Note: See also the files: apples-msg, fruit-quinces-msg sugar-msg, vegetables-msg, melons-msg, nuts-msg, pomegranates-msg, cherries-msg, berries-msg, fruit-citrus-msg

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fruits-msg - 2/2/14
Medieval fruits and fruit dishes. Recipes.
NOTE: See also the files: apples-msg, fruit-quinces-msg. sugar-msg, vegetables-msg, melons-msg, nuts-msg, pomegranates-msg, cherries-msg, berries-msg, fruit-citrus-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:
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


From: djheydt at (Dorothy J Heydt)


Subject: Re: Period fruits?

Date: 6 Dec 1993 21:30:37 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley
Mike Campbell wrote:

>Can anyone tell me what fruits were in "common" consumption in Western

>Europe during our period?
Apples, quinces, pears.

Plums of various kinds.

Medlars (which are in the quince family I believe; like persimmons

they must be practically rotten before they are ripe).

Berries: blueberries (called "bilberries" or "whortleberries"),

blackberries (called "brambles"), strawberries, and--so

I'm told--cranberries, but I don't know if they're the

same as the New World kind.

Grapes (seeded varieties).

In the south and around the Mediterranean: apricots, figs, dates,

melons, peaches.
And probably more.
But no bananas or pineapple unless you get to Africa.
And I'm sorry -- no Kiwi fruit. ;)
Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable djheydt at

From: DDF2 at (David Friedman)


Subject: Re: Period fruits?

Date: 7 Dec 1993 04:47:33 GMT

Organization: Cornell Law School

Mike Campbell asks about period fruit, and

Dorothea answers:

> Apples, quinces, pears.

> Plums of various kinds.

> Medlars (which are in the quince family I believe; like persimmons

> they must be practically rotten before they are ripe).

> Berries: blueberries (called "bilberries" or "whortleberries"),

I believe the old world bilberry is a member of the same genus as the new

world blueberry, but smaller.

> blackberries (called "brambles"), strawberries, and--so

> I'm told--cranberries, but I don't know if they're the

> same as the New World kind.

The current commercial cranberries are New World varieties, but both Old

World and New World varieties exist.

> Grapes (seeded varieties).

> In the south and around the Mediterranean: apricots, figs, dates,

> melons, peaches.
Not only are apples period, some period varieties are still grown. In

particular, Rameau d'ete, aka Summer Rambo, is often available in the

Pennsic area about the time of Pennsic. The following list of period or

near period fruit varieties is from an article in _The Miscellany_ (also

Pre 1650 Fruits

Calville Blanc D'Hiver (1627)

Court Pendu Plat (16th century–possibly Roman)

Devonshire Quarendon (1690)

Drap d'Or (=Coe's Golden Drop?)

Lady Apple (1628)

Old Nonpareil

Pomme Royale

Reinette Franche

Roxbury Russett (Early 17th century)

Scarlet Crofton

Sops of Wine

Summer Rambo (16th century)

Winter Pearmain

Fenouilette Gris

Golden Reinette


Grosse Mignonne (1667)


Early Violet (1659)


Buerre Gris (1608)

Rousselet de Reims (1688)

Bartlett (Williams Bon Chretien) “of ancient origin”–may or may not be


Green Gage (Reine Claude)

Prune d'Agen
Dates represent the earliest date at which there is evidence the variety

existed. For sources see the article.



DDF2 at Cornell.Edu

From: Uduido at

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 22:13:38 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: SC - Vegetarian dishes

Vegetarian Recipe 1

From "A Trewe Boke of Cokery, Vol.1, Vegertarian Recipts", pg. 1 by Lord Ras

al Zib
1 Lb Dates, dried

1 Lg Watermelon

Cut a hole in the top of the melon large enough for your hand to fit through.

Save the cut out piece. Leaving all the juices inside, squeeze and remove the

pulp from the watermelon. Put the dates inside the watermelon. Replace the

cut out piece. Leave in a cool place for 24 hours. Take out the dates and

drain. They will be as fresh as if just picked. (Editor's note (Lord Ras)>

Not quite! But still rather tasty. Dried apricots, figs, prunes and/or

raisons also work well with this technique although the original recipe

specifies dates.)

