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marshmallows-msg – 9/28/11


The original marshmallow treats, made from the Marsh Mallow plant and not concoctions of sugar and gelatin.


NOTE: See also the files: candy-msg, snow-msg, Sgr-a-Cnftns-art, medvl-sweets-lnks, Sugarplums-art, p-medicine-msg, sugar-paste-msg, carob-msg, 14C-Sweets-art.





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



Date: Sat, 5 Dec 1998 13:04:04 -0500

From: mermayde at juno.com (Christine A Seelye-King)

Subject: SC - Our Favorite Fun Foods


I just finished watching a show on the Discovery Channel called "Our

Favorite Fun Foods".  It was an hour long special on famous American

comfort foods, including SPAM, Twinkies, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Swanson

TV Dinners, Dr. Pepper, Jell-O, PEZ, Cracker Jack, Hot Dogs, and

Marshmallows. The history of the marshmallow was interesting.  They said

that Ancient Egyptians extracted a sweet syrupy substance from the roots

of Mallow plants, and molded them into shapes.  They were given to

Royalty to eat as delicacies.  The molded gelatinous sweet was used by

Alchemists, Chemists, and Druggists to cure all sorts of ailments.  A

Parisian Confectioner produced marshmallows in the early 18th century.

Mallow roots became very hard to come by and very expensive, so

scientists developed a substitute syrup made with sugar and gelatin.

Scientists in the 1920's developed a jet-puffed process, producing the

product we know today.  They showed a tray of the sweets made from the

mallow roots, and they looked kind of like globs of almond paste.  Hmmm, I

wonder if that was known in the MA? Perhaps in the Mediterranean?

Cool show, done by the same folks who did "Our Favorite Toys".





Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 15:04:36 -0500

From: margali <margali at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: SC - marsh mallow root


We took the roots of the mallows, and washed them really well, chopped

them coarsly and put them in a pot with water to cover. we simmered the

dadblasted thangs over very low heat for several hours, extracting the

juices from the really tough and fiberous roots. The root has a natural

demulcent quality that is very similar to psyllum husk, and gells up

nicely. we added honey and simmered it to reduce it down to a fairly

solid glop. It was sweet, sort of like gummi bears that have been

sitting on a radiator in texture and tasted-green. Not unpleasant, but

not the sugary vanilla taste moderns are used to. I would assume in

period the egyptians used some sort of spices to flavor it? If making it

now, I would infuse it with some lemon or orange peel oil, and maybe a

touch of galengale and just the smallest bit of caraway...


It took a whopping full large enamel stockpot to make just a tiny

residue of goop, probably 1 gallon reduces down to a bout 2 cups of

glop. You could probably do the roll it in starch trick, or add rice

flour/spelt starch to solidify it and make it more like a jellybean or

gummi candy. Not at all like the pouffy airpuffed gelatin marshmallows

but good if you have a sweet tooth. I could definitely see it used for

upset tummies or sore throats, with its natural demulcent properties,

and the right herbals in the mix.





Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 10:59:38 -0400

From: "Siegfried Heydrich" <baronsig at peganet.com>

Subject: Re: SC - feast catapults


> >     Marshmallows were eaten as far back as Pharonic Egypt, but I doubt

> > seriously if they were puffed. What I've had described to me sounded

> > more like a taffy or nougat.

> Documentation for their use in period?

> /UlfR


   Dunno about OUR period, in europe, but as I recall, Pliny the Elder

mentioned them as being an upper class Egyptian sweetmeat. It was originally

honey, flavored with an extract from the root of the marsh mallow (Athaea

officinalis) and then boiled & hardened.


   What we think of as modern marshmallows wasn't developed until way out

of period, in the early 1800s, and it was mallow root sap mixed with sugar,

whipped to a light consistency, and then molded. Puffed marshmallows (which

I don't think actually has any mallow in it anymore) is a 20th century






Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006 01:20:51 -0500

From: "Lisa" <silvina at allegiance.tv>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] period marshmallow references?

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Adamantius responded to Duriel with:

> <<< As for the marshmallow posts, it should be noted that marshmallow

> lozenges, as in candies made from the mucilaginous juice of the marsh

> mallow, do appear in late period and early post-period, and they do

> have some historical significance. >>>

> I've heard of this before, but not in even this much detail. And

> since the Florilegium is full of little, probably inconsequential,

> oddities,  I'd love to see more details on these marshmallow lozenges

> or references to them. Do we have any actual recipes or directions

> for these? Has anyone here actually tried to make these treats?

