The Country Housewife, by Richard Bradley


This Month is a proper Season for making several sorts of Wine, whether it be that of Goosberries, Currants, Cherries, Apricots, or Rasberries, all which are very agreeable and worth the trouble; the Expence, where these Fruits are growing, being very inconsiderable. The following Receipts are approved to be very excellent.

Preliminaries to the making of Goosberry–Wine.

Goosberry–Wine is one of the richest and strongest Wines made in England, it will keep many Years, and improve by keeping, if it be well made; and is not, in my opinion, inferior to Mountain Malaga.

To make this Wine, we must have regard to the sort of Goosberry we design to use, for there is a great deal of difference in the time of one sort’s ripening and another: the earliest ripe are the Champaign, the Green, the Black, and Red hairy Goosberries, every one of which has a Flavour distinct from the other sorts, and so will yield each of them a Wine of as different a relish from the rest, as one may expect to find among the several Varieties of the French growth. The most forward of these kinds about London ripen early in this Month, if the Season be good; but the later forts are not generally ripe till the end of the Month, or in July. The later sorts are commonly the white Dutch, the Amber, and the Walnut–Goosberries, each of which has likewise a different fort of taste: of the Amber especially I have known an excellent Wine to be made. Again, we must consider, that as to the time of their ripening, the diversity of Situations will forward or retard them a Fortnight or three Weeks; and beside, as we have observed above, every Season is not alike, and we must have regard also to the difference of Climate, one part of Britain is three Weeks sooner or later than another: and when I say in any one of my Kalendars, or Monthly Directories, that any particular Fruit is ripe, or any particular thing is to be done in such a Month, it must be understood that it is generally so, but will vary now and then, as the Season is more or less forward. There is likewise another thing to be consder’d relating to the ripeness of Fruits, and that is, the different Opinions or Tastes of Mankind; some call them ripe when they just begin to turn: but what I mean by ripeness, is, when a Fruit is as tender as it can be, and possessing its highest Flavour: And by those Fruits which I call half ripe, I mean such as have their inward Juices sweet, and their outward Parts a little hard and sour. In this state should the Goosberry be gather’d for making of Wine, See the following Receipt.

To make Goosberry–Wine.

Gather your Goosberries in dry Weather, when they are half ripe, as I have explained in the above Preliminaries, pick them and bruise them in a Tub, with a wooden Mallet, or other such like Instrument, for no Metal is proper; then take about the quantity of a Peck of the bruised Goosberries, put them into a Bag made of Horse–Hair, and press them as much as possible, without breaking the Kernels: repeat this Work till all your Goosberries are press’d, and adding to this press’d Juice, the other which you will find in the Tub, add to every Gallon three Pounds of powder Sugar, for Lisbon Sugar will give the Wine a taste which may be disagreeable to some People, and besides it will sweeten much more than the dry powder Sugar; stir this together till the Sugar is dissolved, and then put it in a Vessel or Cask, which must be quite fill’d with it. If the Vessel holds about ten or twelve Gallons, it must stand a Fortnight or three Weeks; or if about twenty Gallons, then about four or five Weeks, to settle, in a cool Place: then draw off the Wine from the Lee, and after you have discharg’d the Vessel from the Lees, return the clear Liquor again into the Vessel, and let it stand three Months, if the Cask is about ten Gallons; or between four and five Months, if it be twenty Gallons, and then bottle it off. We must note, that a small Cask of any Liquor is always sooner ripe and fit for drinking than the Liquor of a larger Cask will be; but a small Body of Liquor will sooner change sour, than that which is in a larger Cask. The Wine, if it is truly prepared, according to the above Directions, will improve every Year, and last several Years.

Preliminaries to the making of Currant Wine.

It is to be noted, that tho’ there are two sorts of Currants, which may be used for making of Wine, that is, the Red and the White; yet the Taste and Goodness will be the same, whether ’tis made of the White or the Red, for they have both the same Qualities, except in the Colour. Observe also, that the Fruit be gather’d in a dry time, and that if you make a large Quantity, it must stand longer in the Vessel, before bottling, than a small Quantity.

To make Currant Wine.

