What is Taste of the Past?

Taste of the Past is where I share my love of traditional cookery. Recipes from the days before TV dinners and microwaves right down the ages to the earliest cook books that I can get my hands on. I hope you enjoy my experiments as much as I do. Please share your own ideas, efforts and feedback in the comments.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Vegetables in 1600s

A list of Vegetables from 1669

(I will be adding to this post in the future)

Sir Kenelm Digby was a gentleman, a privateers, diplomat, scientist and intellectual.  During his varied life, lived through one of England's most turbulent periods of history, he collected recipes from his friends.  Published after his death, The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Knight Opened, covers and extraordinary range of subjects and gives so many recipes for different alcoholic drinks that you might be forgiven for thinking that the favourite hobby of the English aristocracy was making home brew.

File:Kenelm Digby (1603-1665) by Anthony van Dyck.jpg 
Sir Kenelm Digby, artist unknown

At the very end, in Appendix III it lists all of the herbs, flowers, fruits and less common vegetables used in the cook book along with other flavourings.  He does add that he left out the more common vegetables. For instance I know that he definitely has recipes that include peas, beans and asparagus.  So for anyone interested in what green and growing things the people of the 17th century might have been using, here is the list.  I have added  some spacings.

It must be remembered that Sir Digby was wandering around Europe with the royal court who would have had access to a lot more food than everyone else.


1. Agrimony; alexander; angelica; avens, leaves & flowers; balm; bay-leaves; beet leaves; bettony, wild; bettony, Paul's; bistort; bloodwort; bluebottles; blue-button; borage, leaves & flowers; bramble, red, tops of; broom-buds; bugle; bugloss, leaves & flowers; burnet; carduus benedictus; carrot, wild; celandine; cersevril; chicory; chives; clove gilly-flowers; clown's all-heal; coltsfoot; comfrey; cowslip & French cowslip flowers; dragons; elder flowers; endive; eyebright; fennel; fever-few; garlic; ground-ivy; groundsel; hart's tongue, leaves; hops, flowers; horehound; hypericum, tops & flowers; hyssop; ladies' mantle; lettuce, leaves & stalks; lily of the valley; liquorice; liverwort; maidenhair; marigold, flowers & leaves; marjoram, sweet; marjoram, wild; marshmallow, leaves, flowers, & stalks; may-weed, brown; meadowsweet; mellilot, flowers; mint; spearmint; mouse-ear; mugwort; muscovy; nettle, red; oak of Jerusalem; organ; origanum [wild marjoram]; oseille; parietary; peas (chick); pellitory-of-the-wall; penny-royal; philipendula; pimpernel; pourpier; primrose, flowers; purslane; ribwort; rocket; rosemary, tops, flowers, & sprigs; rose; rue; sage, (red & wild), leaves & flowers; saxifrage; sanicle; scabious; scurvy grass; self-heal; shallots; sibboulets; skirrets; smallage; sorrel (wood); spike [spignel?]; spleenwort; spinach; St. John's wort; strawberry leaves; sweetbriar, leaves, tops, buds; sweet oak; sweetwort; tamarisk; tansy; thyme (broad, lemon, mother, & wild); violet, leaves & flowers; wallflowers (yellow); wall rue; watercress; wheat (green); white-wort; winter savoury; woodbine; wormwood (sea & Roman); yarrow. (From this list I have omitted the commoner vegetables.) 

2. Roots.—Alexander; angelica; asparagus; beet; betony, bittersweet; bluebottle; borage; coltsfoot; elecampane; eringo; fennel; fern; galingale; horse-radish; marshmallow; nettle (red); orris; parsley; scabious; sorrel; strawberry; succory; thyme (wild); tormentilla. 

3. Seeds.—Anise; cardamom; carraway; citron; coriander; fennel; gromwell; melon; musk grains; mustard; nettle; parsley; saffron; tulip, seedy buds of; wormwood. 

4. Fruits.—Apples (codlings, ginet moils, pearmains, pippins, golden pippins, red streaks); apricots; barberries; bilberries; cherries (black, Kentish, Morello); currants (dried, black, red); damsons; dates; jujubes; juniper berries; lemons; pears (bon chrétien & wardens); plums; prunes; raisins; rasps; sweetbriar berries; strawberries. 

5. Barks, woods.—Ash-tree bark; lignum cassiæ. 

6. Nuts.—Almonds; chestnuts; pine kernels; pistachios; walnuts (green). 

7. Juices.—Balm; celandine; cherry; hop; lemon; onion; orange; spearmint; spinach; tansy. 

8.—Distilled waters of angelica; cinnamon; mallow; orange-flower; plantain; rose (red & damask). 

9. Spices of all sorts; cloves; cinnamon (also oil of, & spirit of); ginger; mace; mustard; nutmeg; pepper; peppercorns. 

10. Wines.—Canary sack; claret; Deal; elder; Malaga (old); Muscat; Muscadine (Greek); red; Rhenish; sack, sherry sack; Spanish; white.

11. Other liquors.—Ale & beer; afterworts; lees of beer & wine; aqua vitæ; orangeado. 

12. Vinegars of elder wine, & of white wine. 

13. Verjuice of cider, & green sour grapes. 

14. Other notable seasonings and ingredients:— Ambergris; ivory; leaf gold; powder of white amber; powder of pearl; Spanish pastilles

Digby, Kenelm  (2011-12-22). The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened (New Illustrated) (Kindle Locations 3755-3781).  . Kindle Edition.

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