>    Stefan


I think one of my herbal books has a recipe for marshmallow losenges.  I'll

have to get it out and look.  This herbal encyclopedia has a lot of

historical herbal recipes, including the Thieves of Marsailles vinegar that

they used to avoid becoming infected by the plague.  Considering it had a

LOT of garlic in it, I suspect that was why they weren't infected lol.





Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2006 07:29:03 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] period marshmallow references?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


>  I'd love to see more details on these marshmallow lozenges

> or references to them. Do we have any actual recipes or directions

> for these? Has anyone here actually tried to make these treats?

>    Stefan


Laura Mason in Sugar-Plums and Sherbet has an entire chapter on

liquorice and marshmallow. see pages 164-177. She mentions

Alessio's one conserve to prevent coughing contains marshmallow.

Looking up Alessio, one finds several mentions.

This is from the fourth volume pub. in 1569.


"A remedie against infection of the lunges, and the Ptisick.


TAke of the leaues and s?edes of marsh Mallowes, and boyle them in milke

or wine: of the which, giue the sicke to drinke euery morning, and he

will be hole."


It's also used in other remedies: "Against the disease Gonorrhea.


TAke of mundified Liqueris, of Alchechengi berries, of Iuiubes, of the

rootes of marsh Mallowes, of eche halfe an ounce, of Mellon s?edes one

ounce, of the iuice of Liqueris fiue drammes, braye them a little, and

boyle them in foure pintes of water of Mellons, and Alchechengi, vntill

the fourth part of the water be consumed, and being streyned, k?epe it

to giue vn|to the sicke to drinke."


"To heale the sores of the mouth, and throte.


TAke of the leaues of marsh Mallowes, and boyle them in wine and Honye,

putting therevnto Roche Allum, and being strayned, let it stande to

coole, and with that decoction cause the diseased to wash his mouth and

his throte oftentimes, and it will heale him."


The noble arte of venerie or hunting from 1575 calls for in cures

for dogs.


A rich store-house or treasury for the diseased by A.T. from 1596 has

"A Medicine for an Ache, or shrinking of any Sinewes.

TAke the tenderings of Rosemary, & marsh mallowes, by as euen portions

as you can gesse, and gather your hearbes when they be drie, from any

raine and dewe: Beate them in a morter very small, then take Maie butter

well clarified, and put it to the hearbes, and mingle it in a vessell,

and then let it stand foure daies, then set it ouer the fier and let it

seeth till all the strength of the hearbs be gone, then take a little of

it in a spoone, and let it drop vpon your nasle, and if it be greene as

the Emerauld, it is perfect, and then put it into an earthen pot, and

when you will vse it, you must warme it." Chapter 5 pp. 2


A good explanation is provided by Gervase Markham in his translation of

Maison rustique, or The countrey farme. From the 1616 edition-


"There may likewise conserue be made of the root of Elecampane after  


man|ner: Make verie cleane the roots of Elecampane, as wee haue said,

and cut them in small slices, infuse them a long time vpon hot embers in

water, and after to boile them so long, as till they be tender ?odden:

then stampe them and straine them through a Linnen cloth or Strainer,

and in the end boyle them vp with thrice as much Honey or Sugar.


You may in like manner preserue and conserue manie other roots, as

Gentian, Pio|nie, Corne-flag, wild Vine, Parsneps, Althaea, or marsh

Mallowes, Turneps, Carrets, Radishes, Naue?s, Caraway, Eringus, and such

other like, all which will be the more pleasant, if you put vnto the

conserued or pre?erued a little Cinnamon.


Lastly, be it knowne, that by this word confected, preseruing, or

confection, is to be vnderstood the remaining of the root or other thing

(whatsoeuer it is that is pre|serued or confected) whole: and by the

word conserue, or conserued, is to be vn|derstood that manner of

ordering things, whereby they are stamped and beaten verie small."


It's also mentioned in Gerald and Culpepper.



I have made gelatin marshmallows, but have never started with the

actual plant.





From: johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu

Subject:  period marshmallow references?

Date: September 10, 2006 6:28:12 AM CDT

To:  StefanliRous at austin.rr.com


Stefan li Rous wrote:

<<< I wonder where you would even find marshmallow plants these days, if one wanted to try some of this for an A&S experiment or whatever.


Stefan >>>


I have some books on the botany of plants and what grew when

but I didn't go into all of that. It was my impression that the European

mallow plant isn't something that grew over here prior to maybe being brought

over with early colonists. I might be wrong on this

but I don't think it's native to North America. We have so much trouble with

non-native species already that I'd be hesitant to plant it just for thrill of

trying it. Michigan's wetlands already have to cope with purple loosestrife taking over from native cattails.