From "The Baghdad Cookery Book, 1226 c.e., compiled by Duke Coriadoc of the

Bow; redacted and adapted to the Current Middle Ages by Lord Ras al Zib.

Lord Ras

From: "Maureen S. O'Brien"


Subject: Re: Haggis (was: tartan something...

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 23:06:48 -0700
ctas_dan at ACM.ORG wrote:

>You would have to be a very rich lord to afford vegetables let alone

>fruit in winter.
Very true. In fact, the word for fruits and vegetables in Irish

translates as "summer food". Granted, root vegetables store well

and so do apples, but how long would they hold out? The Irish diet

in the Middle Ages was mainly meat, dairy and bread, with a few eggs and

such thrown in; the Scottish diet would no doubt be similar, even for

the rich.

Maureen, who likes all organ meat except liver from non-fowls, and was

raised to try weird things and clean her plate.

From: Philip E Cutone

Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 12:27:43 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - An Introduction and a question.
The domestroi mentions various ways fruits are preserved/cooked.
It mentions that Jellies may be given to the servents on sundays. (51)
preserve apples, pears, cherries, and berries in brine (63)
(66)it talks also of watermelons, melons, Kuzmin apples (seeming to be the

origin of candied apples, pour honey syrup over whole apples),

quinces and appls (fermented in a bucket with honey syrup), Mozhaisk

cream (not mashed. soak apples and pears in a blended syrup, without

water. (not sure what they mean))
berry candy (66)(bilberries, rasberries, currants, strawberries,

cranberries, "or any other kind of berry". here is a quick rundown of

the instructions:

Boil and strain through a fine sieve add honey and then steam

the mixture till VERY thick, stiring so as not to burn. pour

onto a board. smear the board repeatedly with honey. as

mixture sets, add a second and third layer and twirl it around

a tube. dry it opposite the stove.

my quick interpretation:

cook the berries (use minimal water, or reserve the juice for

mead/drinking later) Puree them and strain to remove

seeds.(opt) add honey to your taste. simmer on very low heat

till thick. then pour onto a honeyed marble pastry board.

let dry a bit (perhaps in oven, not sure if this is good for

marble) then add a second and third layer, letting set up some

between layers. dry in oven on lowest setting. cut as is or

roll it and then cut it. die of sugar shock.
apple candy(66): about the same as berry candy, but it appears to be left

"softer" (don't dry out in oven)

the parenthesized numbers are chapters, for the interested.
please note this was from a very quick browse through.... and typed

rather quickly as well...

BTW it also mentions that pears and apples may be preserved in syrup

or kvass. (45)

In Service to never letting the kvass thread die :)

Filip of the Marche

From: Philip & Susan Troy

Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 03:10:25 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Roasted apples!
Jessica Tiffin wrote:

> I've just tracked down and devoured a copy of the Goodman of Paris

> (wonderful stuff). He refers to "roasted apples" in many of his

> feast menus. I'm assuming that this is a standard sort of baked

> apple - would anyone know precisely how they were cooked in period?

> i.e. cored and stuffed with nuts? raisins? sugar? in a syrup? I

> can obviously play around with period ingredients, but I'd really

> like to look at a recipe.

I'd have to go back and look at Le Menagier (I hadn't remembered the

recurring theme of roasted apples), but various late and just-post

period beverage recipes call for the "pap of roasted apples" to be

included. The impression those recipes give is that they are roasted in

the ashes of the hearth like eggs, and that the method works best with

stored apples that have become just a bit starchy: they pop open when

they are done.
I'm working from memory here, so please take this for what it's worth...

