As this Month produces great numbers of Mushrooms in the Fields, it is now chiefly that we ought to provide ourselves with them for making of Ketchup, and Mushroom Gravey: And it is also a proper Season for pickling them. Indeed, where we have Mushroom–Beds, we may do these Works at any time of the Year. It is to be remark’d, that the best Mushrooms have their Gills of a Flesh Colour, even while the Mushrooms are in button; and as they tend to spread in their Head, or to open their Cap, the Gills turn redder, till at length, when their Heads are fully spread open, they will become quite black. These large-flap Mushrooms are still good for stewing or broiling, so long as they have no Worms in them, and the Gills are then in the best state for making Ketchup, or Mushroom–Gravey; altho’ the red Gills will do, but the smaller Buttons are what most People covet for Pickling.
In the gathering of Mushrooms, we are sure to meet with some of all sizes; the very small for pickling, the large Buttons for stewing or making Mushroom–Loaves, and Mushroom–Gravey, and the large Flaps for broiling or making of Ragous, or stewing, and Ketchup: therefore to follow the common way, we should make two or three Parcels of them.
The cleaning of Mushrooms, or preparing them for any of the above Uses, will afford us nothing but what is useful; the Parings should be saved by themselves, to be wash’d, towards the making of what is called Mushroom Gravey; the Gills must be saved by themselves for making either Ketchup, or Mushroom–Gravey; and the Parts towards the Roots, and the Roots themselves, must be kept to dry in the Sun, or a warm Room, to raise Mushrooms from, especially if they are of a large good sort that has red Gills, for those which have white Gills, prove oftentimes unwholesome, and are apt to turn yellow when they are cut and put in Water: however, some People eat of this sort, and I have eaten of such a sort myself; but as there are some with white Gills that are deadly, it is dangerous for unskilful Persons to meddle with any of that fort: and therefore I thought it convenient when I was in France, to learn the Method of raising them in Beds, that we might be sure of our sort, and have them all the Year about: The Method of doing which, is in my Appendix to my New Improvements of Planting and Gardening, printed for Mr. Mears, at Temple–Bar.
The following Receipts for making of Mushroom–Ketchup, and Mushroom–Gravey, I had from a Gentleman named Garneau, whom I met at Brussels, and by Experience find them to be very good.
Take the Gills of large Mushrooms, such as are spread quite open, put them into a Skellet of Bell–Metal, or a Vessel of Earthen–Ware glazed, and set them over a gentle Fire till they begin to change into Water; and then frequently stirring them till there is as much Liquor come out of them as can be expected, pressing them often with a Spoon against the side of the Vessel; then strain off the Liquor, and put to every Quart of it about eighty Cloves, if they are fresh and good, or half as many more, if they are dry, or have been kept a long time, and about a Drachm of Mace: add to this about a Pint of strong red Port Wine that has not been adulterated, and boil them all together till you judge that every Quart has lost about a fourth Part or half a Pint; then pass it thro’ a Sieve, and let it stand to cool, and when it is quite cold, bottle it up in dry Bottles of Pints or Half–Pints, and cork them close, for it is the surest way to keep these kind of Liquors in such small quantities as may be used quickly, when they come to be exposed to the Air, for fear of growing mouldy: but I have had a Bottle of this sort of Ketchup, that has been open’d and set by for above a, Year, that has not received the least Damage; and some Acquaintance of mine have made of the same sort, and have kept it in Quart–Botles to use as occasion required, and have kept it good much longer than I have done. A little of it is very rich in any Sauce, and especially when Gravey is wanting: Therefore it may be of service to Travellers, who too frequently meet with good Fish, and other Meats, in Britain, as well as in several other parts of Europe, that are spoiled in the dressing; but it must be consider’d, that there is no Salt in this, so that whenever it is used, Salt, Anchovies, or other such like relishing things, may be used with it, if they are agreeable to the Palate, and so likewise with the Mushroom Gravey in the following Receipt.
