The Country Housewife, by Richard Bradley


This Month is the principal Season for pickling of Cucumbers, for that Fruit is now in the greatest Perfection, as well for pickling them in imitation of Mango’s, or as Girkins. They are now to be had in great plenty, and are free from Spots.

The following is an extraordinary Receipt for pickling of Cucumbers to imitate Mango’s.

Gather large Cucumbers of as green a Colour as may be, wash them well in common Water, and then either cut off their Tops, and scoop out all the seedy part, or else cut a Slice out of the Side of each of them, and scrape out the seedy part with a small Spoon, taking care not to mismatch the Slices or Tops of the Cucumbers, that they may tie up the better when we come to fill them with Spices, &c. When we have thus prepared enough to fill the Jar or Earthen Vessel which we design for them, peel some Garlick or Shalots, which you like best, and put either two Cloves of Shalot into each Cucumber, or one middling Clove of Garlick; and also into every one put a thin slice or two of Horse-radish, a slice of Ginger, and, according to custom, a Tea Spoonful of whole Mustard-seed; but, in my opinion, that may be left out. Then putting on the tops of the Cucumbers, or the Slices that were cut out of them, tie them close with strong Thread, and place them in your Jar. Then prepare your Pickle of Vinegar, which we suppose to be about five Quarts to two dozen of large Cucumbers, to which put about a Pound of Bay–Salt, half an Ounce of whole Pepper, about an Ounce of Ginger sliced, and a large Root of Horse-radish sliced; boil these in a brass Sauce-pan for about fifteen Minutes, taking off the Scum as it rises, and then pour it upon your Cucumbers, and cover the top of the Vessel with a coarse Linnen Cloth four or five times double, and set the Vessel near the Fire to keep warm; the day following you will find them changed to a yellow Colour, but that will alter in a day or two to be much greener than they were at first, if you use the following Method: Pour all your Pickle into a brass Skellet, and add to it a piece of Allum as big as a Walnut, and set it over the Fire till it boils, then pour it on your Cucumbers as before, and repeat the same every day till the Cucumbers are of the Greenness you desire. When you have pour’d on your Pickle for the last time, the Jar must be cover’d as before, but remain without Corking till it is quite cold, then stop it close and set it by, in a dry place. The Corks for the stopping of these Jars should be cover’d with soft glove-leather, for the naked Corks will make the Pickles musty. See the Mango’s made of green Melons in the Month of September.

To preserve Green Cucumbers for slicing in the Winter, by Mr. Foord of Buckingham.

Gather Cucumbers half grown, that is, before they incline to be seedy, put them in Salt and Water for five or six days, shifting it every day; then wipe them dry, and put them in Vinegar with a little Allum to green over the fire; then take out the Cucumbers, and boil the pickle to pour hot upon them, covering the Mouth of the Jar with a coarse Cloath four or five times doubled, and let the Jar stand near the fire. When this Pickle is quite cold, stop the Jar close with a leather’d Cork, as mention’d in the foregoing Receipt for Mango Cucumbers. These Cucumbers may be used in the Winter to be pared and sliced like those gather’d fresh from the Garden; you may cut an Onion with them, and eat them with Pepper, Vinegar and Oil.

To Pickle Cucumbers, from Mr. Foord of Buckingham.

Gather the smallest Cucumbers you can find, for it is the smallest Size, which is most commonly brought to table among People of the first Rank; tho’ a Cucumber of two Inches long will do very well, or even one of three Inches. These must be put in Salt and Water, to be shifted every day till they change to a yellow colour: wipe them dry, and prepare Pickle of Vinegar, a piece of Allum as big as a Wallnut to a gallon, or in proportion, Ginger diced, Mace, whole Pepper, a few Bay-leaves, and some Dill–Seed, which will do better than the Herb it self. Tye the Seeds in a piece of Muslin, that when the Pickle by boiling is strong enough of the Dill, you may take it out. This Pickle, when it is of a right flavour, must be pour’d boiling hot upon the Cucumbers, which must be laid in a Stone Jar or Gallypot proper for them, and then cover’d with a coarse Linnen Cloth folded in several Doubles, and let them stand near the fire: Repeat the boiling of the Pickle every day, pouring it hot upon the Cucumbers, and covering them as before, till they become of the green colour you desire. When they are quite cold, stop them up close with a leather’d Cork, as directed in the former Receipt, if you use a Jar, or else if you make use of a Gallypot, tye them down with Leather or a wet Bladder. It is to be understood, that Allum and boiling Vinegar will strike a green colour to any unripe Fruit; but care must be taken that too much Allum be not used, left the stomach be offended by it. It is a custom in some places to pickle the green Pods of Capsicum Indicum with their Cucumbers, which will contribute to make them much hotter or warmer to the Stomach, and promote Digestion in cold Constitutions. But the Capsicums should be boiled in Water gently, and wiped dry, before you put them among the Cucumbers, where they must be placed before the Pickle is poured upon them.

