.OK.US (Mike.Andrews) writes:

>priest at vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman) writes:

>>(P.S.  There is a species of cranberry that is native to the Old World,

>>I believe, only I think they call it something else....)

>Lingonberry; it's native to Sweden, I believe -- and maybe other

>Scandinavian/Baltic countries. Lingonberry preserves are supposed

>to be good on meats, according to the text on the jar I have.

>udsd007 at dsibm.okladot.state.ok.us

>Michael Fenwick of Fotheringhay, O.L. (Mike Andrews)  Namron, Ansteorra

>Pray, I beseech you, for the repose of the soul of

>Kathleen Anna Young Lister, once known as Baroness Caitlin


Lingonberry.......mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... delicious.  In Austria they

have them and make a wonderful (extremely alcoholic) sweet fruit wine.


Phonetically I remember it as `Ree - Bee - zal' wine  So sorry not to

remember it more correctly.


Lingonberry preserves are wonderful on meat, bread, plain.  I have not seen

them, but looked hard for them in France.  They may be an old northern

world treat.


                                         Astridhr Selr Leifsdottir

                                              E. Howard-Wroth


ercil at astrid.upland.ca.us                           Shire of Heatherwyne

...uunet!astrid!ercil                                Kingdom of Caid



From: zoeholbr at rs6a.wln.com (M Zoe Holbrooks)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Mulled Wine Receipe

Date: 18 Oct 1995 20:39:33 GMT

Organization: WLN


: Lingonberry preserves are wonderful on meat, bread, plain.  I have not seen

: them, but looked hard for them in France.  They may be an old northern

: world treat.


Look for lingonberry preserves in Scandinavian delicatessens and some

groceries in areas that serve (or once served) Scandinavian populations.  

It's very easy to find in Seattle, for example, because of the early

immigrationa dn settlement of the town by Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish

folks, among others.  I've seen them in several foodie mail order

catalogs, also.


Asahla Telerion

Barony of Madrone, Kingdom of An Tir



From: "Greg Lindahl" <lindahl at pbm.com>

Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 23:42:08 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Questions??


> I am in need of some information concerning cranberries and blueberries.

>  Are they : 1) Period?

>                     2) Old world, new world or both?

>                    3) If period/ old world, where may I find the

> documentation to support this?


Cariadoc has this to say in the Miscellany. Unfortunately beside McGee

there are the words "add cite here"... ah, the cite is in the next

version that I don't have on-line yet:


McGee, Harold, _On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of

the Kitchen_ , Consumer's Union, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 1984.


Anyway, here's Cariadoc's comment:


Blueberry and Cranberry


It appears from comments by Simmons that the term "blueberry" describes a

number of different New World species of the genus <i>Vaccinium</i>; the

bilberry, which is a member of the same genus, is Old World. The blueberry

produces "larger and better flavored berries than the European bilberry."

According to McGee, "The cultivated blueberry, a native of the American east,

north, and northwest, has been purposely bred only since about 1910 ... ."<p>


According to McGee, Cranberries are also species of <i>Vaccinium</i>. According

to several earlier sources, there is disagreement as to whether they are

members of <i>Vaccinium</i> or belong in a separate genus, <i>Oxycoccus</i>.

There are both old world and new world cranberries, but "the commercial

cranberry ... is an American native." (McGee) The word "cranberry" seems to

have come into use with the new world variant of the berry.<p>


It sounds, in both cases, as though a jelly made from modern berries would

correspond pretty closely to something that might have been eaten in Europe in

period, but individual berries would look noticably different from their old

world relatives. We do not, however, know of any period recipes using either




From: Par Leijonhufvud <parlei at ki.se>

Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 16:57:00 +0200 (METDST)

Subject: Re: SC - Berries


On Wed, 21 May 1997, Michael F. Gunter wrote:

> ligonberries so beloved by my Nordic cousins?  They are quite similar to

> cranberries and used in many recipes.  Are they a later introduction to the


Lingonberries are native of northern Europe.



Par Leijonhufvud                 par.leijonhufvud at labtek.ki.se



Subject: Re: BG - Cranberry corrections

Date: Mon, 08 Dec 97 11:22:01 MST

From: "N. Tatjana c. Shepperd" <ponygirl at home.actlab.utexas.edu>

To: bryn-gwlad at Ansteorra.ORG


From: Fox Purtill <Fox_Purtill at dell.com>:

>      Karin has found some old Swedish cookbooks that mention cranberries

>      specifically from the 1100's. Apparently the ones they have are

>      different (more tart mostly) because they don't cultivate them.  Like

>      their blueberries they are smaller and grow wild.  Linguns(sp?) are

>      referred to without the word berries attached (apparently an

>      Americanism) and are bead sized versions of the cranberry, they tend

>      to be slightly sweeter overall than their close cousin.


If my information is correct they are actually more closely related to

Johannesberen or the English currants commonly found in the

Shetlands, Orkneys and Scandanavia. Small & tart and loved by Shetland

ponies and children (as well as the rest of us).





Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 10:23:02 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: SC - Mulberry question


> I was walking home from work today, and I saw a very old world fruit that

> was horribly sweet and ripe.  So now I am looking for a period jam method.

> If anyone would be willing to share I would be willing to eat a piece of

> toast with Mulberry jam for them...

> Thanks in advance,

> Bogdan


The unfortunate truth appears to be that there are few or no jam recipes

of any kind, from "period". There are a few for preserves that are more

like fruit cheeses or fruit leather, but I'm not aware of any for

mulberries. I seem to recall a mulberry pyment (yes, I know a pyment

would normally involve grapes) mead, and I recall them being used in a

pottage somewhere, probably one of those 15th century English sources.

I'll see what I can find.





Date: Wed, 03 Jun 98 16:40:11 -0600

From: upsxdls at okway.okstate.edu

Subject: Re[2]: SC - a question


>If it works for respis (raspberries) it should work for mulberries. How lucky

>you are that you have enough to consider jam. The house where I grew up had a

>mulberry tree and we used to love the berries it produced. None ever lasted

>long enough for jam, tho.




     I would keep in mind that mulberries have a higher water content and lower

     natural pectin content than raspberries.  A bit more sugar or longer

     cooking may be necessary to reduce the mix. At my house, any unset jam

     becomes wonderful pancake syrup!


     Leah Anna of Sparrowhaven



Date: Sun, 7 Jun 1998 09:50:25 +0200 (MET DST)

From: Par Leijonhufvud <parlei at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: SC - Jellies vs. aspics


On Sat, 6 Jun 1998 geneviamoas at juno.com wrote:

> necessary to make jellies to do this or would they have prepared them

> some other way for storage? It seems to me to be a lot of investment with


Well, there is at least one berry that is simplicity itself to preserve:

simply place in a closed container with plain water. It's the

lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idea), which contains enough benzoic acid

to preserve themselves.  Nice, if rather tart for most peoples taste. It

is also one of the sweater wild berries (666 g/kg sugars (dry weight),

with 85% water in the fresh berry).


No idea if it was done in the middle ages, just that the method is

oldish (i.e. few hundred years, IIRC).



- --

Par Leijonhufvud                           parlei(at)algonet.se



Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 13:35:02 EDT

From: THLRenata at aol.com

Subject: SC - Re:  SC- gooseberries


Ann Marie writes:

>>Gooseberries. Find me a period recipe (primary source only please) that uses



Eleanor Fettiplace has several recipes for preserving gooseberries. Granted

she was 16th century, but she wouldn't have preserved them if she didn't have

a use for them. I look thru the book again and see if I can find a "use"






Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 12:00:09 EDT

From: THLRenata at aol.com

Subject: SC - Re:  SC- gooseberries


When the debate on which century Eleanor Fettiplace belongs in continues, I

have found 2 recipes in her book where gooseberries are an ingredient:


To Boile Chickins


Take a good handfull of parselie, pick it small, & a good handfull of

gooseberries, & a pretie quanitie of tyme, mince it small, & three large mace,

& put these all together in a dish, & a little pepper, & salt, & half a pinte

of white wine, &some broth that the chicken were boiled in, & a piece of sweet

butter, & let it boile halfe an hower, & when the chickins are bnoiled inough,

put that broth to them, & serve them; put some sugar into it.


To Butter Gooseberries


Take your gooseberries before they are ripe, & put them in a dish with a good

piece of sweet butter, cover them close & let them boyle till they begin to

break, then stirre them till they bee all broken, then put in some sugar to

them & rosewater & the yelks of two eggs beaten, so stirre it altogether, &

serve it upon sippets.





Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 15:23:00 -0500

From: allilyn at juno.com (LYN M PARKINSON)

Subject: SC - Re: gooseberries + jelly


>>Gooseberries.   Find me a period recipe (primary source only please)

that uses them.<<


I was looking through some of my books for your sauce, as I did not

remember seeing one when I did my sauce research. Still did not find any

gooseberry sauce,  (Yes!  See below)  but have come across 'gelee of

gooseberries' in _The French Cook_, Francis deLaVarenne, 1653.  This is

out of our period, but as we recently had a thread on jellies, I thought

it interesting.  In period, the clear jellies are meat and fish based and

just 50 years later, the clear fruit jellies that we know are being

published.  Raspberry jelly is made the same way. OOP, but not to be a

'spoon tease', here it is:


How to make gelee of gooseberries.  Take some gooseberries, press them,

and strain them through a napkin; measure your juice, and put near upon

three quarters of sugar to one quart of juice; seeth it before you mixe

it, and seeth again together; after they are mixed, try them on a plate,

and you shall know that it is enough, when it riseth off.  That of

Rasberries is made the same way.


As for other gooseberries, aside from a late period paste, and a

gooseberry verjuice, everybody seems to have preserved them and nobody

ate them!  When the Brit museum continues excavating London, they will

surely find many, many pots of preserved gooseberries!  Could it be that

someone tried to make paste in a rainy summer, and it wouldn't dry out?

"Here, eat this anyhow"  "I can't pick it up!"  "Well, put it on some

bread, then"  "Oh, boy!"


As an antecedent to the mackeral/gooseberry combo, some fish sauces are

definately tart: they contain sorrell, lemon and other piquant tastes, so

your combo in in line with prevailing tastes, just not currently

documentable.  Fruit jellies are so popular with meats in Europe, that

tart jellies may sometimes have taken the place of tart sauces.


Jeff says that European gooseberries are prickly. Do the prickles wash

off? Do they cook down to be non-prickly? Our landlord grew them, but I

never handled them.  Would the prickles make them more or less likely to

appear in sauces, jellies, etc.?


Whoa!!! Hold!!! Just found something else in LaVarenne!


62.  Fresh mackerells rosted.  Rost them with fennell, after they are

rosted, open them, and take off the bone; then make a good sauce with

butter, parsley, and gooseberries, all well seasoned; stove a very little

your mackerells with your sauce, then serve.


Have just glanced at a number of her fish sauces; none seem to have cream

or milk added, yet.  Is 'short broth' a reduced cooking liquid, do you






Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 13:36:04 +0100

From: "Yeldham, Caroline S" <csy20688 at GlaxoWellcome.co.uk>

Subject: RE: SC - Re: gooseberries + jelly


English gooseberries have prickles (on the berries, they also have

prickles on the stalks but they are tougher), but they are like hairs,

won't damage you in handling and disappear in cooking - they don't need

removing.  They do have a stalk at one end and a hairy bit at the other

which need removing (unless you are going to sieve the cooked

gooseberries) - usually called 'top and tailing' in England.


Lovely fruit, one of my favourites.  Eaten green in June and July they

have a tart flavour which goes very well with elderflowers, makes a

wonderful fool, or tart or crumble.  Berries left on the bush to August

turn golden or red and become very sweet.