Lopking up mallow--





"Mallow, common name for members of the Malvaceae, a family of herbs and shrubs distributed over most of the world and especially abundant in the American tropics. Tropical species sometimes grow as small trees. The family is characterized by often mucilaginous sap and by showy, five-part flowers with a prominent column of fused stamens.


The true mallows (genus /Malva/) are native to north temperate regions of the Old World, although many species have escaped from cultivation and become naturalized in the United States.


North American species, sometimes cultivated and most common in the South and West, include the false mallows (genus /Malvastrum/) and the rose, or swamp, mallows (genus /Hibiscus/) found in marshy areas across the country. Introduced species of hibiscus include the rose of Sharon, or shrubby althea (/H. syriacus/), a popular ornamental bush or small tree native to Asia, and okra, or gumbo <http://columbia.thefreedictionary.com/gumbo">http://columbia.thefreedictionary.com/gumbo> gumbo, another name for okra; also applied in the W United States to a rich, black, alkaline alluvial soil, which is soapy or sticky when wet.

*.....* Click the link for more information. (/H. esculentus/), native to Africa, whose mucilaginous pods are used as a vegetable and in soups and stews. /Alothea/ is an Old World genus. The hollyhock (/A. rosea/), the most popular ornamental of the family, is a Chinese perennial now widely naturalized and cultivated as a biennial or annual in many varieties of diverse colors.


/A. officinalis/ is the marsh mallow, a name sometimes used also for the larger-blossomed rose mallows. The root of the true marsh mallow, a native of Europe, has been used medicinally. It was formerly used for the confection marshmallow, which is now usually made from syrup, gelatin, and other ingredients. The tropical and subtropical flowering maple genus /Abutilon,/ named for the maplelike foliage of some species, includes several house and bedding ornamentals. Some Asian species yield a fiber known as China jute—e.g., the velvetweed (/A. theophrasti/), called also Indian mallow and velvetleaf for the texture of its foliage. This plant, introduced to the United States as an ornamental, has become a noxious weed. Economically, the most important plant in the family is cotton <http://columbia.thefreedictionary.com/cotton">http://columbia.thefreedictionary.com/cotton> cotton, most important of the vegetable fibers, and the plant from which the fiber is harvested."======


So according to this is something akin to okra.


There's a picture at http://www.illustratedgarden.org/mobot/rarebooks/page.asp?relation=QK98R61789&;identifier=0092">http://www.illustratedgarden.org/mobot/rarebooks/page.asp?relation=QK98R61789&;identifier=0092

But this picture according to the next source is that of the blue mallow and not the common mallow.

Check at http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mallow07.html">http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mallow07.html

This Modern Herbal homepage indicates they grew in Britain in gardens too so they ought to be in some of the English gardening books.





Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 08:00:49 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] source for marshmallow

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Sometime back in August we had a discussion on s'mores

that extended into Marshmallows and period references by early September.

I looked up some of the early references for Stefan and posted those at

that time.


I have now actually come across a source for the plant root.

San Francisco Herb Company carries marshmallow root.



Althaea Officinalis $4.40 per pound





Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 17:22:27 -0500

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] source for marshmallow

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


On Dec 18, 2006, at 5:00 PM, Stefan li Rous wrote:


> The description on the site says:

> <<< Our Marshmallow Root comes in a cut suitable for tea and has been

> sifted to remove excess dust. Current lot is not square cut and is

> "fuzzy" and fibrous. >>>

> What does it mean "in a cut suitable for tea"?


Exactly what it sounds like: cut small enough to give you a good

infusion in less time than it takes for a small pot of boiling water,

or a cup, to cool off to an undesirable extent, without being

powdered, or cut up so small that it produces a cloudy or gritty

beverage. In other words, the end product is designed for making

marshmallow tea, which is presumably something like comfrey tea, with

a slightly mucilaginous quality generally considered good for things

like sore throats.


But you can still make lozenges or even poufy marshmallows out of it...





Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 21:20:48 -0500

From: rattkitten <rattkitten at hughes.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] source for marshmallow

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>



Marshmallow the Herb contains salicylic acid which if you aren't aware

is the main ingredient in aspirin.

Now the medicinal treat that I am reading about seems to be basically a

meringue. Egg whites, sugar, and marshmallow root.


My guess would be that the Marshmallow acts as the gelatin that is used

in modern marshmallows...


Personal experience... The tea is slimy and thick.  Very Gelatinous and

very akin to drinking Slippery Elm Tea.  Which tastes just like it

sounds... Slippery.  And Elmish. Tea made from Marshmallow is very

gloppy. However it is good for sore throats, asthma, bladder

infections, kidney problems, sinusitis, and Yes Virginia, even a

Headache. (BTW for a headache White Willow is better... it is the

original aspirin...)