When you clean your Mushrooms, save the Parings, and wash them well from the Dirt, and then put to them the Gills that have been scraped from the large Buttons, and with a very little Water put them in a Saucepan, and stir them frequently till you have got all the juice from them; then strain the Liquor from them, and set it by to cool, or else till you have stew’d the Mushrooms that they were taken from, and then add the Liquor of the stew’d Mushrooms to the aforesaid Liquor, and boil them both together, with about 80 Cloves, about a Drachm of Mace, and two Drachms of whole Pepper to each Quart of Liquor, which will be lit to take off the Fire when it has lost about a third part by boiling; then pass it thro’ a dry Sieve, into a dry earthen Pan, and let it stand till it be quite cold before you bottle it, observing then that the Bottles be very dry, for if they happen to be wet, it will soon turn mouldy. When the Bottles are fill’d, cork them well with sound new Corks, and tye a piece of Bladder, that has been softened in warm Water, over every Cork as tight as possible, and set the Bottles in a dry Place; with this management it will keep a long time.
What I learn’d else from the above mention’d Gentleman, concerning the preparing of Mushrooms for eating, was, that they should be always used when they are fresh gather’d, and then only such as are without Worms, which may be easily perceived by cutting their Stems cross-wise; and also that as soon as the Peel is pared off, and the Gills, let the large Mushrooms be cut into pieces, of the bigness of Nutmegs, and thrown into Water, as well the Stems as the Caps, for they are both good; then wash them well, and stew them a Sauce-pan, without putting any Liquor to them, or Spice, or Salt, till they have discharged a great deal of their own Liquor, and, begin to grow tender; you will then find them shrink into a very narrow compass, and must have the greatest part of the Liquor poured from them, with which you may make the Mushroom–Gravey abovemention’d. The Mushrooms being thus prepared, put to them a Seasoning of Pepper, Salt, Mace, and such other Ingredients as will not rob the Mushrooms too much of their own natural Flavour, and stir them frequently till they are enough; then put a little White-wine and Butter to them, and they will make an excellent good Dish: or else they may be made brown with some burned Butter, or be made into a Ragout. As for the broiling of the Caps of the large Mushrooms, the same Person’s Receipt directs to rub the Caps with Butter on both sides, and strew Pepper and Salt on them, and broil them till they are quite hot through, turning them two or three times on the Fire, they will make their own Sauce when they come to be cut. Another way which he directs, is to make a pretty thick Batter of Flower, Water, or Milk and Eggs beaten together with some Salt and Pepper, to dip them in, and then fry them like Tripe; and for their Sauce, he recommends Butter, a little White-wine, and some of the Mushroom–Gravey, to be well mix’d together.
Some of my Acquaintance, who have try’d these Directions, approve of them; and, for my own part, I think them as agreeable as any that I have eaten: but as the Taste is not alike in every one, I shall add an Observation or two more of Monsieur Garneau’s, concerning the Mushroom, which I think not unworthy our notice. The Mushroom, says that Gentleman, is not only a good Groundwork for all high Sauces, but itself a good Meat to be dress’d after any manner, either to compose a white or brown Fricassee, or fry’d or broil’d, or baked in Pyes with common Seasoning, and stands in the room of Flesh better than any thing that has yet been found out.
This Month is likewise a good time, if it is not over-wet, to gather Mushroooms for drying; but they should chiefly be such as are newly open’d in their Caps, before the Gills turn black. For this end, take off the Gills very clean, and wipe the Caps with wet Flannel, and as soon as they are a little dry, run a String through them, and hang them at some distance from the Fire, turning them now and then till they are dry enough to be reduced to Powder. When they are thus dry’d, keep them in dry Bottles with wide Necks, close stopp’d, till you have occasion to use them in Sauces. Keep this in a dry place. Some dry them in Ovens after the Bread is drawn, but an Oven in its full heat will be too strong for them.