I've never been very fond of gooseberry jam, as too much sugar kills the

flavour (but then I tend to believe that of a lot of fruit), so that

might be why Bogdan's grandfather didn't like it!





Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 18:38:48 +1000 (EST)

From: "GARY.J LUCKMAN" <gluckman at ozemail.com.au>

Subject: Re: SC - Mulberries


Mulberries are period.

Mulberries are delicious.

Mulberries are best eaten when they have turned a wonderful purply black

and are almost squashy.

Mulberries are one of my very *favourite* types of food!

(Who didn't guess that? :-)


Mulberry tart is very easy, just using a sweet shortcrust, layering

mulberries on top of it, and cooking it in a medium oven, serving with

fresh double cream.


Or mulberry sponge, mulberry muffins (decrease the liquid in the recipe

or they'll be mushy muffins).  Mulberry ice cream, hot mulberry sauce to

serve with ice cream. <sigh>  Can I come over to visit, please?


Sorry I don't have access to any period recipes right here.  My only wish

is that you enjoy them!



Rakhel Petrovna



Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 12:56:56 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Mulberries Re: SC - Mulberries


>From MS D, ff. 86r-96v, also known as Diuersa Servicia to those of you

who own a copy of Curye On Inglysch:


"37     For to make murrey, tak mulbery & bray hem in a morter and wryng hem

(th)orh a clo(th), & do hem in a pot ouer (th)e fyre; & do (th)erto bred

& wyte gresse, & let yt na(gh)t boyle non ofter (th)an onys. & do

(th)erto a god perty of sugur, & (y)if yt be no(gh)t ynowe ycolowrd brey

mulburus;  serue yt for(th)e."


[For to make murrey, Take mulberries and crush them in a mortar, and

wring them through a cloth, and put the puree in a pot over the fire,

and add bread and lard, and let it come to a boil no more than once. Add

a good amount of sugar, and if the color isn't bright enough add more

crushed mulberries (as a garnish); and serve.]


This is presumably the same as the plethora of other pottages that are

either eaten alone as a sort of soup, porridge, or pudding, depending on

how thick you like them, or as a sauce for chunked roast meat, eaten

from a bowl with a spoon. This same basic dish is also made from

strawberries, cherries, plums, roses, hawthorn flowers, and others.


Some versions call for rice flour instead of bread, and some call for

the addition of some wine, which would be a great help if this is eaten

as a sauce for meat.


Happy berry-picking!





Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 15:43:13 -0400

From: Marilyn Traber <margali at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Mulberries


mulberries are definitely period, to the point that William the Conqueror's favorite beverage was a mulberry mead [Max Elgin's favorite thing to brew, but our berries got eaten by the birds before he could come out and pick them :-(]




Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 15:24:31 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - 14th Century Food


> We were just having this discussion this week about raspberries.  I am

> led to believe that they are a hybrid from this century.  ???

>       Christianna


The raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is native to the northern forests of Europe,

Asia, and America.  The North American raspberry is the variant strigosus.

The European raspberry was imported into North America in the 16th Century.

Commercial raspberries have been hybridized to resist various plant



The blackberry (Rubus occidentalis) is native to Eastern North America,

however the term blackberry has been used to describe the dark colored fruit

of other members of the genus Rubus.


R.idaeus and R. occidentalis can be cross bred.





Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 21:45:54 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - 14th Century Food


> >The blackberry (Rubus occidentalis) is native to Eastern North America,

> >however the term blackberry has been used to describe the dark colored

> >fruit of other members of the genus Rubus.

> Is this the same as the "bramble" also?

> Elysant


Bramble is a term which is applied to all members of Rubus and usually

describes a number of plants growing together. So raspberries,

blackberries, loganberries, dewberries, etc. are all brambleberries.


In general usage the term covers any prickly or thorny bush or plant.





Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 06:34:51 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Summertime Cerulean Blue Sauce


> Could you possibly advise on the botanical name of these blackberries?

> Mari de Paxford

> (Meliora's "other portable brain")


I did a little searching and came up with a small problem.  What we in the

U.S. call blackberries are actually black raspberries.  They do exude a dark

blue juice and have a taste of their own, but they were imported into Europe

in recent times.


Rubus idaeus, which is definitely a red raspberry, is the only European

member of this group.  The American variant is R. idaeus var. strigosus.


The primary species known as blackberries are R. occidentalis (AKA blackcap

or thimbleberry) and R. leucodeamis (AKA western black raspberry).


Right now, I'm wondering if the blackberry of the recipe may not be a black






Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 21:10:08 -0000

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: SC - Summertime Cerulean Blue Sauce


>The comment about black currants is purely speculative and whimsical.  If

>raisins of Corinth (genus Vitis) were currants, what did they call currants

>(genus Ribes)?


Nothing much, it seems. To quote John Ayto:


"... but when various fruit bushes of the genus Ribes were introduced into

Britain from northern Europe in the late sixteenth century, the popular

misconception arose that the familiar dried currants were made from their

fruits, and so the name was transferred, and today we have blackcurrants,

redcurrants, etc. ... One of the first references to them in English is made

in Niewe Herball or Historie of Plantes (1578) translated by Henry Lyte who,

realizing that they are members of the gooseberry family, calls them

"beyond-seas gooseberries". But he could not forbear to mention that the

name "currant" was already catching on - "bastard currants", was his term.

At first purists, linguistic and horticultural, tried to discourage the

usage - John Gerard disapproved of it, and John Parkinson wrote, in A Garden

of Flowers (1629): "Those berries ... usually called red currans are not

those currans ... that are sold at the Grocers" - but by the late

seventeenth century it had become firmly established."





Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 03:26:50 -0000

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: SC - Summertime Cerulean Blue Sauce


I just came across this translation of a blackberry sauce recipe from Libro

de Arte Coquinaria by Maestro Martino - but it is rather different from the

Cerulean Blue Sauce. Is it the same recipe? (If the original text was

posted, I missed it.)


"Sapor de Moroni (blackberry sauce)

Take some cleaned almonds and pound them well with some white breadcrumbs.

And take the blackberries and mix together everything with care. And do not

pound or beat so hard as to break those little seeds they have inside. Then

put some cinnamon, ginger and a little nutmeg. And pass everything through a



This translation is printed in the entry for mora di rovo (blackberry) in

Gastronomy of Italy by Anna del Conte - she is quoting from Professor E.

Faccioli´s edition in L´Arte della Cucina.





Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 11:46:04 +0100


<Susanne.Mayer at vie.boehringer-ingelheim.com>

Subject: RE: SC - Summertime Cerulean Blue Sauce


Hello here is Katharina again!


I did check my books and found the following: rubus fruticosus L. agg. for

Brombeere, engl. Blackberry, Fr. Mure sauvage is a berry with almost 70

different sorts growing in the wild in Central Europe alone! The differ

mostly in look: black, redblack, blueblack or are glossy or  white frosted.

This is what  you should try to find or the gardenvarieties R. discolor

(weihe et Nees) syn. R. procerus (P.J. Muell.)

or Rubus laciniatus (Willd.)


Heidelbeere is Vaccinium myrtillus Engl. Bilberry the American variety

(Blueberry) is Vaccinium corymbosum which is also the garden variety.


The book I used is Nutzpflanzenkunde / Wolfgang Franke / Thieme Verlag/ 5.th

Edition / ISBN:  3-13-530405-1


Unfortunately this book is only available in German.


At your service




Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 01:46:19 EST

From: Gerekr at aol.com

Subject: SC - Blackberries, OED (WAS: Summertime Cerulean ...)


Well, Gerek thinks it's probably too late to throw this in, but I've done

all this typing already from the teeny tiny type of the condensed OED!

Just a suggestion to try the OED if you have access to it.  I started

with "blackberry" and the number of related berry names, and the

convolutions of the alleged or denied relationships, is



OED:  Blackberry.

1. The fruit of the bramble (Rubus fruticosus) and its varieties.  This

being the commonest wild fruit in England is spoken of proverbially as

the type of what is plentiful and little prized. ca. 1000 Aelfric Gloss.

- - In Wr.-Wulcker Voc. 139 "Flani, uel mori, blaceberian."

3. Now, in the north of England and south of Scotland, the Black Currant

(Ribes nigrum) the 'blackberry' of sense 1. being there called

'Brambleberry'; formerly, in some localities the Bilberry or Blaeberry;

also, according to some, but perhaps erroneously, the sloe or fruit of

the Blackthorn.  1567 Maplet Gr. Forest....1597 Gerard, Herbal We in

England [call them] Worts, Whortleberries, Black-berries, Billberries...


I -was- going to copy in all the following entries, which are all linked

in the definitions, but time has fleeted on me...











Gerek's prize historical trail:

     Hind (Hynd) berry (ca. 700!) (berries that grow in the forest and

are assumed to be eaten by the deer which live there) -> Rasp (Frambois)

- -> Raspberry  -- So there for one source we have seen that says that

raspberries are not period.


Viking note:  the most commonly occuring term for "blue" in period Norse

is "blar" and means an almost black shade of blue.  And there is a berry

name "Blaber" in Old Norse, which Cleasby & Vigfusson translate as

Vaccinium; and "a(th)alblaber" as Vaccinium myrtilllus (bilberry or



Chimene & Gerek



Date: Sat, 13 Mar 1999 01:12:00 -0000

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: SC - Blackberries, OED (WAS: Summertime Cerulean ...)


>Viking note:  the most commonly occuring term for "blue" in period Norse

>is "blar" and means an almost black shade of blue.  And there is a berry

>name "Blaber" in Old Norse, which Cleasby & Vigfusson translate as

>Vaccinium; and "a(th)alblaber" as Vaccinium myrtilllus (bilberry or



Bláber, at least those that grow here in Iceland, are of a similar blue

color as Amercian blueberries (the bothanical name is Vaccinium uliginosum).

They are smaller but tastier than the American berries. A›albláber

(bilberries, Vaccinium myrtillus) are dark blue, often almost black. They

are not as common here and are considered even better, as signified by their

name (a›al = main, which would mean "main blueberries". Bláber is of course

the source for the alternate Scottish and Northern English name blaeberry.





Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999 20:42:56 -0500

From: "Jennifer D. Miller" <jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - cranberries


A friend on the Slavic Interest Group List passed this on to me when I

asked if cranberries were period.  A native Russian on the list was

suprised that we actually cultivated them here in America, apparently they

are incredibly prolific there.  Off to peruse my Russian sources...



The author (Mistress Agnes of Calontir) is a botanist professionally.  I

just snipped from her longer letter.


**  the word "cranberry" is post period.


**The plant we use is American (Vaccinium macrocarpum).  All over the

world people eat the berries of their local Vaccinium species [Volcano

House on Hawaii sells the Hawaii species as jam]. Blueberries are a

blue-fruited Vaccinium.  Lingonberry is a red-fruited Vaccinium.


**All across northern Europe is a native red-fruited Vaccinium (V. oxycoccus),

a little smaller than the American form, but otherwise very very similar.

Moss berry and bog berry are the English for it (before the word cranberry

took over), distributed in Scandiavia and across Russia and into Siberia.  Not

common in England, more so in Scotland.  Doubtful in Denmark, & Germany,

no problem in Norway and Sweden.


**Europe also has the 'cowberry' or "mountain cranberry" V. vitis-idaea,

(of which the lingonberry is a variety). The cowberry is relatively common

in England. Even this might be a "cranberry" since we substitute currants

for raisins, (and our apples are the wrong variety and our strawberry is a

North American x South American hybrid, at least as distant from period

strawberries as the American cranberry is from bog berries.)