From: zarlor at (Lenny Zimmermann)

Date: Tue, 03 Jun 1997 17:42:28 GMT

Subject: Re: SC - Mediterranean Feast

While not as "Mediterranean" in style as Greece or Turkey, there are

an exceptional number of salads and fruit/veggie dishes listing in

"The Fruit, Herbs & Vegetables of Italy. An offering to Lucy, Countess

of Bedford", by Giacomo Castelvetro. The original is in Italian and

written in 1614 (just a hair post period). I tend to have the greatest

interest in Late Renaissance Italian cuisine, so this and Platina are

my current bibles. ;-) The copy I have is put out by Viking Press,

with Introduction and Translation by Gillian Riley (c) 1989 and

Foreword by Jane Grigson. ISBN 0-670-82724X. I am not sure if this

book is even in print any longer, but Amazon.Com was able to come up

with a copy for me.
The listings are

by season and then, generally, by fruit/herb/veggie. Oh, and one of my

favorites is the listing under Sweet Fennel (it has a seed that tastes

like licorice): "Fennel Seeds are gathered in the autumn. We flavour

various dishes with them, and eat them on their own after meals." So

now I always have a little dish with Fennel Seeds to "sweeten the

breath" after a feast. It just seems like such a nice little touch.
Honos Servio,

Lionardo Acquistapace, Barony of Bjornsborg, Ansteorra

(mka Lenny Zimmermann, San Antonio, TX)

zarlor at

Date: Fri, 11 Jul 1997 09:43:29 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy

Subject: SC - Fruit and Wine dishes - was re: RECIPE CHALLENGE II
Baron Tibor wrote:
> Memory tickles at me about a stewed prune and red wine dessert with carway

> seeds, that is period and YUMMY.... I cannot remember the source offhand.

> (Perhaps the encylopedia that is Adamantius will... I gotta get my sources

> OUT of the attic and back IN the kitchen!)


> What other "wine and fruit" recipes are there? This is a wonderful

> combination.
I can't recall the specific reference to the dish you describe above,

but I'd be willing to bet it's caraway confits as a garnish. Dishes of

figs stewed in wine I know about. Also a pottage of Bullace plums and

wine, which I can't seem to find anywhere but know exists in some source

or other. As usual, I was just looking at it the other day, and now that

I actually need it, it's gone...


Date: Sun, 5 Oct 1997 08:04:45 -0400 (EDT)

From: Stephen Bloch

Subject: Re: SC - Re: A couple questions . . ..

> 3) What about subsitutions? I am in the midst of gathering recipes for a

> killer menu for Crown Tourney this next weekend, and I was thinking about

> the "Strawberye" but using cherries and Kirschwasser instead ('coz I have

> cherries)

I can't speak for the Kirschwasser, but there are surviving recipes for

cherries. In fact, the "Strawberye" recipe you're thinking of,

presumably the one from Harleian ms. 279, is followed IMMEDIATELY in the

manuscript by one for cherries. So rather than adapting "Strawberye" to

cherries myself, I would use the 15th-century recipe whose author thought

it was similar enough to put them on the same page.

Strawberye: Take Strawberys, & waysshe hem in tyme of 3ere 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.

Chyryoun: Take Chyryis, & pike out [th]e stonys, waysshe hem clene in

wyne, [th]an wryng hem [th]orw a clo[th]e, & do it on a potte, & do

[th]er-to whyte grece a quantyte, & a partye of Floure of Rys, & make it

chargeaunt; do [th]er-to hwyte Hony or Sugre, poynte it with Venegre;

A-force it with stronge pouder of Canelle & of Galyngale, & a-lye it

with a grete porcyoun of 3olkys of Eyroun; coloure it with Safroun or

Saunderys; & whan [th]ou seruyste in, plante it with Chyrioun, & serue

Notice the following differences:

1) the cherry recipe doesn't call for almond milk, currants, pepper, or

ginger; maybe the author and/or his patron felt that these flavors went

well with strawberries but not with cherries.

2) the cherry recipe, after being thickened with rice flour, is further

thickened with "a grete porcyoun" of eggyolks. I don't know why the

author chose to do this with cherries and not with strawberries, but

lacking evidence to the contrary, I'd follow his lead.

3) the strawberry recipe is colored purple with alkenade, while the

cherry recipe is colored yellow with saffron or red with sandalwood.