When your Currants are full ripe, gather them, and pick them from the Stalks and weigh them, in order to proportion your Water and Sugar to them. When this is done, bruise them to pieces with your Hands, and add to every three Pounds of Currants a Quart of Water, stirring all together, and letting it stand three Hours, at the end of which time, strain it off gently thro’ a Sieve, and put your Sugar into your Liquor, after the rate of a Pound to every three Pounds of Currants. This Sugar should be powder Sugar, for Lisbon Sugar would give the Wine an ill Taste. Stir this well together, and boil it till you have taken off all the Scum, which will rise plentifully; set it then to cool, at least sixteen Hours, before you put it into the Vessel. If you make the Quantity of twenty Gallons, it may stand in the Vessel three Weeks before it will be fit for bottling; and if you make thirty Gallons, then it must stand a Month before it be bottled off, observing then to put a small Lump of Sugar into every Bottle; it must be kept in a cool place, to prevent its Fretting. By this Method it will keep good many Years, and be a very strong and pleasant Wine, at a very cheap rate.

It is necessary to observe, that the same sort of Currant is not always of the same Sweetness when it is ripe, those growing in the Shade will be less sweet than those that are more exposed to the Sun. And when the Summer happens to be wet and cold, they will not be so sweet as in a dry warm Season; therefore tho’ the Standard of the above Receipt be one Pound of Sugar to three Pounds of pick’d Currants, yet the Palate of the Person who makes the Wine should be the Regulator, when the Sugar is put to the Juice, considering at the same time, that it is a Wine they are making, and not a Syrup. The Sugar is only put to soften and preserve the Juice, and too much will make the Wine ropey.

This Season is proper for making Cherry Wine, the Kentish and Flemish Cherries being now full ripe, which are much the best for this purposes: This is a very pleasant strong Wine.

To make Cherry Wine.

Gather your Cherries in dry Weather, when they are full ripe, pick them from the Stalks, and bruise them well with your Hands till they are all broken; then put them into a Hair Bag, and press them till you have as much Liquor from them as will run without breaking the Stones. To every Gallon of this Juice, put one Pound of powder Sugar, and having stirr’d it well together, boil it and scum it as long as any Scum will rise; then set it in a cool Place till it is quite cold, and put it into your Vessel, when it will presently begin to work. When the Working is over, slop the Vessel close, and let it stand four Months; if it holds the Quantity of twenty Gallons, or more or less, as the Quantity happens to be, then bottle it off, putting a Lump of Loaf–Sugar into each Bottle. It will keep two or three Years, if it be set in a cool Place.

I have now done with the Wines that are to be made in this Month: I shall in the next place set down the Method of keeping or preserving Fruits for Tarts all the Year about, as I had it from a very curious Person, in whose House I have seen it practised with extraordinary Success. The Fruits which are chiefly to be put up this Month, are Goosberries, Currants and Cherries.

To preserve Fruits for Tarts all the Year.

The Goosberries must be full grown, but not ripe, they must be gather’d in dry Weather, and pick’d clean of their Stalks and Tops; then put them into Quart Bottles, that are made on purpose, with large wide Necks, and cork them gently with new sound Corks, and put them into an Oven after the Bread is drawn, letting them stand there till they have shrunk about a fourth part; observing to change them now and then, because those which you set at the further part of the Oven, will be soonest done. When you find them enough, according to the above Direction, take them out, and immediately beat the Corks in as tight as you can, and cut the Tops off even with the Bottles, and pitch them over; you must then set your Bottles by, in a dry Place. I have tasted of Fruits done this way, that have made as good Tarts at the Year’s end, as those that were fresh gather’d: The only difference between the preserving Goosberries and Currants, is, that the Currants must be full ripe when we put them into the Bottles, and so likewise the Cherries.

There is another way of putting up Fruits for this use, which is, by half preserving them with Sugar, i.e. half a Pound of Sugar to every Pound of Fruit. Apricots especially, when they are near ripe, make excellent Tarts; being split and pared from the Skin, and boiled in a Syrup, they will keep the Year round, as an ingenious Lady has told me. It is also to be remark’d, that ripe Goosberries make very fine Tarts.

The beginning of this Month, when the Goosberries are full grown, but not ripe, is the right Season for preserving of them in sweet-meat: The white Dutch Goosberry is the best for this use.

So likewise if you have plenty of Kentish Cherries, pick some of them from the Stalks, and lay the Cherries upon a fine Wire Sieve, and dry them in an Oven; when they are dried enough, and quite cold, put them in an Earthen glazed Jar, and stop them up close: These must be kept in a dry place.