Ilyana Barsova (Yana)  ***mka Jennifer D. Miller

jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu *** http://www.sit.wisc.edu/~jdmiller2

Slavic Interest Group http://www.uwplatt.edu/~goldschp/slavic.html



Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999 10:09:19 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - cranberries


> The author (Mistress Agnes of Calontir) is a botanist professionally.  I

> just snipped from her longer letter.

> ******************************************************************

> **  the word "cranberry" is post period.

> ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

> Ilyana Barsova (Yana)  ***mka Jennifer D. Miller


A little tidbit to add to this thread.  Cranberry is an 18th Century term

apparently derived from crane berry.  In the 16th and 17th Centuries,

cranberries were known to the English as marsh whortles, marsh berries, fen

whortles, or fen berries.





Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 14:27:16 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Berries


> A friend here in Sweden wonders if rhubarb, gooseberries and raspberries

> are period - does anybody know?

> Lady Uta, Nordmark


Rhubarb (Rhuem rhubarbarum, et al.) was known in Antiquity.  The word

rhubarbe was first used in English about 1390. There are several members of

the genus Rhuem hiding under the rhubarb name. Gooseberries (Ribes

uva-crispa) are European and have been used since the Neolithic.

Raspberries are both New and Old World.  The basic European stock is Rubus






Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 05:08:07 +1000

From: "Craig Jones & Melissa Hicks" <meliora at macquarie.matra.com.au>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: fruit vinegar drinks




> I just found this last night, it's just a mention, not a recipe.  Does

> anyone know if there a facsimile of the Fettiplace book?

> "Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book - Elizabethan Country House Cooking",

> Hilary Spurling, pg 209

> "Lady Fettiplace made a liquor from equal parts white wine and white wine

> vinegar, boiled together with sugar, in which 'To keepe Barberries all the

> yeare'."


Found the following recipes.  Hope these are of use.




To preserve Barberies.

First take barberries & stone them, then wey to every pound of barberries

two pound of sugar, then put all your sugar into a chafar, & put theirto as

much rosevater as will wet the sugar, then set it on the fire, & let it

boyle, & when it boyleth very fast, put in your barberies, & as soone as the

sirop boyleth up you must put downe the barberries; when you see they bee

all shronk take them from the fire, & put them into a basin to coole, they

must boyle verie fast so long as they be on.


To make Conserve of Barberies.

Take Barbaries & pick them from the stalks, then put them into a chafar,

with as much rose water as will wet them but none to bee seene in the

bottome, then set them on the fire, & as they warme still prick them, till

they are all broken, then straine them, & put to the iuice of them, as much

sugar as you think good, then set it on the fire. at  & keep it warme till the

sugar bee melted, then let it boyle verie fast, till it bee enough.


For the yellow Gaunders.

Take the inner ryne of the barbaries, & yellow dock roots, & lay it all

night in white wine and drink it fasting.


A medicine for the yellow laundes.

Take the inner bark of barbarie, and yellow dock roots, steep them in white

wine one night, & let them drink it fasting in the morning.


For the yellow launders.

Take the inner ryne of the barbarie tree, cut it in thin pieces, & make

powder of it, & drink it in posset drink made with ale, in the morning

fasting, & last at night.



Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 10:23:27 -0400

From: renfrow at skylands.net (Cindy Renfrow)

Subject: Re: SC - Syllabub - does anyone have a period recipe?


>Lorix asked:

>>Hence the syllabub idea.  Now I have some

>>lovely OOP recipes for syllabub, but I was

>>hoping that someone with a better library

>>than mine might have a recipe, please,


>My files mention that there are several syllabub recipes in "A

>Sip Through Time". This file in the BEVERAGES section of my

>Florilegium mentions several other sources for period recipes but

>there are none in the file itself:

>beverages-msg     (93K)  9/ 3/99    Beverages in general. alcholic drinks.



Hello!  Yes, I have 5 syllabub recipes in "A Sip Through Time".  Three are

from Digby (1669), the other 2 are from Amelia Simmons' First American CB

(1796). These are all alcoholic drink recipes.


But Lorix was looking for a recipe for frozen strawberries, no?  There are

2 recipes for strawberries in the Harleian MSS, 279 & 4016 -- Darioles, &

Strawberye.  I've adapted the latter as a sauce, but I suppose you could

make it as a thick pudding if you used thick almond milk or almond cream.

Frozen strawberries are just fine in this dish, since they're being

squished anyway.


"Harleian MS. 279 - Potage Dyvers

Cxxiij.  Strawberye.  Take Strawberys, & waysshe hem in tyme of [3]ere in

gode red wyne; [th]an strayne [th]orwe a clo[th]e, & do hem in a potte with

gode Almaunde mylke, a-lay it with Amyndoun o[th]er with [th]e flowre of

Rys, & make it chargeaunt and lat it boyle, and do [th]er-in Roysonys of

coraunce, Safroun, Pepir, Sugre grete plente, pouder Gyngere, Canel,

Galyngale; poynte it with Vynegre, & a lytil whyte grece put [th]er-to;

coloure it with Alkenade, & droppe it a-bowte, plante it with [th]e graynys

of Pome-garnad, & [th]an serue it forth.


123.  Strawberry.  Take Strawberries, & wash them in time of year in good

red wine; then strain through a cloth, & put them in a pot with good Almond

milk, mix it with White flour or with the flour of Rice, & make it thick

and let it boil, and put therein Raisins of Corinth, Saffron, Pepper, Sugar

great plenty, powdered Ginger, Cinnamon, Galingale; point it with Vinegar,

& a little white grease put thereto; color it with Alkanet, & drop it

about, plant it with the grains of Pomegranate, & then serve it forth."

(From Take a Thousand Eggs or More, p. 240.)


> The discussion about methods of making it came

> from having read a recipe where one is supposed to milk the cow

> directly into the wine.  The author tried it and found that the

> syllabub curdled and smelled very bad.


Yes, some of the recipes instruct you to milk the cow directly into the

syllabub -- 17th century party humor, I guess. The object was to create a

frothy head on the syllabub (the beverage was drunk from special spouted

glasses, or pots). Some call for a froth of cream & eggwhites to be added

on top of the glasses of syllabub. One of the recipes, which instructs us

to milk the cow into a pint of verjuice, says to skim the resultant curd:


"Take a pint of Verjuyce in a bowl; milk the Cow to the Verjuyce; take off

the Curd; and take sweet-cream and beat them together with a little Sack

and Sugar; put it into your Syllabub pot; then strew Sugar on it, and so

send it to the Table."  (Digby, #134)


I haven't tried this one, but I have done a hypocras recipe that included

cream.  The cream did form curds when added to the wine & was very

unpleasant to look at.  ( I need to repeat this experiment, & try skimming

off the curds. I think I must have spilled some of the curds, but I don't

remember.  But I just tried the hypocras last night [lost it in the back of

the fridge for several months :-0] & it has mellowed to a rich, full-bodied

sweet wine with just enough spice to make it interesting. )  What I think

is happening, is that the fat is remaining in the drink & being broken up &

dispersed by the acid in the wine or verjuice, & this is giving the drink a

rich mellow flavor.


Cindy Renfrow/Sincgiefu

renfrow at skylands.net



Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 23:17:46 -0600

From: "RANDALL DIAMOND" <ringofkings at mindspring.com>

Subject: SC - Cranberries and Lingonberry Jamup (long)


Stefan li Rous wrote:

>I, for one, would like to hear more about this "used for centuries

>from various sources". I seem to remember our previous disucssions

>on this berry being somewhat short on definative info and evidence,

>although I kept a number of the messages.


*Sigh*  I guess I muddled the waters a bit with my original query.  The

line of thought I was spinning was seeing if lingonberries could be tied

to a late period Viking cuisine which had been in discussion on

SCA_Cooks of late.    It seems that both of you were commenting on

period cranberry documentation.  I now see that I really need to share

what thoughts and documentation (both hard and soft) I have on the

subject of CRANBERRIES and then progress to my query on



Reviewing the past few weeks digests, I get the impression that there is a

general belief that cranberries (and by extension- cranberry sauce) are OOP.

If I am mistaken in this impression, then a lot of the following you likely

already know.   Cranberries (including lingonberries) are period dating back

to the late Roman Empire.  Cranberry SAUCE dates to the 15th and 16th

century in a direct linear spread of the process of preservation as outlined

in the manner of soft fruit marmelades.


First I will review and expand upon the botanical data I have on cranberries

and their near relatives, for the short synopsis I gave before is woefully

inadequate, being to wit:


"There are 2 native European species Vaccinium oxycoccus and Vaccinium

vitus idaea.  The American species is Vaccinium macrocarpon.  The only

substantial difference in the oxycoccus and macrocarpon is the size of

the berry.  Both European species are native to Britain and the northern

part of continental Europe.  Perhaps the berry has shown up in period

use by its alternate name, the red whortleberry. "


Expanding, the species Vaccinium oxycoccus is the Small CRANBERRY

and is identical except for size to the American species Vaccinium

macrocarpon.   Oxycoccus grow in bogs both in the northern US and all

across Northern Europe (non-mediterannean) and the Trans-caucus area

of Asia minor where 90% of temperate fruiting species evolved.  Vaccinium

vitus idaea also is native to the US, known as the mountain cranberry or

sometimes foxberry.  In Europe, vitus idaea is what we call the LINGONBERRY

and has a somewhat similar flavour but in a jam it  is less tart than

regular cranberry sauce (at least that I tried tasted so to me; it also

seemed sweeter).


The American species Vaccinium macrocarpon is one of FOUR native to

North America (the other being Vaccinium erythrocarpon, the bush cranberry

which is only native to above 4000 feet in the southern Appalachians -OOP).

Macrocarpon was a very local species indigenous to coastal New England but

very common in that area in the early 17th c. Likewise the two European

species were very common and widespread in areas cool enough to produce

good fruiting.


It is now necessary to do a little food detective work and some speculation.

I think one of the problems with documenting cranberries is a little like

the problem of a recipe for almond milk.  They are so simple and the

process of using them, and yes, including making cranberry sauce, is so

simple, widespread, and prosaic that NO ONE BOTHERED TO WRITE

IT OUT.  Complicating this is the plethorea of confusing names for berries

in the Vaccinium family which includes blueberries. Very likely there

are some period recipes out there in your files and you (and a lot of

food history authors) just didn't connect the fruit with cranberries.


Here is a listing of current use names for V. oxycoccus: Swed: tranbar,

Fr: canneberge, Gr: Moosbeere, It: mortella di palude, Esp: arandano agrio,

Port: arando, Dan/Nor: tranebaer, Finn:isokarpalo, Rus: klyukva, Pol:

zurawina, Czeck: klikva and zorawina, Slov: klukva mociarna, Hung:

tozegafonya,Ser/Cro: brusnica and Rom: rachitelele.


Here is a listing for current use names for V vitus idaea:

Fr: myrtille rouge, Gr: Preiselbeere, Port: uva dos montes, Dan/Nor:

tyttebaer, Swed: lingon, Fin: puolukka,  Rus: brusnika, Polish: bruznica or

jagoda, Czeck: boruwka, Ser/Cro: borovnica, and Rom: merisoara.

(These names are from Alan Davidson's FRUIT, A CONNOISSEUR'S

GUIDE & COOKBOOK, Simon & Schuster, 1991)


Earlier names last century for V. oxycoccus are Fr: hirelle, Gr: Heidelbeere

and Mooreberrie as recorded by Andrew S. Fuller in THE SMALL FRUIT \

CULTURIST, Orange Judd Co., NY 1881.  Fuller states that "the Romans

probably did not know the cranberry until after their conquest in the north

of Europe".


Forgive me for not being able to include the correct dicritical markings of

the foreign language text as I have not learned how to find them in this

word processor.  If this were a Mac, I would have no problem (IBM =It

Baffles Me).


