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To Preserve Lime-Juice

Early attempts to used preserved juices to halt the progression of scurvy were unsuccessful due to the fact that cooking and storage destroy the vitamin C in fresh fruits and vegetables. Still, the preserved juices were very popular for cooking and mixed drinks.

limes

In her book, A New System of Domestic Cookery (1806), Eliza Rundell offers the following recipe for preserving Lime-Juice.

To Preserve Lime-Juice
Take any quantity of fresh lime-juice, strain it through a fine cloth, put it into an earthen vessel, and evaporate in a sand-bath, or over a gentle fire, constantly stirring it until it acquires the consistence of a thick syrup. This, kept in small bottles, will for years preserve the flavor of the lime. Tamarind-juice may be preserved the same way, and will be found exceedingly useful, being excellent in punch or sherbet, and invaluable as a fever drink.

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Arthur Parker’s Fortifying Cocoa

cocoa

Arthur Parker’s Fortifying Cocoa

“Then I will help myself,” said he. “A large dish of rather weak cocoa every evening agrees with me better than anything.” It struck her, however, as he poured out this rather weak cocoa, that it came forth in a very fine, dark-colored stream…”
-Sanditon

cocoa
Antique silver Chocolate Pot from http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/

Cocoa, or Chocolate, as it was often referred to (chocolate as a candy had not yet been introduced) was a popular Regency drink served most often at breakfast, but sometimes in the evening as well. Creating cocoa at home took time, skill and a special pot. The chocolate pot, looking like a small samovar or carafe, stood on legs so that a heat source could be placed beneath it. The chocolate and milk were melted together, stirred from the top by a whisk, and poured out. This task would be performed at the table by one of the members of the family.

The cakes of chocolate talked about in this recipe were made by grinding cocoa beans and mixing them with sugar and spices, such as aniseed, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and nutmeg. The whole mixture was then moistened and formed into bricks or cakes to be used at a later date. Today’s cocoa recipes can gain a flavor of the past by including a spoonful or two of whatever spices you like best.

Chocolate
Cut a cake of chocolate in very small bits; put a pint of water into the pot, and, when it boils, p
ut in the above; mill it off the fire until quite melted, then on a gentle fire till it boil; pour it into a basin, and it will keep in a cool place eight or ten days, or more. When wanted, put a spoonful or two into milk, boil it with sugar, and mill it well.
Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell, A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1806

cocoa

54 g / 2 oz / ¼ cup good quality cocoa powder

240 ml / 8 fl oz / 1 cup water

54 g / 2 oz / ¼ cup Sugar

720 ml / 24 fl oz / 3 cups Milk

Stir the cocoa powder with the water over a medium heat until the chocolate is completely melted into the water and the mixture boils. Stir in the sugar and reduce the heat. Pour in the milk and continue stirring the chocolate until it is scalding hot, but not boiling.

Serve piping hot with a dash of your favorite spice and a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 4-6

 


Excerpted from Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends by Laura Boyle.

Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austenation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family.

 

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Orange and Raspberry Shrub

The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
February 8, 1807

The word Shrub comes from the Arabic word sharab, which literally means “to drink” (it’s also the same word which gave us syrup and sherbert). The first mention of this word in the Oxford English Dictionary is in 1747 and its meaning (beyond that of the “woody plant or bush”) is “any of various acidulated beverages made from the juice of fruit, sugar, and other ingredients, often including alcohol.”

Both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic (using vinegar) versions of these drinks are refreshing on a hot summer day. Commonly made in an orange, lemon or berry flavor and bottled, they would last all season long in a time before refrigeration. The presence of the brandy or vinegar added a bit of a bite to this non-carbonated, early soft drink and helped to prevent it from spoiling in the warm weather.

The following recipe is for an alcoholic, citrus Shrub, while Martha Lloyd’s recipe for Raspberry Vinegar could be adapted instead for a refreshing berry drink suitable for all ages.

Citrus Shrub
“Take two quarts of brandy, put it into a large bottle, and put into it the juice of five lemons, and the peels of two, and half a nutmeg; then stop it up and let it stand three days, after which add to it three pints of white wine; a pound and a half sugar; mix it, strain it twice through a filtering bag, and then bottle it up. This is a fine cordial.”
John Davies, The Innkeeper and Butler’s Guide, or, a Directory in the Making and Managing of British Wines, 1808

A Modern Version of Citrus Shrub (Alcoholic)
1 pint Orange Juice
Zest and juice of three lemons
2 Quarts Rum

Combine these ingredients in a gallon jar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for three days.

In a large saucepan, mix 4 Cups sugar with 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly to create a simple syrup. Add this syrup to the rum and juice mixture. Cover the jar and let the mixture stand at room temperature for two weeks. Strain the mixture and bottle.

Raspberry Shrub (Non-Alcoholic)

  • 4 cups fresh Blackberries or Raspberries, about 16 ounces
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • cold water
  • ice

Place berries in a non-metal bowl or pitcher; add vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap or lid; refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Strain mixture into a saucepan, pressing blackberries to extract all liquid. Discard solids then stir in sugar. Boil 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and let cool. Store in a tightly covered jar or pitcher. For each serving, combine 1/4 cup of the blackberry concentrate with 1 cup cold water; pour over ice in glasses.

Makes enough concentrate for about 12 servings.

 

Other Raspberry Shrub recipes can be found here and if all this sounds like too much work, ready made shrub cordials can be purchased from Tait Farm Foods in a variety of fruit flavors including Cherry, Raspberry, Cranberry and Strawberry.

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