Kidney–Beans are pickled the same way as the Cucumbers, only leaving out the Dill; and the Dill also may be left out of the Cucumber–Pickle, if it is not agreeable to the Palate; and so likewise in other Pickles, Garlick or Onions, or any particular Spice may be left out which is disagreeable, for it is not the business here to pin down the Palate of any one to a certain Relish that I may like my self, but to put it in the power of every one to preserve or order such things as a Farm or Garden affords, so that they may be pleased with them. The Receipts which I have here given, are what I have generally found to be the most approved. We have some who pickle the green Fruit of the Passion–Tree, the Berougella, and Fig: but for my part I can find nothing to recommend them, but the relish of the Pickle, neither are they by any means wholesome.

The Flowers of the Nasturtium Indicum make an excellent Sallad in this Month, and the Seeds of the Plant, while they are green, may be pickled to our satisfaction: the Receipt for pickling them is as follows.

To pickle Nasturtium Seeds.

Gather the Seeds when they are full grown and green, in a dry day, and lay them in Salt and Water for two or three days; then boil Vinegar, with some Mace, Ginger sliced, and a few Bay–Leaves, for fifteen Minutes, and pour it boiling hot upon them, covering them with a Cloth, as prescribed in this Month for the other Pickles, and repeat the boiling of the Pickle, and scalding them with it for three days successively; and when the last is poured on, let it be cold before you cork it up. The folded Cloth which should be put over the Mouth of the Jar, will suffer some of the Steam of the Pickle to pass thro’ it, and by that means the Pickles will not turn mouldy, so soon as they might otherwise do, and besides will be much greener than if they were to be close stopped. All these Pickles should be kept in a dry Place, and look’d into every Month, lest by chance they turn mouldy; which if you find they incline to, boil the Pickle afresh, and pour it on them as before.

There is now the Skerret fit to be eaten; it is a very nourishing and pleasant Root, and is prepared in the following manner for the Table: the Culture of it is set forth at large in my new Improvements of Planting and Gardening, printed for Mr. Mears, near Temple–Bar,

The Skerret, tho’ it is none of the largest Roots, yet is certainly one of the best Products of the Garden, if it be rightly dress’d; the way of doing which, is to wash the Roots very well, and boil them till they are tender, which need not be very long. Then the Skin of the Roots must be taken off, and a Sauce of melted Butter and Sack pour’d over them. In this manner are they serv’d at the Table, and eaten with the Juice of Orange, and some likewise use Sugar with them, but the Root is very sweet of itself.

Some, after the Root is boil’d, and the Skin is taken off, fry them, and use the Sauce as above: So likewise the Roots of Salsify and Scorzoncra are to be prepared for the Table.

The Apple call’d the Codlin is in good perfection for scalding, the manner of doing which, that they may be brought to Table, of a fine green Colour, is as follows.

Gather your Codlins half grown, and without Spots, for if they are spotted, they are commonly Worm-eaten; scald them in Water till the Skin will come off easily, then put them again into cold Water, and a small piece of Allum to green in a Brass Pan over the Fire; which they will soon do if they are kept close cover’d.

The following Receipt is sent me by a curious Person for pickling of Codlins, in imitation of Mango.

