Bletting and Serviceberry Marmalade

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There was frost on the ground today, I know because my dog tried to eat it.

Some of the medieval fruit we want to use is picked this fruit after the first frost, and then let it further ripen, or rot, called ‘bletting’. Medlars, serviceberries, and quinces are excellent examples of these.

Quinces need to have brown spots on the skins or they will be too hard to eat after simmering them for 4 hours. Its very frustrating.

Medlars, if you are lucky enough to find them, are so rotten they are squish and taste slightly alcoholic.

Serviceberries, also called rowan berries, need to be cooked to get rid of the sorbic acid that makes it inedible raw and unripe.

Once you have over ripe fruit it is perfect for making marmalade.

For ease of understanding the following recipe:
* Damsons, are a type of plum.
* Wardens are a type of pear.
* Checkers and servits are a type of rowan berry.

To Make Marmalade of Service Berries and Apples
TAke damsins which are ripe, boyle them on the fyre with a little fayre water tyll they
bee softe, then draw them through a course boulter as ye make a tart set it on the fyre
agayne seethe it on height with sufficient suger, as you do your quinces, dash it with
sweete water & and box it. If you wil make it of prunes, euen likewise doo put some apples also to it, as you dyd to your quinces. This wise you may make marmylade of wardens, peares, apples, & medlars, servits or checkers, strawberrys every one by him selfe, or els mixt it together, as you thick good.  John Partridge, The Treasurie of commodious Conceits (1573)

Ingredients
* 2 cups rowan berries, picked over
* 2 cups apples, cored, and coarsely chopped
*  2.5 cups raw cane sugar
Directions
1) Place berries and enough water to cover in a sauce sauce pan, and then simmer on medium-high, until fruit softens, approximately 20 minutes.
2) Strain fruit in fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Squish the fruit to get all the juice out. [Modern recipes say not to do this, it will make jelly cloudy.]
3) Mix sugar and juice together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4) Pour in a sterilized jar, cover and store in a cool, dry dark place.

 

Service Berries

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So Saskatoon berries, also called service berries, are a small, purplish, bush berry that tastes like raspberries, blueberries and magic all mixed together raw and even better stewed or in a pie. This berry is of the Rosaceae family, subfamily Amygdaloideae,  genus Amelanchier. This berries are found mostly in North America, with one species in Europe.

Rowan berries, also called service berries, are the bright orange berry on the mountain ash. They are extremely astringent, mostly inedible until simmered with a lot of sugar or honey. This berry is of the Rosaceae family, subfamily Amygdaloideae, genus Sorbus. They are found all over the northern hemisphere. They are less bitter and more bidable if picked after the first frost, or dried, before using.

If a pre-16th century recipe calls for service berries it most likely means the berries that are hard, difficult to de-seed, and very bitter, instead of the easy to use berry that tastes like happiness.

 

To make Marmalade of Damsons of Prunes. (c.1584)
Take Damsons which are ripe, boyle them on the fire with a little fair water until they be soft, then draw them through a course boulter as ye make a tart set it on the fire agayne seethe it on height with sufficient sugar, as you do your quinces, dash it with sweetwater. and box it.

If you will make it of prunes, even likewise do put some apples also to it, as you did to your quinces.

This wise you may make marmalade of wardens, pears, apple and medlars, services, checkers, or strawberries, every one by himself, or mix it together, as you think good. John Partidge, “The Treasures of Commodious Conceits and Hidden Secrets

Ingredients
* 4 cups of rowan berries, stems removed
* 1 apple, cored and sliced (optional)
* 3 cups of sugar
* 1 tsp rosewater

Directions

  1. Wash rowan berries and then place them in a sauce pan (with apple pieces if you like). Add enough water to cover. Bring pan to boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, until berries are soft and falling apart.
  2. Strain berries through a sieve or a cheesecloth, to get all the juice. Pour juice back into sauce pan and add sugar. Bring to boil for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Add rosewater and stir.
  3. Let mixture cool and store covered in a cool dark place.

 

Preserved Walnuts

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This is one of the recipes dropped from the upcoming book. Took good to bury.

Preserved Walnuts

To preserve Orenges, Lemmons, and Pomecitrons. First shave your Orenges finely, and put them into water two dayes and two nights, changing your water three times a day then perboyle them in three severall waters, then take so much water as you think convenient for the quantity of your orenges then put in for every pound of Orenges, one pound & a half of sugar into the water, and put in two whites of Egs & beat them altogither, then set them on the fire in a brasse vessel, and when they boile, scum them very clean, and cleane them through a Jellye bag then set it on the fire & put in the orenges. Use walnuts in like manner and use Lemmons & Pomecitrons in like sort, but they must lye in water but one night. A Book of Cookery, 1591

 

This preserve is nice spread on cheese or even waffles. Once opened keep in fridge, it goes badspoils quickly once you open it.

 

Ingredients

* 1 cup of shelled walnuts (whole or pieces)

* 2 cups of sugar

* 2 egg whites

Directions

1) Soak the walnuts in water for one day, changing water frequently.

2) Strain walnuts and then roughly dry them off with a towel to remove skins.

3) Whisk together 2 cups of water, 2 egg whites, and 2 cups of sugar in a sauce pan and bring to boil, stirring constantly.

4) Pour mixture through wire strainer to remove egg whites.

5) Add walnuts and bring mixture to boil again, stirring frequently.

6) Boil fruit mixture for 5 minutes.

7) Store Pour nuts and syrup mixture  into hot, sterile jars, seal and store in a cool, dry place.