4) the strawberry recipe is garnished with pomegranate seeds, the cherry

recipe with whole cherries.
I would start by following the cherry recipe as closely as possible,

using a known-tasty redaction of "Strawberye" to get a first

approximation of the quantities. If I had time (which you don't between

now and next weekend), I would experiment with each of the above

differences and try to figure out why they are there.
mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib

Stephen Bloch

sbloch at

Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 13:38:32 -0800

From: david friedman

Subject: SC - jam (was: A bit bland...)

Bogdan asked about a topping for a late period almond tart; someone

suggested peach jam and Charles McCathieNevile answered:

>Peaches are appropriate for England. But I don't know how they

>prepared/preserved them. I would imagine that something like jam was

>done. Has anybody checked the florilegium?

According to _Food and Drink in Britain_ by C. Anne Wilson (very

knowlegable and reliable), marmelade in the sense of a stiff paste seems to

have been invented late in our period and "Sometimes soft fruits were

simply bruised and boiled quickly in sugar syrup without any sieving or

straining, and the resultant sweet compressed mass became vulgarly known as

"jam". The word did not reach the printed cookery books until 1718, but

thereafter both the name and the method of preparation became common..."

So it is not clear if anyone would have been making jam by the end of our

period (though the almond tart this discussion started with is late

period). I think the reason jam got invented so late was that earlier

sugar was an expensive import, used in spice-type quantities only by

upper-class people; even for them, using it in the mass quantities

necessary for preserving fruit would not have been a practical option. By

Elizabethan and Stuart times a lot more sugar was being imported, and it

was being used a lot more and moving down the social scale.

Elizabeth/Betty Cook

Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 22:16:30 EST

From: melc2newton at (Michael P Newton)

Subject: Re: SC - peaches

According to Teresa McLean, in _Medieval English Gardens_ quotes a list

of fruit trees grown: "The Tower of London were planted by the royal

grdener in 1275 with:

'100 cherry trees, costing 1s.6d.,

500 osier willows, costing 4s.6d.,

4 quince trees, costing 2s.,

2 peach trees, costing 1s.,

gooseberry bushes, costing 3d.,

a quart of lily bulbs, costing 1s.,

another peach tree, costing 6d.,'

she goes on to mention that "they were as expensive as quinces, and much

harder to cultivate successfully in England. They appear quite frequently

in Literature from the thirteenth century on, usually classed with the

exotic fruits" Also, Godfrey's 15th C version of De Agricultura advised

sprinkling their peach trees with goat's milk in order to get

pomegranates from them (Take that for what it's worth!) and that King

John hastened his death by indulging in 'a surfiet of peaches and ale' It

seems that going by "Gardens", that they weren't everyday sort of fruit,

but rather a royal indulgence.
Lady Beatrix

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 14:01:12 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D."

Subject: RE: SC - Apricot recipes?(was Byzantine Cooking)

Since I have Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery in front of me, here

are some recipe's from it.

Take Apricocks, pare them & cut them in halves. & put them into a pewter

flaggon, & set them in a pot of boyling water and let them boyle till

they are tender. then poure a little of ye Juice from them, then crush

them thorough a clothe till you leave allmoste noething in ye cloth.

you must streyn them into a glass, in which you must weigh them. & to a

pound of them, take a pound and a quater of double refined sugar, &

boyle ye sugar to a candey height. then stir in your apricocks, & let

it stand on ye fire till it be ready to boyle. then put it into dishes

of what thickness you will, & when it is cold, put it into a stove until

it is hard candied over, then turne them upon plates & let them stand 3

or 4 days before you cut them. then cut them into what fashions you

please. soe dry them up, and after box them.

Note: A flaggon is a large bottle shaped vessel fo 2 quarts capacity

that may well be closed. Pilgrims originally carried wine in such jugs.

Take your Apricocks and pare them and cut them into chips, and put them

into running water with A good handfull of green wheat, before it be

eared. then boyle them a little, after take them from the fire, and put

them in a silver or earthen dish with a pritty quantety of good white

sugar finely beat[en]. then set them over the fire till they be dry,

and they will look clear and green. then lay them on glas[ses and put]

them in a stove A while, & then box ym.
Note: Green wheat, like any grass, stains whatever it touched with an

intense green; it was a common coloring matter. As noted, it must not

have started to ear, and it is to be strained out once the color has

been leached out.





Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 08:14:02 -0600

From: L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt

Subject: SC - preserved fruits

>Looking through several late-period cookbooks, I'm finding lots of recipes

>for preserving fruits, and have the following questions:

Congratulations on finding my mini-hobby within sca-cooking! I find fruits

and preserves are vastly under-represented at our feast tables (preserved

food in general is under-represented). Preserved fruits are not necessarliy

hard to make if you have a little cooking experience, and the flavor they

deliver is worth the trouble. All in all, I have never had a bad experience

when serving a preserved fruit at a feast table.

You will have to be a little creative when using these preserved fruits. I

have noticed that there are numerous recipes for preserving fruits, but few

(almost none) using preserved fruit in a recipe. In some cases it is OK to

use the preserved fruit as you would fresh fruit (the character of the dish

will change slightly), but in others it just won't work.
>- - I read or was told by someone (wish I could remember) that Pippins

>referred to a specific type of apple which is no longer available. Anyone

>know if this is true? If so, what is the best sort of apple to replace them

>with. What about Costers, another (earlier?) term for apples? Are they also

>a specific type, or a generic term?
Small, round, red and hard (not to mention hardy). Less sweet (see large

amounts of sugar added to them for preservation). As for substitutes, I'd go

for the bags of cooking macs, ida reds or some such, wich are smaller, have

better flavor than the enormous ones, and more closely mimic a period sized

apple. Stay away from those so-called delicious varieties. They aren't.
>- - Same for the terms "Pears" and "Wardens". Are Wardens a specific type of

A warden is a very hard type of pear. Your firmer-type eating pears would do

fine here, but be warned that they do not cook quickly. I once had to resort

to pulverising in a food processor when making a recipe for apple moyse that

called for wardens.
>- - How about "Damsins" and "Plums"?
A Damson (Damsins) is a type of plum you may be able to find today.
>- - Rasberries, raspiss, respass, rasps (all terms found in a single book)?
Raspberries are larger now. Wild raspberries (which were frequently hedgerow

fruits in period) make a good substitute. These are all words for the same


Date: Sat, 31 Jan 1998 01:24:03 -0800

From: david friedman

Subject: SC - currant sekanjabin (was rose sekanjabin/wa)

At 2:50 PM -0800 1/30/98, Crystal A. Isaac wrote:
>I've made the current sekanjabin two ways. One method is to get regular

>ole dried currants,...

>For better color and flavor, buy Hero brand Black currant syrup.
It is not clear from this whether Crystal realizes that she is talking

about two entirely different fruits. "Regular old dried currants," aka (in

period cookbooks) "raisins of Corinth," are a small raisin. Black currants

and red currants are a different fruit--the botanical name is "ribes." I

don't know which the period source she has referred to is talking

about--looking at it in the original might help. My dictionary believes the

ribes fruits got called currants because they looked like the other kind of

currants, and the name of the original currant derives from "Corinth."


Date: Sat, 31 Jan 1998 10:45:35 EST

From: LrdRas at

Subject: Re: SC - currant sekanjabin (was rose sekanjabin/wa)
<< Black currants

and red currants are a different fruit--the botanical name is "ribes." I

don't know which the period source she has referred to is talking

about--looking at it in the original might help. My dictionary believes the

ribes fruits got called currants because they looked like the other kind of

currants, and the name of the original currant derives from "Corinth."

David/Cariadoc >>
This is correct so far as my research has lead me to believe. Thankfully the

product sold in the market as "Dried Currants " is in fact the zante raisin

(e.g., raisins of Corinth). It still amazes me that this very universal period

ingredient is still sold commercially and is relatively universally available

in the modern world. :-)

Date: Sun, 8 Feb 1998 12:20:47 -0700

From: "Stevens"

Subject: Re: SC - sultanas

sultanas are golden raisins ninkip

Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 00:33:03 -0600 (CST)

From: jeffrey s heilveil

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