Upon the foot of the above Receipt, for preserving of Fruits, I have a Notion that we may preserve green Pease, after the same manner, in Bottles, that I have mention’d for the preserving of Goosberries, Currants, &c. So that they will eat tender and well tasted at Christmas: it is well worth the tryal, seeing that a Bottle or two cannot be any great Expence, and that Pease are acceptable almost to every one. This I have persuaded some of my Acquaintance to try, but particularly a very curious Person in such matters, who tells me, that provided this method answers what we aim at, he supposes they will be the most agreeable, either to be boiled with Cream, or stew’d in Gravey, after the French manner, for it is a dispute with him, whether they will hold their green Colour; but, as I observ’d before, it may be try’d at an easy Expence.

The beginning of this Month is the time to pickle Walnuts, for then the Walnuts have not began to shell, and moreover are not so bitter nor hollow as they will be afterwards; they will now be full flesh’d, and you will have no Loss. The following Method I learnt from Mr. Foord, a curious Gentleman of Buckingham, and has been experienced to be the best way. There is one thing indeed which must be regarded in this Pickle, which is, that every one does not love the Taste of Onion or Garlick; but that may be omitted as we please, only supplying the place with Ginger.

To pickle Walnuts.

The Walnuts being fit for pickling, wash them, and put them into a Kettle to scald; then with a piece of Flannel rub off the outer Skin, and let them lie till they are quite cold, after which put them into a Vessel of Salt and Water, and let them stand 24 Hours; then take them out, and put them again into fresh Salt and Water for 24 Hours more; then shift them as before, and continue this Practice for fourteen Days, at the end of which time wipe them dry, and lay them in a glazed earthen Pot, Stratum super Stratum, with Spice, whole Mustard–Seed, Horse–Radish slic’d, and Garlick, or Eschalots: that is to say, make a Layer of Walnuts, and strew over it whole Pepper, Ginger slic’d, Horse–Radish slic’d, some whole Mustard–Seed, and three or four Cloves of Garlick; or if Garlick be too strong, as many Cloves of Shalots. Then lay upon these another Layer of Walnuts, and upon them the Roots and Spices as before, and so continue till your Pot is full; then pour over the whole, as much boiling Vinegar as will cover them, and immediately cover the Pot close, and let it stand till the next Day, when we may again pour off the Vinegar from them, without disturbing them; and making it again boiling hot, pour it upon them, and stop them close, as before, to be set by for use. But these will not be fit for eating under three Weeks or a Month, and will be much better by keeping a few Months.

This Month is a proper time to make Syrup of Clove–Julyflowers, and likewise to make Julyflower Wine, which is a very rich Liquor, and may be made in the best manner, by the following Receipt from Mrs. B. B.

To make Julyflower Wine.

Take nine Gallons of Water, and twenty four Pounds of Sugar, boil these on a gentle Fire till one Gallon is lost, or evaporated, taking off the Scum as it rises. Then having prepared a Bushel of Clove Julyflowers, the red Flower Leaves only, pour the Liquor scalding hot upon them, and cover them close till the next Day, then pressing them with a Screw-press. When this is done, bake a piece of Bread hard, without scorching, before the Fire, and while it is warm, spread some Ale–Yeast upon it, and put it into the Liquor, in an open Tub, till it begins to worker ferment; the next Day after which, add two quarts of Sack, and one of Rhenish Wine, and barrel it for three Weeks or a Month; let it then be bottled, and kept in a cool Place.

In this Month such Carp and Tench are good as have not lately spawn’d; the dressing of them, and of Pikes, or Jacks, see in March. Perch are now very good, the large ones for stewing, as recommended for Carp, or boiled or fry’d, or else in the Dutch manner, call’d Water Soochy; which is to boil the Perches with Salt in the Water, and Parsley–Roots and Parsley Leaves, to be brought to Table in the Water they are boiled in, and eaten with Bread and Butter. ’Tis an odd way to the English, but is much admir’d by many Genlemen who have travell’d.

The Garden is now very rich in Eatables, as may be seen in my Gardener’s Kalendar, printed for Mr. Mears.

The Trasopogon, or Goatsbeard, is now, as well as in the former Month, fit for boiling; it is in much request in some of the Western parts of England, especially about Bristol, as I am inform’d, where the Country People call it Trangompoop, or Crangompoop, a corruption, as I suppose, from the true Name above written: This is eaten like Asparagus, and dress’d the same way, the part which is eaten is the blossomy Bud a little before it would flower, with about six Inches of the Stalk to it.