Just wanted to give a heads up.  You Could make marshmallows out of this

stuff, just be aware of what other things this herb is used for.

A final warning.... For those who might be considering a nice hot cuppa

marshmallow tea... Lots of sugar and be aware that it has the texture of

a nice hot snot ball. (Sorry)

Yeah it worked... but it was not a pleasant experience!!!!





Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 21:31:29 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] source for marshmallow

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Interesting. So it may in fact have been a half decent cure for fever as well

as a sore throat..




rattkitten wrote:

> Marshmallow  the Herb contains salicylic acid which if you aren't  

> aware is the main ingredient in aspirin.



Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 15:41:27 -0800

From: "K C Francis" <katiracook at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] source for marshmallow

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


I have had some growing in a pot on my patio for some years.  This year I

transplanted it into the ground.  It dies back each winter and then sprouts

up again in the spring.  Guess I will have to try my hand at making

marshmallows from it.  The tea sounds disgusting!.





Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 11:38:00 -0700

From: "Kathleen A Roberts" <karobert at unm.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] source for marshmallow

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


"K C Francis" <katiracook at hotmail.com> wrote:

The tea sounds disgusting!.


it is, but...


picture the rainy, sopping wet, chilled, muddy estrella of

two years ago.  add to that a respiratory bug (both of

us). add to that a wonderful herbalist from our kingdom

who put together mullein and mallow for us as a tea, which

made life really much more bearable.

better cold, infinitely better sweetened.


why did i go when i was sick as a dawg?  because i was in

charge of the baronial food plan as well as hosting the

traditional baronial green chili stew night.  must be that

crazy cook gene....




Kathleen Roberts

Coordinator of Freshman Admissions

University of New Mexico



Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2007 20:10:07 -0500

From: "Sharon Gordon" <gordonse at one.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Hard to Get Ingedients--marsh mallow Althaea


To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Richter's Herbs  has both the seeds to grow it and the dried roots




Below is a list of what they currently have.  And they indicate it  can be

grown all the way to Zone 9 so that would cover a tremendous amount of NA.



gordonse at one.net



Althaea officinalis


Uses: Medicinal  Duration: Perennial (hardy in zones 3-9)

When to Sow: Spring/Late Summer/Early Fall  Ease of Germination: Easy

Noted for soothing irritations and inflammations of the skin, throat,  

eyes, lungs and urinary organs.


E3920  Fluid extract root 50mL  $15.00/ea


H3920  Dried root cut 25g  $3.00/pkg


H3920  Bulk dried root cut  $55.00/1000g


P3920  Plants  $2.75/ea, $6.75/3 plants


P3920  Plug tray 120  $51.00/ea


S3920  Seeds  $1.50/pkt


S3920  Bulk Seeds  $6.00/10g, $30.00/100g, $191.00/1000g



Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2007 13:26:43 -0800

From: K C Francis <katiracook at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Hard to Get Ingedients

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I've got a marsh mallow plant that I bought at a nursery in the herb  

section I believe.


I live just north of San Francisco, a mile from the bay.  

The mallow plant was in a pot but is now in the ground.  I also have  

a lemongrass plant in a pot on the patio where it has been happy for  

years, just to give you an idea of what I can grow here.  It got down  

to 32 last night but no frozen bird bath yet.  I get quite a thick  

layer of ice a couple of times a winter.



West Kingdom

Principality of the Mists



Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 12:50:10 -0600 (CST)

From: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Hard to Get Ingedients

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


I've not grown them yet, but Richter's herbs and Nichols Garden Nursery

both sell marshmallow seeds.


-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa



Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 13:46:05 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Marsh mallow, honey, butter


And when doing the butter search I also came across this recipe or  



Against grauell or any other viscous matter ingendred in the reynes.

TAke of marshe Mallow rootes foure ounces, of Butter one ounce and a  

halfe, of hony thr?e ounces, of raine water as much as sufficeth,  

braye the rootes, and putting euerye thing into a possenet, boyle them  

vntill the rootes be well sodden, and being taken from the fire,  

straine it through a linnen cloth, or searce, and cause the sicke  

person to drinke sixe ounces thereof fasting, let him vse this  

certaine dayes, and you shall s?e a verie happie successe.


A verye excellent and profitable booke conteining sixe hundred foure  

score and odde experienced medicines apperteyning unto phisick and  

surgerie, long tyme practysed of the expert and Reuerend Mayster  

Alexis, which he termeth the fourth and finall booke of his  

secretes ... Translated out of Italian into Englishe by Richard  

Androse. 1569. (Or Alessio. Fourth volume 1569.)




<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