Take a Quart of small Buttons of Mushrooms, cut off their Roots, and wash them well with a Flannel dipt in Water, and then fling them into clean Water, to remain there about two hours. In the next place, get ready some fresh Water in a well-tinn’d Vessel, or glaz’d Vessel, to which put your Mushrooms, and let them boil a little to soften; which being done, take out your Mushrooms, and presently put them into cold Water, and let them remain there till they are quite cold; after this, free them from the Water, and dry them well in a linnen Cloth, then put them either into a wide-neck’d Bottle, or glaz’d Earthen–Vessel, disposing here and there among them three or four Bay-leaves to a Quart, two Nutmegs cut in quarters, about a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, and boil as much White–Wine and Vinegar, in equal quantities, as will serve to cover the Mushrooms. This Pickle must be put to them cold, and the Bottle, or Earthen–Vessel, close stopt and ty’d down with a wet Bladder. The reason why the Spice should not be boiled with the Pickle, is, because the Mushrooms would change black by means of the boil’d Spices; and if this plain Pickle was to be pour’d upon the Mushrooms hot, it would immediately draw a Colour from the Spices, which would darken the Colour of the Mushrooms: therefore to fill up the glasses in the manner here related, is the best way to have your Mushrooms look clean and white.
This Month is the proper time to pickle Onions, which make an agreeable Pickle if they are prepared after the following manner.
When your Onions are dry enough to be laid up in the House, take the smallest of them, such as are about the bigness of a small Walnut, and of that sort which we call the Spanish Onion, for these are not so strong flavour’d as the Strasburgh Onions; take off only the outward dry Coat, and boil them in one Water without shifting, till they begin to grow tender; then take them off the Fire, lay them in a Sieve or Cullendar to drain and cool; and as soon as they are quite cold, take off two other Coats or Skins from each, and rub them gently in a linnen Cloth to dry. When this is done, put them into wide-mouth’d Glasses, with about six or eight fresh Bay-leaves to a Quart, a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, two large Rases of Ginger sliced. All these Ingredients must be interspersed here and there in the Glasses among the Onions, and then boil your Vinegar with about two Ounces of Bay–Salt to each Quart, taking off the Scum as it rises, and letting it stand to be cold; pour it into the Glasses, and cover them close with wet Bladders, and tie them down; they will eat well, and look very white.
About the end of this Month, if the Season has been tolerable, the Grapes in our English Vineyards will be ripe, and then we must be careful to gather them in dry Weather, that the Wine may keep the better. I have already mention’d, in my other Works, the curious Vineyard near Bath, and that belonging to Mr. John Warner at Rotherhith, where good Wines are made every year; and also that at Darking in Surrey, belonging to Mr. Howard, which is a very good one: but as some years are less favourable than others to the Grape, as well with us as abroad, it will not be unnecessary to take notice of a few Particulars, which I have observ’d this year 1726, concerning the management of Vines, which I have only communicated to a few. I shall also set down a few Directions for the making of Wine, which have not been hitherto mention’d in any of my Works, or by Mr. Evelyn, or Mr. Mortimer.