There are now Chickens, Pigeons, Ducks, and some young wild Ducks, and Rabbets, which may not only make great Variety at a Table, to be drest after the common plain way, but may also be made into elgant Dishes, after the several manners mention’d in this Work, if there is an occasion to entertain particular People of fine Taste.

The Ronceval and Mooretto Pease, and Windsor Beans, are also good helps to a Table: I need say nothing of their dressing; but that I am of opinion, that the Windsor Beans, when they are blanch’d, that is, boiled long enough till we can take off their Skins, and then put into large-neck’d Bottles, and order’d as I have prescrib’d for the preserving of Pease; by this means I suppose they may be preserv’d many Months: but we may defer this Experiment till the end of September, to be try’d upon the latter Crops.

Near the Sea we have Mackrel in the height of perfection, and Mullet, Turbut, Herrings, Scate, and Soles, as also Lobsters and Crabs; and in the Rivers, Salmon and Trout are still good, and some Cray–Fish.

’Tis now a proper Season to put up Rasp-berries, either in Sweetmeat, or to infuse in Brandy; but they must be gather’d dry. There are certain People who know how to mix these with Port Wine, and imitate the richest Florence Wine.

About Midsummer is a proper time to put up a Boar for Brawn against Christmas, or against the beginning of December, for then is the Season it sells best, and is chiefly in request, selling at that time for twelve Pence per Pound.

For this end we should chuse an old Boar, for the older he is, the more horny will the Brawn be: We must provide for this use a Frank, as the Farmers call it, which must be built very strong to keep the Boar in. The figure of the Frank should be somewhat like a Dog–Kennel, a little longer than the Boar, which we put up so close on the Sides that the Boar cannot turn about in it; the Back of this Frank must have a sliding Board, to open and shut at pleasure, for the conveniency of taking away the Dung, which should be done every Day. When all this is very secure, and made as directed, put up your Boar, and take care that he is so placed, as never to see or even hear any Hogs; for if he does, he will pine away, and lose more good Flesh in one Day than he gets in a Fortnight: He must then be fed with as many Pease as he will eat, and as much skim’d Milk, or flet Milk, as is necessary for him. This method must be used with him till he declines his Meat, or will eat very little of it, and then the Pease must be left off, and he must be fed with Paste made of Barley Meal, made into Balls as big as large Hen–Eggs, and still the Skim–Milk continued, till you find him decline that likewise, at which time he will be fit to kill for Brawn; the Directions for making of which, with the Pickle for it, see in the Month of December. During the time he is thus feeding, great care must be taken that he has always Meat before him, for neglect in this will spoil the whole Design.

This is the way of feeding a Boar for Brawn, but I cannot help thinking ’tis a little barbarous, and especially as the Creature is by some People put in so close a Pen, that as I hear, it cannot lie down all the while ’tis feeding; and at last, considering the expence of Food, Brawn is but an insipid kind of Meat: however, as some are lovers of it, it is necessary to prescribe the method which should be used in the preparing it.

In this Month we have plenty of Artichokes and it is a good Season to put them up for Winter use, to be used simply, or to be put in Sauces, or in compound Dishes; they are easily dried or pickled, to be kept, and if they are not gather’d as soon as they are in their perfection, they will lose the goodness of their Hearts, or the Bottoms, as some call them. In a plentiful Year of them I have had a great number dried for Winter use, in the following manner.

Concerning the gathering, and ordering Artichokes for drying.

In the gathering of Artichokes, observe, that the Leaves of what is call’d the Artichoke be pointing inwards, and lie close at the Top, for then the Bottom will be large and full; but if you find many of the Leaves of the Artichoke spread from the Top, then the Choke, or bristly part is shot so much, that it has drawn out much of the Heart of the Artichoke; and as the Flower comes forward, the more that grows, the thinner will be the Bottom, which is the best part of it.

When you cut the Artichoke, cut it with a long Stalk, that when you use it you may clear it well of its Strings, which will else spoil the goodness of the Bottom, wherein the Strings will remain; to do this, lay the Artichoke upon a Table, and hold it down hard with one Hand, while with the other Hand you pull the Stalk hard up and down, till it quits the Artichoke, and will then pull away the Strings along with it; this being done, lay the Artichokes in Water for an Hour, and then put them into a Kettle of cold Water to boil, till they are tender enough to separate the Leaves and the Chokes from them. When this is done, lay the Hearts, or Bottoms upon a Cullender, or some other thing, to drain conveniently; then dry them upon a Wire Sieve, or Gridiron, in a gentle Oven, by degrees, till they are as hard as Wood. These will keep good twelve Months if they are laid by in a dry Place.