Please note the importance of realizing that all these names in many

languages DO NOT reflect their origins in the American cranberry.

They are strictly European and their roots go back to the Roman empire.

It is also critical to my informal proof that cranberries, unlike most other

food plants, have never swapped continents in domestic horticulture!

European species of cranberries, whortleberries, etc were not taken to


the size was superior and the growing conditions favored the macrocarpon.

Conversely, macrocarpon was never taken into European cultivation, other

than in a brief experiment in the 1760's, and did not appear on European

tables until the 20th century mass market cultivation and importing from

America.  So we must assume that any European writings in period (or 17th

and 18th century) refer specifically to the familiar, native European

V. oxycoccus (unless of course, the reference is specific to the lingonberry

or one of the other related Vaccinium varieties).


Here are some of the current other language names for blueberry or bilberry:

Fr: myrtille or airelle, Gr: Blaubeere, Ital: mirtillo, Esp: arandano,

Dan/Nor: blabaer, Finn: mustikka or pensamustikka, Rus: chernika, Pol:

czarnica or czarna jagoda, Hung: fekete afonya, Rom: afina, Ser/Crot:

borovnica, Bul:borvinki.


Bilberries (especially. V. myrtillus)  are called Fr: airelle or myrtille, Gr:

Trunkelbeere, Ital: mortella or mora, Dan: mosebolle, Nor: skinntryte, Swed:

odon, Finn: fuolukka< Rus: chernika and Bul: cherveni borovinki.  Other

English names are whinberry or wineberry and blaeberry.  You can also add

to this list the confusing and sometimes interchangable names for

huckleberry, whorleberry and hurtleberry.  Is it any wonder that we may

have not connected possible references between any of these names and

cranberries (European)?


Americans have a very Disneyesque view of the 1620 Plymouth Colony

beyond the twisting of history with John Smith and his child bride.  In

various cookbooks, I have seen that the cranberry was taken from

Europe to the  New World where it florished and has almost died out in

Europe (not true) since.  On the other extreme, we also read fairy tales

of the native Americans teaching the Pilgrims how to make cranberry

sauce and boil and butter corn-on-the-cob. There are several engravings

and illustrations of noble tatooed savages stirring an enourmous cauldrons

of boiling corn.  Excuse me.  I thought that the native American Indians

never progressed beyond the STONE age.   What museum has on display

one of these miraculous cauldrons?  From my investigations, cranberries

were used by the Indian tribes of New England dried in pemmican

primarily or stuffed into venison and other game to inpart flavour.  They

knew how to steam and what we would call barbeque in pits, but as far

as having something to make true cranberry sauce. Naw!  There are

descriptions of a mush of buffalo berries by other tribes but uncooked.

If the pilgrims had cranberry sauce, they already knew how to make it.

Look at the availability of ingredients: plentiful cranberries, wild honey

readily available or maple syrup (which was learned from the natives).

The colonists were not knowledgeable of court recipes and agriculture, nor

were they particularly good fishermen or hunters. Somehow they managed

nearly to have  starved to death  in the midst of incredible bounty.  I have

to assume that some of the women had at least marginally more experience

with the kitchen than in their rather dogmatic religion and remembered some

of her mother's or granny's teaching which included the basics of making

jams and marmalades.


What do I base this on, you may ask?  Sometimes the period chef fails to

write down "what everyone knows".  The basics with which "all familiar with

cooking" know, are left out (like how precisely to make almond milk for example).

This leaves us, as modern cooks, vulnerable to a great deal  of speculation

and argument.  Fortunately, there have been a few instances of period sources

written by non-cooks, who questioned the real cooks and wrote down the

recipes.  As these authors were not cooks, they also wrote down a lot of

the "basics which everyone knows" that the cooks tended to omit providing



For period documentation of cranberry sauce, I look to a noncook - John


(rarely included) recipe under "whortleberries".  However, to find it you

need access to the unabridged volume of the 1633 (recently put out by Dover).

The reference to Vaccinium species is wholely under the heading "Of

Worts or Wortleberries", Third Book, chapter 73. pages 1415-19.  The

cranberry is illustrated as Vaccinia rubra "Red Worts or Wortleberries".  At

the end of page 1418, the Dutch name "rooter heidlebeere" and "rooter

crakenbelien"and the French "aurelles rouges" (red bilberry) are given.

Blueberries (which Gerard describes as black), are called in England-

Worts, Whortleberries, Blacke-berries, Bill-berries, Bull-berries and

Win-berries (pp. 1417).  Cranberries are Red Worts or red Whortleberries

(pp.1419). Reference is made to Conradus Gesnerus (Conrad Gesner)

calling this plant  "Vitus Idea rubus aemis" (which is probably a refernce

to V. vitus idaea)  which Gerard finds not to agree with the berry growth

description with the English plant (which we must presume more likely to be

V. oxycoccus).  As his friend, Conrad Gesner was a Swiss naturalist, it is

expected that the variety he encountered and described was the highland

growing V. vitus idaea rather than the wet peat bog loving species V.



Under "The Virtues" (pp.1419) Gerard writes the following:

The juyce of the blacke Whortleberries is boyled till it become thick, and

is prepared or kept by adding hony and fugar vnto it".


This pretty much is how I make jellied cranberry sauce.  I believe however

that Gerard may have misunderstood the black whortleberry (blueberry) for

the(interchangable) red.  The thickening is caused by the higher acid

contentin the cranberry.  You can not make blueberry jelly or blueberry sauce

by this method as there is insufficient pectin. I would venture that a good

number of period recipes actually used cranberries instead of blueberries

through mistranslation.  One that comes to mind was one from FABULOUS

FEASTS for Artichokes in Blueberry Rice.  I would like to know from those

skilled in period languages if it is possible that cranberries were mistakenly

translated in that recipe.  The gray-blue-purple hue of that dish is ghastly and

the taste insipid.  Whereas, I would suspect the same recipe with cranberries

would have a handsome colour - as Gerard comments: that It produces

"the fairest carnation colour in the world". The sharpness of the cranberry

would also likely produce a more agreeable flavour in the rice without any

sugaring being used.  Anyone game to try it out?


To some, what I have written above is very slender justification for extensive

use of the cranberry in period.  However I can not accept that a two species

plant of widespread distribution in Europe and Asia minor, in particular A RED

BERRY!, would not be eaten.  Especially as they keep far, far longer than other

fresh berries and when dried are quite palatable without cooking.  I venture they

have been an important foodstuff since Neolithic times.   As to the sauce, when

the concept of cooking fruit with honey and quinces to make marmalades came

about, there was a great deal of experimentation with this new method.  It was

probably then that the discovery that boiled cranberries were sufficently acid to jell without quinces of other pectin rich fruits was made.  Going a little

further in my speculation on this fruit, I believe that the reason we do not see

this in mainstream "major population centers"  is that wild gathered berries were more likely food for peasant populations in very rural areas.  Unlike the other major (tree) fruits, cranberries (and strawberries too) were not cultivated (strawberries were, however, in the late 15th).   One major reason I believe cranberries to be widely used was the fact that the 400 years from 1200 to 1600 were much, much colder than today.  A documented mini-Ice Age occurred during that time which was ideal for the colder growing conditions necessary for cranberry species. Both species would have flourished in this kind of climatic change, moving further south in their distribution into southern France and Northern Italy.


This comes full circle now with cold weather climates (the Viking cuisine) and the lingonberry, which I understand was primarily eaten uncooked.  This may have

been fresh or dried.  I have seen references to sweetened lingonberries (dried?)

eaten with venison in several mundane Scandanavian cookbooks under the

subject of old foods of Scandinavia.  Has anyone seen any period references?

(the gest of my original query).


I hope this has been interesting (or at least amusing in my presumptions) to

some and will encourage a little rummaging around to see if my beliefs have any

hope of validation.


Akim Yaroslavich



Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 07:06:53 -0500

From: "Diana" <tantra at optonline.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Period Norse


On Sun, 5 Mar 2000, RANDALL DIAMOND wrote:

>I have seen lingonberry preserves available

> ocassionally but never in any other  form in the US.  In answer to your

> specific question, yes, absolutely period. They have been a food in

> Northern Europe since Neolithic ages.


I know of lingonberry syrup, and I thought canned - check out your local

IKEA if you have one.  If not, they do a wonderful little mail order

business.  Of course, having the inch and a half catalog delivered to your

home helps!


Diana d'Avignon



Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 22:09:00 -0500

From: "RANDALL DIAMOND" <ringofkings at mindspring.com>

Subject: SC - Re: PLATINA Date Pie Long


Hauviette asks:***Someone posted (was it Bear?)

that they believed Corinthian raisins not to

be currants but  actually were a specific type

of raisin. I could not for the life of me remember

the type and rationale, if someone recognizes this

please post in comment.


No rationale, just fact.  I was the culprit and author  of

that particular post.  What are marked as "currants" like

"Zante" currants by Sun Maid are not currants at all.  These

raisins are made from a very tiny varietal of black grapes originally

grown in the vicinity of Corinth, or "Corinth grapes".  Botanically

genuine currants come in white, red or black but you can not

make raisins from them.  They have too high a water to flesh

ratio and are primarily seen only as a jelly product and only rarely

fresh.  To my knowledge, these Corinth grapes are what have

been used throughout the medieval and Renaissance period

in recipes calling for "currants". Actual currants (Ribes) were

almost certainly gathered from the wild as they were not

domesticated until the late 15th or early 16th century.  Black

currants were the wild types growing throughout central

Europe.  Extracts and liquors (cassis) were their main use other

than as fresh berries.  Red types were domesticated (or were

developed???) in the early 17th century and the white developed

as a mutant from the red much later.  To clear up the confusion

in nomenclature, 17th and 18th century cookbooks called currants

....currants and Corinth "currants"...."raisins of the sun".


Akim Yaroslavich



Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2000 22:21:00 -0000

From: "=?windows-1257?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: PLATINA Date Pie Long


Akim wrote:

>What are marked as "currants" like

>"Zante" currants by Sun Maid are not currants at all.


Depends on how you look at it. In my opinion, it is blackcurrants,

redcurrants etc., which are not currants at all, especially as English is as

far as I can recall the only language that uses the term for berries of the

Ribes genus. The small dried raisins are the original currants.


"... but when various fruit bushes of the genus Ribes were introduced into

Britain from northern Europe in the late sixteenth century, the popular

misconception arose that the familiar dried currants were made from their

fruits, and so the name was transferred, and today we have blackcurrants,

redcurrants, etc. ... One of the first references to them in English is made

in Niewe Herball or Historie of Plantes (1578) translated by Henry Lyte who,

realizing that they are members of the gooseberry family, calls them

"beyond-seas gooseberries". But he could not forbear to mention that the

name "currant" was already catching on - "bastard currants", was his term.

At first purists, linguistic and horticultural, tried to discourage the

usage - John Gerard disapproved of it, and John Parkinson wrote, in A Garden

of Flowers (1629): "Those berries ... usually called red currans are not

those currans ... that are sold at the Grocers" - but by the late

seventeenth century it had become firmly established." (John Ayto, A

Gourmet's Guide)


>To clear up the confusion

>in nomenclature, 17th and 18th century cookbooks called currants

>....currants and Corinth "currants"...."raisins of the sun".


Karen Hess, in Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, defines currans as "the

dried fruit of a dwarf grape from the Levant (i.e. Corinth raisins or

currants) and raysons of the sun as sun-dried grapes (i.e. raisins). There

shouldn’t be any confusion except in English language post-16th century

recipes, since other languages use other names for berries of the Ribes

genus (although there may be other stumbling blocks; some Southern European

languages call these berries gooseberries (beyond-seas gooseberries or






Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 11:40:05 -0000

From: nanna at idunn.is (Nanna Rognvaldardottir)

Subject: Re: SC - Re: currants


Cairistiona wrote:

>Then again, isn't Zante an island fairly close to Corinth, or has my brain

>gone wandering again?