As to the first, we are to observe, that the Situation of our Island occasions our Seasons to be more uncertain than on the Continent, or between the Tropics. The cold and wet Summer, 1725, prevented the ripening of our later kind of Grapes; and indeed I did not meet anywhere with a Grape that had its perfect Flavour, unless the Vines were forced; but yet there were abundance. However, this Year, 1726, on the contrary, there are very few Grapes, and those are likely to be very good, some being already ripe against common Walls, without Art; such as the white Muscadine the 24th of July, and black Cluster–Grape. And at Sir Nicholas Garrard’s Garden in Essex, I eat some of the black Frontiniack full in perfection, at the same time; and then the grisly and white Frontiniack Grapes, which are the latest kinds, were transparent, and within a little of being fit to gather: which is a Novelty so great, that has not been observ’d in England in my time; for the Frontiniack Grapes seldom ripen till the end of September, and then in a bad Year we cannot expect them without Art. However, the Vines in this worthy Gentleman’s Garden are of long standing, and have been, by his own Directions, order’d and manag’d in a very artful manner for several Years. And tho’ this Year generally we find so small a quantity in other Gardens, yet at this place there are as many as I judge are in the whole County besides. In most other places that I have observ’d this Year, the common way of management has been rather regarded than the rational part; and even the best Gardeners have fail’d in their Pruning the last Year, for the production of this Year’s Fruit. I much wonder, that after the Demonstrations I have given from Facts, ever since the Year 1717, that Vines would grow and prosper well to be planted in old dry Walls; and the Instances I publish’d in the same Year, in my new Improvements, of Vines bearing best in dry Rubbish, or the most dry Soil: I say, it is surprizing, that some of those to whom I gave that satisfaction, should not guard against excess of Wet, especially when every one, who has judgment in the Affair of Vegetation, must know, that over-abundant Moisture will destroy the bearing Quality of any Plant, and more especially of such a kind of Plant as delights in dry mountainous Countries, as the Vine is known to do; but a common method of Management has so possess’d some People, that they will not give themselves leave to think that an Alteration of a Season from a dry to a wet, will occasion an alteration in a Plant. There is one Instance particularly, which I cannot help mentioning, relating to Vines, and the neccessity of keeping their Roots from Wet, which I observ’d this Year at Twittenham, at John Robarts’s Esq. This Gentleman has several Vines laid up against the side of his House, as full of Grapes as I have ever seen any; but at the bottom where they grow, the Ground is paved with Bricks for about ten or twelve foot from the Wall they are nail’d to. This Pavement, in the last wet Summer, kept the Roots from imbibing, or receiving too much Moisture, and therefore the Juices of the Vines were digested, and capable of producing Fruit this Year; whereas such Vines as were not growing in dry places naturally, or had their Roots defended from the violent Wet by accident, have few or no Grapes at all. My Observations this Year, in some places where there are Pavements, still confirms me in my Opinion; and where there was any tolerable Skill in Pruning, I am persuaded every one will find that there have been Grapes this Year, or now are on those Vines that have stood in paved places, where the Pavement defended the Roots from the wet of the last Year. And as I have already mention’d in this, and other Works, the neccessity of planting Vines in dry places, for regular Seasons; and these Instances showing us the advantage of doing the same in wet Seasons; I think one may reasonably judge, that Pavements made over such places where Vines are planted, as well as Rubbish and dry Ground to plant them in, is the best way we can take for them. This way, particularly in a wet Year, will keep our Vines from running into long Joints, and the Juices consequently in digesting, as we find by experience; for no long-jointed Shoots of Vines are fruitful as they ought to be, and rarely bear any Fruit at all. ’Tis the short-jointed Shoots that will bear Fruit plentifully; and where there is much Wet at the Root, you must expect very few short Joints, and also very little Fruit: therefore, in this case, the Roots ought always to be defended from Wet.
This Year, 1726, was, at the beginning, a gentle and moist Spring, but April and May were hot; which brought every thing so forward, that our Harvest was about five or six Weeks forwarder than it has been for several Years past. The Case I have mention’d of the Grapes ripening naturally, was in proportion to the forwardness of the Harvest; every thing that I have observed in the same way was alike. The last Year was as extraordinary in the lateness of Crops, for then everything was as backward through the perpetual Rain we had in the Summer. Sometime or other this Memorandum may be of use, if my Papers last so long; however, for the present, consider how these two different Years have affected the Vine; the last wet Year made the Vines shoot strong and vigorous, and there was no Fruit this Year: nor was this only with us in Britain; but every where in Europe. The last Year produced such Floods, from the continued Rains at unexpected Seasons, as was never known in the memory of Man, the Vines shot vigorously; and this Year there were very few Grapes of the first Crop: but this Summer was so good and favourable, by its warm Months at the beginning of the Summer, that the Vines abroad shot out fresh Crops, or second Crops or Grapes, which made up for the other deficiency. I expect the next Year from hence, that the Vines will produce a full Crop of Grapes abroad, because this Year has settled the Juices, and digested them; but what Season there may be for ripening, is still uncertain, especially when we have the two last Years in view. But in our Gardens, I fear, we shall have worse success; for what this Year has done, will give the Gardeners generally a hard piece of work; for, as I imagine, there was little care taken in the beginning of the Year to lay up the Vines, especially because there was but a small, or no appearance of Grapes then; and the neglect of that Season in managing of Vines, will be the occasion of losing the Crop the next Year. What I say here about the management of Vines in the early part of the Year, I have already treated of in my other Works.