Gather Codlins green and near full grown, blanch them, that is, scald them in soft Water till the Skin will peel off, then prepare your Pickle of Vinegar and Bay Salt, about a large Spoonful of Salt to a Quart of Vinegar, three or four Cloves of Garlick, a quarter of an Ounce of Ginger sliced, and as much whole Pepper; boil this in a Brass Pan, with a piece of Allum as big as a Horse–Bean, for half a quarter of an hour, and pour it hot upon your Codlins, covering the Mouth of the Jar with a Cloth, and let it stand by the Fire-side; boil the Pickle again the day following, and apply it as before, and repeat the same till your Codlins are as green as you desire, and when they are quite cold, cork them close, and set them by in a dry place. There is one thing must however be observed in all these Picklings, which is, that if the Pickles do not come to their fine green Colour presently, by boiling often of the Pickle at first, yet by standing three or four Weeks, and then boiling the Pickle afresh, they will come to a good Colour; and then your Pickles will eat the firmer and keep the longer, when they are not too soon brought to Colour.

In this Month we have the Morello and Black Cherry ripe, which both are pleasant in Brandy; to those who would have Drams by them, the way of making Black–Cherry Brandy, is only to pick the Cherries from the Stalks, and put them whole into the Brandy, about a Pound of Cherries to a Quart; this may remain for about a Month before it is fit to drink, and then the Brandy may be pour’d from the Cherries, and the Cherries put then into a Vessel of Ale will make it extremely strong, only about the proportion of a Pound of Cherries to a Gallon of Ale; but some will put fresh Brandy to them, and the Cherries will turn the Brandy of a deep Colour, and give it a strong taste of Ratafia; others will distill these Cherries in a cold Still, with as much Water as will cover them, and draw a fine Cordial from them.

To make Visney.

This Visney is made of pure Brandy, and as many Morello Cherries as will fill the Bottles or Casks, with one Ounce of Loaf–Sugar to each full Quart; these Vessels or Bottles must be gently stopp’d, when the Cherries are put in, and stand in a cool Cellar for two Months before the Liquor is poured from them, and then the Liquor may be put in small Bottles for use: It is not very strong, but very pleasant. The Cherries, when they are taken out, may be distill’d, and will yield a fine Spirit.

In some places, where there are Laurels grow wild, without Cutting or pruning, I mean, the Lauro–Cerasus, as we find in many old Gardens, that Plant is apt to bear Berries, which in reality are Cherries, from whence it has its Name; these Berries, or Cherries, are ripe about this time, and make a fine Cordial, if we infuse them in Brandy for two or three Months with a little Sugar; this will have a Flavour of Abricot Kernels, and be of a rich red Colour. While I am speaking of this, I cannot help taking notice of a particular Dram which I tasted at a curious Gentleman’s House at Putney in Surrey, W. Curtis Esq; which he made by infusing of the Cornelian Cherry in Brandy; that Gentleman is the only one who I think has yet tried it, and to my Palate it seems to be so like Tockay Wine, that it must be a very good judge who can discover the difference. I have drank that Wine in perfection, and this preparation has both the Colour, Taste, and Proportion of strength equal to it; for the great strength of the Brandy is lost in the Cornelian Cherry, and tho’ the Cornelian Cherry is of a bright red Colour, yet this Liquor is of the Colour of Tockay Wine.

Those who live near London, may, about this Season, buy Geese out of the Flocks, which are now drove up to that City, at about five and twenty, or thirty Shillings a score; and till the Season we are to turn them into the Stubble, we may feed them chiefly with the Offals of the Garden, Lettuce especially, which will fatten them, if you have enough: but as for their particular Feed for fatting, I shall speak of that in another place.

About this Season Abricots are ripe, and where there are plenty of them, we may make a pleasant Wine with them. The following Receipt is a very good one.

To make Apricot Wine. From Mrs. J. L.

To every Quart of Water put a Pound and half of Apricots, that are not over-ripe, let them be wiped clean, and cut in pieces; boil these till the Liquor is strong of the Apricot Flavour; then strain the Liquor thro’ a Sieve, and put to every Quart four or five Ounces of white Sugar, boil it again, and scum it as it rises, and when the Scum rises no more, pour it into an Earthen Pot; the Day following bottle it, putting into every Bottle a lump of Loaf–Sugar, as big as a Nutmeg. This will presently be fit for drinking, is a very pleasant Liquor; but will not keep long.

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