It is indeed one of the Aegan islands and Edgar Allan Poe once wrote a

sonnet to it. Zante raisins are grown especially for drying into currants.


I found the following interesting tidbit in C. Anne Wilson’s Food and Drink

in Britain - she is quoting the Venetian ambassador to Britain, writing home

in 1610, when there was fear of a reduction in Greek currant exports:


"Such a thing cannot take place without discontenting the entire population

of England, which consumes a greater amount of this fruit than all the rest

of the world; being accustomed to the luxury and loving it so dearly that

individuals have been found who, from lack of money to purchase it on

certain high days and holy days when it is customary fare, are said to have

gone out and hanged themselves."





Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 01:02:10 -0500

From: "RANDALL DIAMOND" <ringofkings at mindspring.com>

Subject: SC - Re: Currants vs Zante raisins (Long reply)


>> To clear up the confusion in nomenclature, 17th

>>and 18th century cookbooks called currants

>>  ....currants and Corinth "currants"...."raisins of the sun".


>>  Akim Yaroslavich


Hauviette replied:

>Thank you for the fill in Akim. Do you mind if I include

>this information in the menu and feast document I am

preparing? I'll be doing a feast at war for TRM's Dag and

>Elayna, from Platina. I would love to spread the info you

>give me here to those who will get the write up. It is

>invaluable to understand the etymology of the use of

the word in period vs modern interpretation.


Oh, please feel free to use it if you like.  I can't guarantee

that my data is absolutly, infallably correct. Therefore, I

suggest you decide what to use only after mulling the

following arguments:


Nanna commented:

>Depends on how you look at it. In my opinion, it is

>blackcurrants, redcurrants etc., which are not currants

>at all, especially as English is as far as I can recall the

>only language that uses the term for berries of the

>Ribes genus. The small dried raisins are the original currants.


I disagree.  From my point of view, currans or currants are

specifically the English name of berries of the Ribes species,

red, white and black.  This name was derived (in English)

when Ribes plants were introduced into England or perhaps

a little earlier (say mid 15th) as the English became familiar

with Ribes berries on the continent.   The separate terms

"raysons of the sun" or "Zant raisins" probably preceded

the term "curran" in the English language.


>"... but when various fruit bushes of the genus Ribes

>were introduced into Britain from northern Europe in

>the late sixteenth century, the popular misconception

>arose that the familiar dried currants were made from their

>fruits, and so the name was transferred, and today we have

>blackcurrants, redcurrants, etc. ... One of the first references

>to them in English is made in Niewe Herball or Historie of

>Plantes (1578) translated by Henry Lyte who, realizing that

>they are members of the gooseberry family, calls them

>"beyond-seas gooseberries". But he could not forbear to

>mention that the name "currant" was already catching on -

>"bastard currants", was his term.


In terms of accurate botany, Lyte is best largely ignored

as a source.  Lyte didn't "realize" anything.  He was mostly

an amateur gardener who wrote nothing original, merely

translating the older Cruydeboeck, then well known all over

continiental Europe, from the L'Ecluse French translation into

English, borrowing heavily from William Turner. He is

considered important in the history of English gardening

mainly because he incorporated a diary-like commentary of

just where he saw these plants growing in England in detail.

This was an invaluable record but scarcely academic. His

comments on "beyond seas gooseberries" are relatively



>At first purists, linguistic and horticultural, tried to

>discourage the usage - John Gerard disapproved of it, and

John Parkinson wrote, in A Garden of Flowers (1629):

>"Those berries ... usually called red currans are not those

>currans ... that are sold at the Grocers" - but by the late

>seventeenth century it had become firmly established."

>(John Ayto, A Gourmet's Guide)


Yes, Gerard did disapprove of it but he also was

convinced there was a tree from which live geese

were hatched from barnacles too! One of the problems

was that Ribes was fairly late being described in

continental herbals as they are cool weather plants

in areas where agriculture was late in flourishing.  The

plants were not depicted until 1484 in a German publication

- - Mainz Herbarius, but by the next century Jean Ruel, a

French author was praising them highly both as an

ornamental and for their fruit.  Gerard grossly described

the small plants he saw (and possibly grew) as a "spineless

kind of gooseberry". Thomas Johnson in the 1633 revision

of Gerard's Herbal included a fairly accurate description of

currants (Ribes) correcting the rather sloppy treatment by

Gerard in 1597.  He repeated essentially the same

statement you quoted from Ayto in it, but this statement

does not mean that "currans" was adapted from another

name for Zant raisins.   As you have said, the other languages

had separate names.  "Currans" seems to be totally an English

usage. It is more consistant that the popular belief was that

Zant raisins were dried currants (Ribes), not that currants

(Ribes) were the fresh version of what had been for some time

marketed dried from Zante. After all, Ribes were very common

in the wild on the continient and were being cultivated early in

the 16th century.


>Karen Hess, in Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery,

>defines currans as "the dried fruit of a dwarf grape from

>the Levant (i.e. Corinth raisins or currants) and raysons of

>the sun as sun-dried grapes (i.e. raisins). There shouldn't

>be any confusion except in English language post-16th century

>recipes, since other languages use other names for berries

>of the Ribes genus (although there may be other stumbling

>blocks; some Southern European languages call these berries

>gooseberries (beyond-seas gooseberries or whatever).


I think Karen Hess is wrong or confused. "Raysons of the sun"

was a term for dried Corinth grapes or popularly "currants" in

English.   The term for dried grapes was and is unabiguious

and another term was not necessary or useful.  If some distant

Europeans called these plants gooseberries, what of it?  The

English (and the gooseberry is mostly admired in England,

not the continent) had absolutely no problem in proper

identification of a gooseberry.  And further, the English did not

consider currants (Ribes) to be gooseberries at all.  Currant

plants were included in the 1629 supplies of the Massachusetts

Bay Colony.  They certainly were not confused about "currants"

They were immensely popular by that time and spread throughout

the English colonies in America very quickly.


Hauviette asks:

>Just to clarify; the "dried currants" available in bulk

>food stores etc, really aren't currants, they are as

>you and Ras have pointed out, Zante raisins?


I still am not quite happy with the nomenclature still being used.

Ras and others are still mixing terms.   To summerize my own view:

1. Sunkist type currants .....are raisins of Corinth grapes grown

     on the island of Zante.

2.  Raisins ....are sun dried grapes.....always.

3   "Raysons of the sun" .....are a popular 17th and 18th century

      term for raisins of Corinth grapes from Corinth or Zante to help

      distinuguish them from currants (Ribes). The term probably

      was used in the 16th century as well but not so extensively.

4.  Currants ....are always Ribes berries, used fresh, in jelly,

      jams and wines.  Only a reference to DRIED fruit does the

      term (in English)  mean Zante grape raisins.  In DRIED fruit,

      it NEVER means Ribes berries.

5.   There may be specific recipes which get this confused and

      switched in meaning but this does not mean the instance

      was reflective of a universal usage at that time.  It means

      more likely that someone was confused over the origin or

      identity or both of the small dried fruit he was using.


I may be proven wrong on my views with further documentation,

but what I have at hand leads me to my currant (pun intended)

position on this berry important issue.


Akim Yaroslavich



Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 08:37:50 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Currants vs Zante raisins (Long reply)


ringofkings at mindspring.com writes:

<< The separate terms

"raysons of the sun" or "Zant raisins" probably preceded

the term "curran" in the English language. >>


This is incorrect. Raison of Coraunte=raisons of courance=courance=currants

is the basic etymology. Currants (Ribes berries) as we know them clearly were

NOT what was meant in the period cookery manuals. This subject has been

discussed before on the list and Stefan should have an extensive file

covering the subject.


Zante raisins (raisins of Corinth) were widely available throughout the

continent during the middle ages and appear in all of the cookery manuals

England seems to have been a major importer of Zante currants. A cursory look

at the History of Food, Food in History and other works including Nana's

exhaustive research will show that currants (Ribes) were not widely known

outside their natural range until well outside SCA period. It was at that

time that the diminutive 'currants' was transferred to the fruit of the Ribes



>From Miriam-Webster:


cur*rant (noun). [Middle English raison of Coraunte, literally, raisin of

Corinth]. First appeared 14th Century. 1 : a small seedless raisin grown

chiefly in the Levant.





Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 14:41:27 -0000

From: nanna at idunn.is (Nanna Rognvaldardottir)

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Currants vs Zante raisins (Long reply)


Akim writes:


>I disagree.  From my point of view, currans or currants are

specifically the English name of berries of the Ribes species,

red, white and black.  This name was derived (in English)

when Ribes plants were introduced into England or perhaps

a little earlier (say mid 15th) as the English became familiar

with Ribes berries on the continent.   The separate terms

"raysons of the sun" or "Zant raisins" probably preceded

the term "curran" in the English language.


Maybe I'm misunderstanding something (my command of English isn't always as

good as I'd like to think it is) but are you saying that currans and other

forms of the term originally meant berries of the Ribes genus? And that any

pre-16th century reference to curran(t)s is to be interpreted as meaning

these berries, never dried grapes?


Let's for the sake of argument suppose you are correct and that the berries

are the original currants. In that case, where did the currant name come

from? "derived (in English) when Ribes plants were introduced into England

or perhaps a little earlier", you say but derived from what? Every

dictionary and ethymological source I've consulted links currant directly

with Corinth - so where is the link between Corinth and these Northern

European berries? They have very dissimilar names in other languages (for

instance ribsbør/solbør, rips, vinb‰r, Johannisbeere, groseilles, cassis,

ribes, etc.


I'm not sure how old the term Zante currants/raisins is but I haven't seen

it in any old sources yet. And Zante is only one of several types of

currants available - the best quality are generally thought to be Vostizza

currants, small, black and sweet. Zante is probably around medium quality. I

think they are mostly grown in the US and Australia now but I may be wrong

there - the only Zante currants I ever see are American.


>In terms of accurate botany, Lyte is best largely ignored

as a source.  Lyte didn't "realize" anything.


Oh, I don't know. Myself, I'm not even an amateur gardener but even I

realized, just by looking at redcurrants and gooseberries that they were

related, long before anyone told me they both belonged to the Ribes genus,

so who knows what Mr. Lyte might have realized.


>"Currans" seems to be totally an English

>usage. It is more consistant that the popular belief was that

>Zant raisins were dried currants (Ribes), not that currants

>(Ribes) were the fresh version of what had been for some time

>marketed dried from Zante.


I can't recall having seen any reference to Zante raisins or anything like

that in pre-16 century sources - can you cite a specific source? I agree

that currans/currants or similar terms, meaning berries of the Ribes genus,

is totally an English usage. But that doesn't hold true for the dried grapes

(Icel. k?rennur/kÛrinnur, Danish korender, Swedish korinter, German

Korinthen, for instance).


>I think Karen Hess is wrong or confused.


But in the recipe she is commenting on, currants are clearly the dried

fruit, not fresh berries.


>"Raysons of the sun"

>was a term for dried Corinth grapes or popularly "currants" in

>English.  The term for dried grapes was and is unabiguious

and another term was not necessary or useful.


It is unambiguous now but was it always so? After all, English got the term

"raisin" from French, where it meant (and means) grape - a raisin is "raisin

sec" in French. Both terms (grape and raisin) entered the English language

at about the same time (13th century), replacing the Old English term

winberiga (wine berry; the closely related term v?nber is still used in

Icelandic). So I wouldn't be surprised if there had indeed been some

confusion for quite some time.