I shall now proceed to give some Particulars relating to the making of Wines of Grapes, which I believe may help those who make Wines in our English Vineyards, and make them stronger and richer than they hare usually been.
Considering the uncertainty of Seasons, and that every sort of Grape will not always ripen without Art, it will be necessary to contrive how that Defect may be amended. The Richness of Wine depends upon the Ripeness of the Grapes; and therefore when Grapes have not had the advantage of a favourable Season to ripen, the Liquor press’d from the Grapes, may be amended by boiling; for this extraordinary Heat will correct the Juice, by evaporating the two great quantity of watery parts. This Method, however ripe the Grapes were among the ancient Greeks and Romans, was frequently, if not always practised; and is practised in those more Southern Climes, why is it not as reasonable in ours? But that this is not now practised any where in Europe, is no reason why Wines may not be the better for it. I suppose the only reason why it is not now practised, is, because it would be an Expence and Trouble, more than the Masters of Vineyards have usually been at; and so long as they can sell their Wines at a constant Price, they do not care to go out of the way; but in a bad Season there is no doubt but even the Wines in France might be meliorated by boiling: As in the Instance of the Frontiniack Grapes, that are sour and unripe, and without Flavour, yet, by boiling or baking, they will gain the high Flavour that is found in them when they are well-ripen’d, by the Sun; but in baking or boiling unripe Grapes in the Skins, one must expect that the sourness of the Skins will communicate a sourness to the juices enclosed; but the Juices being press’d and boil’d, will ripen and become pleasant. In my New Improvements of Planting and Gardening, I have given large Directions for making of Wine of Grapes, and in this, have also given variety of Receipts for making of Wines of Fruits of our own growth; from whence we may learn the Use of boiling Juices of Fruits, and what will require fermenting by Yeast, and what do not. You will find that such Wines as are boiled with Sugar, are to be fermented with Yeast; and such as have Raisins for their foundation, will ferment in some measure of themselves. And especially observe, that while any Liquor is fermenting, the Vessel it is enclosed in must be kept open till it has quite done working; for if we should stop it up before that Action is over, it will certainly burst the Vessel; or if it has room enough, will turn sour, and be always thick and troubled. Again, all Wines, and other Liquors, must be stopt close as soon as they have done working, or else the Liquors will grow flat and dead. Some Wines will ferment six Weeks or two Months after they are in the Vessel, as one may know by the hissing noise which they make; but when that is done, then the ferment is over, and they should be closed up. But some Wines will ferment much longer than two Months, and then it is a sign that they stand too hot; then they must be put in a cooler place, or the outside of the Vessel frequently cool’d or refresh’d with Water, which will stop the ferment. Again, some will not ferment as they ought to do, and then they must be set in warmer places, which will raise the ferment.
In very bad Years we may help our Wines with a small quantity of Sugar, perhaps a Pound to a Gallon of Juice, to boil together; but whether we add Sugar or no, we must be sure to take the Scum off the Wines as it rises when they are boiling.
In the colder Climates, we ought not to press the Grapes so close as they do in the hot Countries, because in the colder parts of the World, and in places the most remote from the Sun, the Skins of the Grapes are much thicker, and carry a Sourness in them which should not be too much press’d to mix with the richer part of the Grape; but in the hotter Climes, the Skins of the Grapes are thin, and the Sourness rectify’d by the Sun, and will bear pressing without injuring the finer Juices.