When we want to use these for boiling, frying, or to accompany other Meats, we must put them into warm Water, often repeating it to them for eight and forty Hours, by which means they will come to themselves, and be as good when they come to be scalded as if they were fresh gather’d. But they may also be preserv’d after the following manner.

Second Way to preserve Artichokes.

Having chosen your Artichokes according to the above Directions, cut the Bottoms, with a sharp Knife, clear of their Leaves and their Chokes, flinging them immediately into cold Water, to prevent their turning black. When they have lain in the Water for seven or eight Minutes, wash them and drain them a little, and then fling them into Wheat or Barley Flower, so that they be all over cover’d with it; after which, lay them upon Wire Sieves, or Pieces of Wicker-work to dry in an Oven gently, till they are quite dry and hard: these must be kept in a dry Place, and when they are to be used, steep them in Water four and twenty Hours, and boil them till they are tender, they will eat as well as if they were fresh cut.

The Artichoke may likewise be pickled in the following manner.

To preserve Artichokes by Pickling.

Gather and prepare your Artichokes as before, and put them into cold Water to boil, with a moderate quantity of Salt; then take them off the Fire, and let the Water stand in the Kettle for a quarter of an hour, till the Salt is settled to the bottom; then pour off your Water clear into an Earthen glazed Vesel where you design to put your Artichokes, and clearing them from the Leaves and Choaks, wash them well in two or three Waters, and put them in the Brine or Pickle they were boiled in, when both are quite cold; upon which pour as much Oil as will cover it half an Inch thick, or where Oil is wanting, melted Butter will serve: be sure you put so much as will keep the Air from the Artichokes. Some will add some Vinegar to the Water, but that is at pleasure; when this is done, cover the top of the Earthen Pot close with Paper, and lay a Board over it to keep it from any Air, or else cover the Pot with a wet Bladder, and tie it down close. They will keep good a Year, and when we want to use them, lay them to steep in cold Water to take out the Salt; you may shift the Water three or four times, they will be the better for it, and then use them in Pyes, or other compound Dishes.

In Holland I have often eaten the small Suckers of Artichokes fry’d, which have made an agreeable Dish. The Receipt for preparing them is the following.

To fry small Suckers of Artichokes, or small Artichokes.

Gather the young Heads of Artichokes, and boil them with Salt and Water till they are tender; these Artichokes should be no bigger than middling Apples; split these in four or six Parts each, flower them well, and fry them crisp in Hogs-lard, and eat them with Butter, Pepper, and a little Verjuice or Orange–Juice.

It is a common practice in France to eat the small Heads of Artichokes raw, with Vinegar, Pepper, and Salt; the Method is to pull off the single Leaves, and dip the fleshy part of the Leaves into it and eat that. They are agreeably bitter, and create an Appetite.

This Month Rasberries are ripe; and as they make a most pleasant Wine, I shall here give the Receipt for making it.

To make Rasberry Wine.

To every Quart of the Juice of Rasberries, put a Pint of Water, and to every Quart of Liquor a Pound of fine Sugar; then set it on the Fire to boil half an hour, taking off the Scum as it rises: then set it to cool, and when it is quite cold, put it in a Vessel and let it stand ten Weeks or something more if the Weather prove cold; when it is settled, bottle it, and it will keep two Years. Altho’ I have set down in this Month a good experienced way of making Goosberry Wine, which will keep twenty Years, and grow better by Age; yet I cannot pass by a Receipt which is highly commended for making Wine of Red Goosberries, which I had from an Acquaintance who frequently makes it.

To make Red Goosberry Wine.

When the Red Goosberries are well colour’d and not over-ripe, but grateful to the Taste, gather them in a dry Day; take a Peck of these, and slit them a little more than half thro’ the middle, putting them into a large glazed Earthen Pan, with eight Pounds of fine powder’d Sugar strew’d over them; then boil four Gallons of Cyder, and pour it boiling hot upon the Sugar and Goosberries: this must stand eight or ten Days, stirring it once each Day, and at length strain it thro’ a Flannel in a Press, and put the Liquor into the Vessel with a warm Toast of Wheat-bread, spread on both sides with Ale–Yeast; this must stand two or three Months till it is fine, and then bottle it. This is a very strong Wine, and of a bright red Colour.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:54