Just to add even more to the confusion, there are also Corinthian raisins,

which have nothing to do with (dried) currants - they are sultanas, fairly

large, dark golden, and very sweet and tasty.





Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2000 13:43:18 -0400 (EDT)

From: Jenne Heise <jenne at tulgey.browser.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Protectorate Feast


> << Correct me if I am wrong but aren't Blueberries new world? >>

> That and the topic of cranberries is a perpetual argument on this list. My

> opinion is yes they are and yes cranberries are. I would never think of

> serving either at a feast.


Hm. that sparks my curiousity, so I went looking for information in the EB

and in the OED (ok, so we just got a subscription, the newness hasn't worn

off, what can I say?!)


Oxford English dictionary says:




"The fruit of a dwarf shrub, Vaccinium Oxycoccos, a native of Britain,

Northern Europe, Siberia, and N. America, growing in turfy bogs: a small,

roundish, dark red, very acid berry. Also the similar but larger fruit of

V. macrocarpon, a native of N. America (large or American cranberry). Both

are used for tarts, preserves, etc. The name is also given to the shrubs

themselves.  The name appears to have been adopted by the North American

colonists from some LG. source, and brought to England with the American

cranberries (V. macrocarpon), imported already in 1686,"


"blue-berry, the name of various species of Vaccinium, especially

the American V. corymbosum;"


The Encyclopedia Brittanica lists only N.American species of Vaccinum as

'blueberry' but of the cranberry it says: "fruit of any of several small

creeping or trailing plants of the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae),

related to the blueberries. The small-fruited, or northern, cranberry (V.

oxycoccus) is found in marshy land in northern North America and Asia and

in northern and central Europe."


On the other hand, it's expansive on the bilberry, or whortleberry:

"also called WHORTLEBERRY (Vaccinium myrtillus), low-growing

deciduous shrub belonging to the family Ericaceae. It is found in

woods and on heaths, chiefly in hilly districts of Great Britain,

northern Europe, and Asia."


The OED says of the bilberry:

" 1. The fruit of a dwarf hardy shrub (Vaccinium Myrtillus),

abundant on heaths, on stony moors, and in mountain woods, in

Great Britain and Northern Europe; the berry is of a deep blue

black, and about a quarter of an inch in diameter. So called chiefly

in the Midlands; other names are WHORTLEBERRY and

BLAEBERRY. The name is applied also to the plant, and used



  1577 DEE Relat. Spir. I. (1659) 171 The cloth, Hair-colourd, Bilbery


1594 BARNFIELD Aff. Sheph. II. xii, Straw~berries or Bil-berries, in their

prime. 1598 SHAKES. Merry W. V. v. 49 There pinch the Maids as blew as

Bill~berry. "


So if you want to use blue berries, I guess you would get some Vaccinium

Myrtillus, and if you want cranberries, you should seek out some of them

there Vaccinium Oxycoccos.


Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise       jenne at tulgey.browser.net



From: "Hrolf Douglasson" <Hrolf at btinternet.com>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 08:17:02 +0100

Subject: [Sca-cooks] berries


Vikings ate




rowan berries


Mulberries are period for SCA and they cook beautifully.

There is archeological evidence to suggest that the Saxons didn't eat Rowan.

It was a cultural thing. If they are period for me in the 10th C they should

be alright for the sca.





Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 11:53:08 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] BARBERRIES


I had some time on my hands this morning, so I ran barberries through

my library here at home. Here is what I found:


Barberries  (berberis vulgaris) grew in hedgerows and "bushy places".

Livingston indicates that they grew wild in  Europe, especially in England,

with a related species found in North America. They ripened in autumn.

Alan Davidson refers to them as a "poorman's red currant."

They were valued for use in the Middle Ages because they are a fairly

acid red berry that would jell without the use of pectin. They were

candied, pickled, conserved, eaten out of hand, and used in garnishes.

Geoffrey Grigson noted that they were the fruit of a yellow barked shrub

and as such were valued for treatment of "yellow diseases", i.e.



In the Caucasus, they were used in jams, jellies, and dried for use

as seasonings. Facciola indicates that in Iranian cuisine, the dried

berries were called zereshk and were used as a sour flavoring.  A search

on Google reveals that "ZERESHK" berries are currently available

on the internet from a number of Middle Eastern grocers.

Indian cuisine dried some species and used them as "sour currants" in



The related North American version with blue,  not red berries,

is called commonly the Oregon Grape, Hollygrape, Rocky Mountain grape,

hollyleaved barberry, California barberry, and trailing mahonia.

It is found in the Northwest and Southwest US and Mexico. Bear Creek

Nursery in Northport, WA offered both a Japanese barberry and the

Oregon Grape for sale in their 1999/2000 catalogue.


They are not common in the wild today in England because they

were systematically eradicated as they were a host to a black

rust fungus that attacks cereal crops. That's why Hilary Spurling

chose to use imported cranberries for the barberry recipes in her

edition of Fettiplace.


Johnnae llyn Lewis



Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 19:18:32 -0400

From: Ariane H <phoenissa at netscape.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Seasonal Produce

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> I found fresh Dates and fresh white currants. I thought both of these

> things were very interesting and was ondering if anyone had period recipies

> that called for either or both.

> Serena da Riva


I've never heard of fresh dates being cooked before, in either modern or

historical contexts...they're excellent for eating on their own, but

every cooked date I've een was cooked from a dried state.  Fresh dates

are sweet, but have a slightly astringent quality, if that's the word?

Your mouth feels a little dry after eating them, kind of the same thing

that happens with raw quince but much less pronounced.  They're ummy,



If you're willing to experiment, you could try doing something with the

fresh dates...maybe just simmer them with a bit of water and sugar and

see what happens?


As for currants...I've never seen white ones, but red ones are good raw,

and make fantastic jelly or jam, and have a myriad of uses when dried.

I don't know how white currants taste as opposed to red or black

(sweeter? more sour?), but I bet you could substitute them, fresh or

dried, in any recipe that calls for either of the more familiar



In any case, sounds like a great find! Might be worth buying the fruits

just for eating on their own.  I live across the street from a farmer's

market, which I love - but it's quite small and they don't have anything

nearly so exotic.





Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 19:28:07 -0400

From: "Sharon Gordon" gordonse at one.net

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Seasonal Produce

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


>I found fresh Dates and fresh white currants. I thought both of these things

>were very interesting and was wondering if anyone had period recipies that

>called for either or both.



First, I should probably say I am assuming these are the gooseberry

Cousin and not the grape kind of currants that is often turned into tiny


1) Eat fresh.

2) Make jam.

3)There is supposed to be a recipe for white currants in

Good Huswive’s Treasure (1588) and for red currants as well.

4) A modern british recipe for a summer pudding


5) Halloween Illusion food


6) And you could use recipes for black or red currants as long as you

took the color into account

7) Modern recipes for sauce, cake, chicken


8) If you use the SEARCH function at the top of


you can turn up more references to currants in recipes



1) If you do the search in the Florilegium for "fresh dates" you can

come up with lots of wonderful things as well.

2) You can dry them for a few days to two weeks or so and then use the

dried date recipes which will taste much better with the still creamy,

yet sweeter, freshly dried date.

3) Split them, remove seed, and suff with a cream cheese like cheese.





Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 06:43:40 -0800

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: [EK] recipe suggestions?

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Cc: East Kingdom <sca-east at indra.com>


Jadwiga wondered:

>> Hey, what about that classic from Simple Faire - hroed groed mit frydd?

>> (I *think* that's how it's spelled)

>> It's Icelandic for "red berries with cream" - which tells you all you need

>> to know about it.

>> Take red berries - strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, lingonberries,

>> etc. - and beat them to a mush with cream - heavy cream, sour cream,

>> whipping cream, brylcreem, etc.

> Hm.. anyone know if this recipe is documented anywhere?


Rødgrød med Fløde - Red Berry Pudding with Cream

is Danish, as far as i can tell. (If you can't

see the characters, each is the letter "o" with a

slash through it) I found this recipe on the web

- i edited it  little and added a

comment/question. Also, it's pretty clearly

modern (potato starch or corn starch). I found

many references to this on Danish web sites,

which i couldn't read...


Rødgrød med Fløde - Red Berry Pudding with Cream

6 servings


4 cups red currants-- traditional but hard to

come by, so one can substitute fresh or frozen

strawberries and/or raspberries

[Anahita notes: maybe even lingonberries would

work - aren't they like tiny relatives of

American cranberries?]

3 cups water

1 cup sugar

 cup potato starch (or substitute cornstarch)

ˆ cup cold water

Small amount of sugar for sprinkling

Cream, as desired


Put water and berries in a pot. Bring to a boil

and cook until the seeds separate from the fruit.

Strain through cheesecloth or a fine sieve.

our the red berry juice back into the pot and return to a boil.

Add sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

In a small bowl, mix the potato starch with cold water until it is syrupy/

Add it to the berry juice, constantly stirring.

As soon as it thikens, remove from the heat and

pour into individual glass dishes.

Sprinkle with sugar to prevent a skin from forming.

Let cool.

Top with whipped cream.



Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 12:36:42 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries

To:"Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Does anyone know what barberries were in period?  Are they the berries from

> the barberry bush that we see in everyone's front lawn?  Or are they something

> different?

> Grace


Berberis vulgaris, the common barberry. The lower bark was used in  

making medicine.


Now, watch out, th term barberry is used to encompass a wide range of

plants in the genera Berberis and Mahonia.  To make matters more fun, modern

barberry extract actually comes from the Mahonia, whose rhizomes have a

higher concentration of the active ingredient than pants in the  






Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 09:36:40 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Thistle Recipe from Fabulous Feast

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Terry Decker wrote:

> What we call blueberries are New World, but the term encompasses a number of

> blue fruits primarily in the genus Vaccinium (some of which, IIRC, are found

> in the Old World).  You might also check on bilberries.  There was an

> extensive discussion of this on the list a couple of years ago and the

> discussions made it into the Florilegium.

> Bear


Vaccinium is the genus with Vaccinium myrtillus

being the European berry being called the bilberry

which according to Alan Davidson has darkish purple

blueish berries. In the UK they were also called

whinberry and also blaeberry.


Nanna talks about them in connection with Icelandic foods

  in the columns/postings collected in the

Florilegium file Food of medieval Iceland.


Vaccinium berries in the US cover 3 main types

High Bush -- v. corymbosium

rabbit-eye -- v. ashei

Low bush -- v. angustifolium

Davidson notes that nomenclature in the past was confused,

so blueberries in the early colonial times might have

been called hurtleberries, huckleberries, and bilberries.

If the early settlers called the native blueberries under

the name "bilberries"  it's probably a safe bet that

that they used the same recipes for both, substituting the

New World Vaccinium varieties for the bilberry.


This is another one of those questions that revolves around

what it is that we can find locally. European bilberries don't seem to


  marketed locally here,except as caplets for improving

eye health.



Michigan blueberry sites howver include






Bet you can't tell that Michigan grows a lot of blueberries,

hosts 3 national festivals, and that this is a popular school

report topic.





Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004 22:14:12 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Re: Old World vs. New World Fruits

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> The lingonberries of Scandinavia have some similarities to cranberries

> however.

> Simon Sinneghe

> Briaroak, Summits, An Tir


Lingonberries are Vaccinium vitis-idaea and are found across the Northern

Hemisphere, both New and Old World.  Cranberries are V. macrocarpum and are

New World.  To confuse the issue, lingonberries are sometimes called

mountain cranberries and the term cranberry is applied to several other

members of genus Vaccinium, primarily V. oxycoccus.





Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2006 17:48:59 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Currant plant help?

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


The primary currants used in period are Ribes rubrum and Ribes nigrum.  The

Cherry Red currant is a disease resistant variant of R. rubrum developed in

Washington state.  Since it is a large fruited cultivar, it may be descended

from some European hybrids developed around 1600.


Since Ribes can host several plant diseases, I would suggest using the

Cherry Red or a similar disease resistant cultivar rather than trying for a

more period plant.  I would also recommend checking with the state ag

department (unless you are in Washington, Oregon or some other state where

they are grown commercially), since some states prohibit the importation and

planting of Ribes.




> I'd like to plant some currants this fall and I was wondering which

> cultivar is closest to what was grown in period.

> http://www.ediblelandscaping.com/Plants/Currants.htm

> I was going to get the Cherry Red Currant but wanted to double check.

> Grace



Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 18:34:09 -0500

From: "Kingstaste" <kingstaste at comcast.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Cranberries and Lingonberries

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I just finished up my latest Living History class, this quarter we were with

the Vikings again, and the last day of class was our Viking Feast.  I found

some lingonberry cider and lingonberry preserves at IKEA, and had them for

the feast.  I made a baked pancake with the preserves, then served some

fresh cheese that I made and a dollop of the preserves on top.  They were

lovely, but almost indistinguishable from cranberries.  They were smaller,

but about the same amount of tart, the same 'pop' in the mouth when you

crunched on them with your teeth ('crunch' is the wrong word, they weren't

crunchy, but still had some resistance to them even in a preserve), and had

about the same amount of astringency.  There was an ever-so-subtle taste

difference, maybe a little less 'citrusy' tone to the lingonberries than to

what I usually associate with cranberries.  


So, you might search for lingonberry recipes and try your fresh cranberries

in those.  The baked pancakes were a big hit, by the way. ;)



--On Tuesday, November 25, 2008 5:28 PM -0500 chawkswrth at aol.com wrote:

I have somehow landed about a pound of fresh Cranberries. It was one of

those "That looks interesting" SNATCH buys.  I have no idea what I was


I have no earthly idea what to do with them!

I have searched all of the cookbooks I have, only to find variations of

cranberry sauce. Surely there is more to?this good-for-you fruit?then




Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 19:24:31 -0500

From: "Barbara Benson" <voxeight at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cranberries and Lingonberries

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


<<< some lingonberry cider and lingonberry preserves at IKEA, and had them for

the feast.  I made a baked pancake with the preserves, then served some

fresh cheese that I made and a dollop of the preserves on top.  They were

lovely, but almost indistinguishable from cranberries. >>>




It is amazing how things taste differently to different people. I find

that the lingonberry preserves and juice that I get at IKEA tastes

drastically different from the various preparations of cranberries

that I have had.


I am very sensitive to "bitter" as a flavor and, while I like

cranberries in small amounts I find their tartness to carry a

significant bitterness. The lingonberries are quite tart but they do

not have any of the bitterness that I find in cranberries.


I usually keep a jar of the preserves in the fridge and I have them on

biscuits, toast and as the Jelly in my PB&J. Their taste is much

further forward in the mouth, I do not taste them in the jaw area like

I do cranberries.


Were I to substitute lingonberries for cranberries I would say that

you need to add lemon, but the other way around? I don't know how to

remove bitterness.


Serena da Riva



Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 19:38:52 -0500

From: "Kingstaste" <kingstaste at comcast.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cranberries and Lingonberries

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Hmm, I would have actually said more on the bitterness side on the

lingonberries that I had, not less than cranberries.  We may well be dealing

with the difference between two different year's crops, or we may just have

that much difference in taste buds.   We need a taste test!!!


I can see it now, you, me, and a dozen different preparations of

lingonberries and cranberries -ooooohhhhh..

Post-Thanksgiving Palate Cleansers??





Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 23:38:02 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Tudor Recipe help

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Kiri suggested Goya's orange marinade but an even better

choice would be Goya's bottled Bitter Orange.


Water, Orange Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Orange Essence, Seville

Orange Oil, Grapefruit Extract, Preservatives: 1/20th of 1% Potassium

Sorbate, 1/20th of 1% Sodium Benzoate & 1/20 of 1% Potassium

Metabisulfite, E.D.T.A.


How much are you making?

Barberries can be purchased online, but they cost $$$.


talks about how tart they are. The comments suggest "you should be able

to find them fairly easily at persian groceries. ask for "zereshk"."




Elaine Koogler wrote:

<<< I think it's Goya that makes an orange

marinade with Seville Oranges.  I used it once in a recipe calling for

oranges, and it seemed to work well.  Be aware, however, that it does have

other ingredients.  You might do a test cook with it and see if it works!

Kiri >>>


On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 7:24 PM, Patricia Collum <pjc2 at cox.net> wrote:


In discussing some of the other recipes that we are looking at, we have

been trying to find what we can use for barberries. snipped

Cecily >>>



Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2009 21:54:00 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Cranberries was Twill weaves and garb,


Judith Epstein wrote:

<<< When did cranberries make it to the Old World? (I'm sure it wasn't in Period) >>>


If you really want to introduce a new subject and have someone comment

on a question you really must change the subject heading. People

probably never saw your question

since it was buried in a post on twill weaves and garb.


That being said---


You asked:

When did cranberries make it to the Old World? (I'm sure it wasn't in

Period, I just want a new topic.)


And why do you think they didn't have a form of cranberry in the Old



You see this is a trick question.


Genus /Vaccinium/, family Ericaceae: several species.


If you look under

"Vaccinium" /A Dictionary of Plant Sciences/. Michael Allaby. Oxford

University Press, 2006. /Oxford Reference Online/.

you will find this entry:


"Vaccinium/* (bilberry; family *Ericaceae

A genus of mostly low shrubs, often evergreen, with alternate, *simple

leaves, *tetra-  or *pentamerous  flowers with mostly bell- or

urn-shaped *corollas  and *inferior  *ovaries, and *berry-like

fruits. There are some 450 species, found mostly in the northern

(temperate zone and the Arctic, with some tropical mountain outliers.

Several species are cultivated, particularly the American cranberry (V.

macrocarpon), with reflexed corolla lobes, from whose berries cranberry

sauce is made; European cranberry (V. oxycoccos) is a similar but

smaller species, also with edible berries, found in bogs throughout the

northern temperate zone."


? /Vaccinium vitis-idaea/, family Ericaceae. ? the edible acid berry of

the cowberry plant.


If you look under "cranberry" /An A-Z of Food and Drink/. Ed. John Ayto.

OUP, 2002 /Oxford Reference Online/

you will find:

"Cranberries grow in Britain, but in medieval times they went under a

variety of names such as /marsh-wort, fen-wort, fen-berry/, and

/moss-berry/. The term /cranberry/ did not appear until the late

seventeenth century, in America. It was a partial translation of

/kranbeere/, literally ?craneberry,? brought across the Atlantic by

German immigrants (the German word is an allusion to the plant's long

beaklike stamens). It was the Germans and Scandinavians, too, who

probably popularized the notion of eating cranberries with meat..."


Look up bilberry and you are told " bilberry /noun/ ( pl. bilberries ) a

hardy dwarf shrub with red drooping flowers and

dark blue edible berries, growing on heathland and mountains in northern

Eurasia. ? Genus Vaccinium , family Ericaceae: several species, in

particular V. myrtillus . ? the small blue ..." Variously known as

whortleberry, blaeberry, whinberry, huckleberry"


Ayto says: "Bilberries are the small purplish-blue berries of a bush

(/Vaccinium myrtillus/) of the heath family. They are used for making

tarts, flans, sorbets, etc. The name is probably of Scandinavian origin:

Danish has the related /b?llebaer/ ?bilberry?, of which the first

element seems to represent Danish /bolle/, ?ball, round roll?.

Alternative names for it include /whortleberry/, (in Scotland and

northern England) /blaeberry/, and (in North America) /huckleberry/. In

French the bilberry is known as the /myrtille/ or /airelle/."


Then there are "cowberries pl. *cowberries*) a low-growing evergreen

dwarf shrub of the heather family, which bears dark red berries and

grows in northern upland habitats. See also *lingonberry

which is defined as *lingonberry* Fruit of the small evergreen shrub

Vaccinium vitis-idaea; contains high levels of *benzoic acid.

Also known as cowberry or lingberry."


All of the above comes out of Oxford Reference Online.


We've discussed this in the past so you can as always check the

Florilegium too.





Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 14:45:36 -0700

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] cranberries


Cranberries are genus Vaccinium. Vaccinium species are commonly eaten

throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Naturally, not all Vaccinia are

cranberries. Here's what i've found.


Plants in the genus Vaccinium are shrubs that require acidic soils,

and in the wild they grow in heaths, bogs, and some woodlands.

According to what i read, the name "vaccinium" was used in classical

Latin for a type of berry, which is probably the bilberry (V.



The genus contains about 450 species, most of which are found in

cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere, although there are tropical

species from areas as widely separate as Madagascar and Hawaii.


Primary species among genus Vaccinium are, in alphabetical order:

- bilberry or whortleberry (Europe)

- blueberry (North America)

- cranberry (Europe, Asia, North America)

- huckleberry (North and South America)

- lingonberry (Europe and North America)


BILBERRY or whortleberry often has a name translating in English as

"blue berry". Among alternate names are blaeberry, whortle berry,

hurts, whinberry, winberry, wimberry, myrtle blueberry, and fraughan.

They grow in (alphabetically) Austria, England, Finland, Ireland,

Norway, Poland, northern Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, the

Carpathian Mountains in the Ukraine, and Wales. Bilberries include

several closely related species:

-- V. myrtillus L. (bilberry)

-- V. uliginosum L. (bog bilberry, bog blueberry, bog whortleberry,

bog huckleberry, northern bilberry)

-- V. caespitosum Michx. (dwarf bilberry)

-- V. deliciosum Piper (cascade bilberry)

-- V. membranaceum (mountain bilberry, black mountain huckleberry,

black huckleberry, twin-leaved huckleberry)

-- V. ovalifolium (oval-leafed blueberry, oval-leafed bilberry,

mountain blueberry, high-bush blueberry).


BLUEBERRY (V. Cyanococcus) is native to North America.


CRANBERRY - aka craneberry, mossberry, and fenberry - comprises

primarily four species.

-- Two grow in North America, Europe, and Asia:

----- Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry (V. oxycoccos or

Oxycoccos palustris) is widespread throughout northern Europe,

northern Asia, and northern North America.

----- Small Cranberry (V. microcarpum or Oxycoccos microcarpus) is

native to in northern Europe and northern Asia.

-- And two are purely native to North America:

----- Large cranberry, American Cranberry, or Bearberry (V.

macrocarpon or Oxycoccos macrocarpus) is native to northeastern North

America (eastern Canada, and eastern United States)

----- Southern Mountain Cranberry (V. erythrocarpum or Oxycoccos

erythrocarpus) is native to southeastern North America at high

altitudes in the southern Appalachian Mountains, as well as eastern



HUCKLEBERRY - various North American species and two genera. The word

is probably derived from Middle English "hurtilbery", which meant

whortleberry (aka bilberry), accounting for the use of this word in


-- Western huckleberries, genus Vaccinium, grow in the Pacific

Northwest: Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, northern

California, as well as in Alberta, Idaho, and Montana. There are 12

species of huckleberry in Washington and Oregon alone(!) and it is

the state fruit of Idaho. Regionally it is sometimes called blueberry

(adding to the confusion).

-- Eastern huckleberries are of a different, but closely related,

genus Gaylussacia, with about fifty species, native to the Americas.

Common English names include huckleberry and dangleberry. Eight

species grow in eastern North America including the southeastern

United States, seven in South America in the Andes. And the remaining

thirty-five live in the mountains of southeastern Brazil.


LINGONBERRY - aka cowberry, foxberry, mountain cranberry, csejka

berry, red whortleberry, lowbush cranberry, mountain bilberry,

partridgeberry, and redberry - grows in (alphabetically) Austria,

eastern Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,

Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia,

Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Ukraine.


So, to sum up, there are European cranberries; they're not identical

to North American cranberries; i haven't seen any recipes for them,

but they could be out there in norther European cookbooks.


Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita



Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 10:39:05 -0800 (PST)

From: Cheri or Anne <celticcheri at yahoo.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


I'm looking over my Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery for cranberry recipes.? She has one that uses barberries -


'To Preserue Barberries'.


Take well cullered barberies & pick out every stone of them, then weigh them, & to every ounce of barbaries, take 3 ounces of sugar & with halfe an ounce of pulp of barbaries & one ounce of red rosewater. you must dissolve yr sugar, then boyle it to a sirrup. after, put in yr barbarries, & let them boyle a quarter of an houre very fast, then take them up. & soe soon as they begin to be cool, pot them up & they will keepe theyr culler all ye year.


The author says "I don't know why cranberries could not be substituted in all these barberry recipes".


Feeling on this?? I'm just looking into a cranberry sauce for the upcoming holiday and thought I'd see what was done in period to a similar berry.





Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 13:45:00 -0500

From: Gretchen Beck <grm at andrew.cmu.edu>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


--On Thursday, November 12, 2009 10:39 AM -0800 Cheri or Anne

<celticcheri at yahoo.com> wrote:

<<< Feeling on this? I'm just looking into a cranberry sauce for the

upcoming holiday and thought I'd see what was done in period to a

similar berry. >>>


I've never encountered barberries in person, but the OED description of the

berry for barberry and cranberry is remarkably similar (emphasis with **



Barberry: 1. A shrub (Berberis vulgaris) found native in Europe and N.

America, with spiny shoots, and pendulous racemes of small yellow flowers,

succeeded by oblong, ****red, sharply acid berries*****; the bark yields a

bright yellow dye. Also the genus Berberis, of which several American

species are cultivated as ornamental shrubs in Europe.


Cranberry: 1. The fruit of a dwarf shrub, Vaccinium Oxycoccos, a native of

Britain, Northern Europe, Siberia, and N. America, growing in turfy bogs: a

small, roundish, ***dark red, very acid berry***. Also the similar but

larger fruit of V. macrocarpon, a native of N. America (large or American



This page (<http://www.nutros.com/nsr-02057.html>;) says Where to find


Barberry's a dark, thorny bush, with heavy branches, beautiful (though

somewhat stinky) yellowish clusters of flowers, and bright-red, very sour

berries. The berries have been used to make jam, jellies, cakes, and wine

and taste a little like cranberries (although more sour and less bitter).


...so some adjustments to the recipe may be necessary.


toodles, margaret



Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 21:57:11 -0600

From: "wyldrose" <wyldrose at tds.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


European high bush cranberries taste bitter even when you add lots of sugar.  I can imagine they were only eaten as a survival foods.  American high bush cranberries have a sweeter taste and no bitter after taste.  I have a friend who grows them professionally.  He accidentally go some of the European type (which are commonly used for landscaping here in the Midwest) and has pulled those all up and burned them.  The American variety are excellent and he is able to sell lots of them as both syrups and jellies.


  The barberries I have tried tasted somewhat meally and not that good.  For the pain of gathering them (stickers) rose hips or even hawthornes would taste much, much better and be less damaging to the hands.





Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 05:06:29 +0000

From: CHARLES POTTER <basiliusphocas at hotmail.com>

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


Barberries can be found in Middle Eastern and Persian grocery stores on occasion.  There are several recipes in the 1549 Italian cookbook the Libro Novo that use them.  I rather like them in moderation.


                                                 Master B



Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 20:14:39 +0000

From: CHARLES POTTER <basiliusphocas at hotmail.com>

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


<<< I'll have to try to find some the next time I'm in a Middle  

Eastern or Persian grocery store. Are these likely to be in cans,  

jars, dried in bags, or what? >>>


  They are dried in small plastic bags and I just throw them into the freezer till I am ready to use them.  They will last a long time like this.  


Master Basilius Phocas (aka Charles A. Potter in Lexingrton KY) of the Middle.



Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 00:13:48 -0500

From: Sharon Palmer <ranvaig at columbus.rr.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


<<<  The barberries I have tried tasted somewhat meally and not that

good.  For the pain of gathering them (stickers) rose hips or even

hawthornes would taste much, much better and be less damaging to the

hands. >>>


There are a lot of types of barberry, apparently the one used as a

spice is Berberis vulgaris.



When I was a child, my grandfather had barberry bushes around his

house, and we were told not to eat them because they were poisonous.

Research on the net says that there are many varieties of barberry

and some are poisonous.  I suspect we ate some in spite of the

warnings, and no one died, but it would be good to be cautious and be

sure you are tasting the correct type of barberry.







Date: Sun, 15 Nov 2009 01:14:46 +0000

From: CHARLES POTTER <basiliusphocas at hotmail.com>

To: <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


From: CHARLES POTTER <basiliusphocas at hotmail.com>

< They are dried in small plastic bags and

I just throw them into the freezer till I am ready to use

them.  They will last a long time like this.  I

just signed up to the list a few weeks ago and I am Master

Basilius Phocas (aka Charles A. Potter in Lexingrton KY) of

the Middle.  If you want I can send a recipe from the

Libro Novo using barberries.


Master B >


<< Yes, please! I'd be delighted to have a recipe to try these in. Is in the Messibugo translations I bought from you?


Raffaella  >>


Yes these recipes are in the translation I sold to you.  The barberries you found are just like the kind I can get in Lexington.  Here are two recipes I found and I think there are some more. Enjoy!


                       SAPORE SOPRA GAMBARI FRITTI


       Piglia i Gambari, dopoi che son cotti allesso, e mondali la coda, lasciadola cosi monda attaccata busto, e poneli a frigere nella patella in Buttiero frescho, poi ponili sopra aceto, e agresto, e un poco di Canella fina, e dalli due volte nella patella, con qualche grano Crespina, o Marene intiere, quando e il tempo, poi levali dalla patella, e falli stare un poco stuffati, poi imbandendoli serano buoni.


   89 G                   SAUCE OVER FRIED PRAWNS


     Take the prawns after they are boiled cooked and you shall clean the tail, leaving this clean (tail) attached to the trunk and put them to fry in the pan in fresh butter. Then put over them vinegar and sour grape juice, and a small amount of fine (ground) cinnamon and give them two turns in the pan with some grains of barberries, or of unripe grapes, or whole cherries according to the season. Then remove them from the pan and make it to stand for a while to stew. Then readying for the banquet they shall be good.




    Piglia iltuo Vcelto, carne, o zampetta, e falla cuocere con pezzo di Persutto, e un pestata di Lardo, secondo la quantita che uorrai fare, e quando seri quasi cotta, piglia Torli d' Uova, e battili co un poco d' agresto, e Pevere, e Gengeuro pesto, e tanto zaffraro, che li dia un poco colore, e gettalo in detto Vaso, dove a cuocere la carne brancatta d' herbe oliose peste, e la tua Uva Crespina, e che con li sia molto brodo, e la finerai di cuocere con ogni cosa insieme, e se li vorrai mettere un poco d' Uva Passa monda, non li disdiraniente.




     Take your poultry meat or leg and make it to cook with a piece of ham (prosciutto), and a pinch of lard, according to the quantity you shall want to make. And when it shall be nearly cooked, take yolks of eggs and beat them with a small amount of sour grape juice and pepper and pounded ginger, and enough saffron that gives it a small amount of color. And place it in named pot where it is to cook the meat, with a hand ful of pounded herbs in oil and your barberries, and there is not to be too much broth. And you shall finish cooking it with everything inside, and if you want to put a small amount of seeded raisins inside, it is nothing to leave them out.  



Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2013 14:20:00 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "nd sca" <nd_sca at yahoo.com>,    "Cooks within the SCA"

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


<<< Does anyone have a European barberry bush I might have a cutting off of. I am in northern new mexico and would like to grow a barberis vulgaris (for the berries), but I cannot find it for sale. It has bee listed as growing in Colorado and extreme Northern New Mexico.


Natalie >>>


That's Berberis vulgaris. It's been the subject of a USDA eradication

program in NM (in fact there was a national eradication compaign beginning in 1918), but it isn't on the state noxious weed list last time I looked.


Barberry was introduced to the US in the 17th Century as a cultivated plant and moved into the wild. Because it is a host for Puccinia graminis, cereal stem rust, and has been known to support new genotypes of Puccinia capable of attacking rust resistant cereals, barberry is still subject to eradication and not normally cultivated in the US.  If you want to cultivate it, you will likely need to find it in the wild and transport it to your garden.  I doubt you will find it for sale because anyone selling it might be open to a lawsuit by wheat farmers.





Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2013 22:20:02 -0400

From: Sam Wallace <guillaumedep at gmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barberries


As mentioned earlier, barberry bushes are restricted in the US. However, as the berries are used in cooking, it is possible to buy them in some ethnic grocery stores and online. You might try searching for "zereshk" in Persian markets.





Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2013 08:19:21 -0700 (PDT)

From: nd sca <nd_sca at yahoo.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] zereshk polow


On Jul 9, 2013, at 1:18 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:


<<< I get them dried now, to make  - zereshk polow... the dried berries are expensive, and we grow currants so I thought i might as well grow the berries. But not wanting to propogate plant diseases, I will keep buying them.



Natalie >>>


Okay, but now the question is? what are/is "zereshk polow"?





Yummy rice/barberry/chicken dish. Very tasty!





Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2013 10:05:31 -0700 (GMT-07:00)

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] zereshk polow


Natalie wrote:

I but them dried now, to make - zereshk polow... the dried berries are

expensive, and we grow currants so I thought i might as well grow the

berries. But not wanting to propogate plant diseases, I will keep buying them.


Stefan li Rous queried:

Okay, but now the question is? what are/is "zereshk polow"?



As others have replied, it is polow seasoned with zereshk, barberries.


In some form it is an SCA-period dish. (diacritic marks removed) From my translation of recipes from the 1595 Safavid Persian cookbook


Sereshk-polaw (barberry-polaw; note the spelling with "s"!) and horma-polaw (date-polaw)


They are both one and the same [with respect to the preparation]. As for the dates, they must [necessarily only] be added [just] before the steaming out of the rice, because otherwise they will be overcooked.




Uh, yeah, not a lot of detail.


The rice would have been soaked in water for some time, drained, and partially cooked in plenty of boiling water, then drained.


No specification of meat - lamb or chicken? In big chunks or small? Whatever it was would have been partially cooked before the steaming.


What else is added? It doesn't say, but based on other recipes from the same cookbook, i'd say it probably includes peeled chickpeas and chopped onions, and salt and maybe ground pepper.


The meat, barberries and other ingredients would have been layered with the pre-cooked rice. Either meat broth or butter would likely have been added, then the pot sealed and cooked over a low fire until done. The cook would know how long that would be - when i make other polaws from the same cookbook, i usually steam for about 45 min. on a very low fire.


The seasonings in modern Persian pulaos is generally quite different from the 16th c.


Urtatim (that's oor-tah-TEEM)



Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2013 20:35:45 -0400

From: "Jim and Andi Houston" <jimandandi at cox.net>

To: <lilinah at earthlink.net>, "'Cooks within the SCA'"

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] zereshk polow


Done well, that's one of my favorite dishes in the whole world.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org