There is one thing which I shall mention with regard to the Endeavours that have been used to make Wine in the Island of St. Helena; a Place so situate, that it lies as a resting-place between these Northern Parts, and the East–Indies, and so remote from other places, that could there be good Wine made there, it would be of great help and assistance to the Ships that sail that way: But I am informed by a curious Gentleman, who has had many good Accounts of that Place, that the Vines which have been planted there, are of such sorts, as bring the Grapes ripe and rotten on one side of the Bunch, and green on the other at the same time, which surely can never make good Wine. But upon enquiry, they are only such sorts of Grapes as grow in close Clusters, and therefore the side next the Sun must be ripe much sooner than the other; for the Climate there is so violent hot, that there are no Walls used behind them to reflect the Heat to ripen the Backs of the Bunches.
Therefore, I suppose that the best way to have good Wine made in those Parts, is to furnish that Place with Vines which may bring their Grapes in open or loose Bunches, such as the Raisin-grape, and some others, which do not cluster; for then the Sun would have an equal effect upon all the Grapes, and good Wine might be made of them: But the worthy Gentleman who told me of this, has, I hear, sent to St. Helena a Collection of such Grapes as will answer the desired end.
This is likewise the Month when Saffron appears above ground; sometimes sooner, sometimes later, according as the Season is earlier or later. This Year, 1726, I was in the Saffron Country, and in the beginning of August the Saffron-heads or Roots had shut up so long in the flowering part, that the Planters were forced to put them into the Ground: I mean, such as were design’d for new Plantations, which is sooner by near a Month than they used to sprout, though they lay dry in Heaps, the Weather had so great an effect upon them.
About Littlebury, Chesterford, Linton, and some other Places thereabouts, is certainly now the greatest Quantity of Saffron of any part of the Kingdom; the famous Place noted formerly for it, call’d Saffron Walden, being at this time without it. However, the People of the Places which I have named, do not forbear bringing it to Walden Market, or driving Bargains there for large Quantities of it, tho’ the Market at Linton is look’d upon to be much the best. What I have said in my Country Gentleman and Farmer’s Monthly Director, gives ample Inductions for the Management of Saffron, but I may here add a word or two more concerning it; which is, that considering how many Accidents the Saffron is subject to, that is dry’d upon the common Kilns, by the scorching of it by too hot a Fire, and the Unskilfulness of the Dryers; I do not wonder that there is so much Saffron spoiled. Where there are unskilful Hands employ’d in the drying part, one ought to provide such Kilns for them as are large enough to distribute the Heat moderately, and as constant as possible; which may partly be help’d by providing such a Fire as may be constant, and not give more Heat at one time than another; for there is a great deal of Judgment in that. I find, that by the common way, some Saffron is scorch’d, and some unequally dry’d, for which reason I have contriv’d such a Kiln as must necessarily answer the end which is proposed in the drying of Saffron; that is, to put it into a state of keeping with its Virtue in it, and to put it out of the danger of being scorch’d in the drying. This I shall publish in my Natural History of Cambridgeshire and Essex, which will soon appear in the World.
As for the way which is now commonly practised in the drying of Saffron, it is, when you have provided a Kiln, such as I have described in my Farmer’s Monthly Director, with a Cloth made of Horse-hair on the top, strain the Hair-cloth tight, and lay on two Sheets of Saffron-paper, that is, a sort of Paper made on purpose for that Use, which is very large; and prepare a little Vessel with some Small beer, and as many Chives of Saffron as will make it of a deep Colour to stand by you; sprinkle over the Paper with a Brush or Feather dipt in this Liquor, and spread your Saffron upon it, either in a square or a round Figure, about three Inches thick, and cover the Saffron with two Sheets more of the same kind of Paper, and lay a woollen Cloth upon them, and over that a Board, which will cover the top of the Kiln: view this now and then, till you see that the Steam of the Saffron comes through the upper Papers. Then take off the Board and Woollen-cloth, and taking the Papers on each side with your Hands, turn the Saffron in the Papers, so that the under-side be uppermost; taking off presently after the Papers which were first the undermost, and then smooth down the side of the Saffron that was first next the Fire with a Knife, so that it lie all equal. Then cover it as it was at first, and after a little time turn the Saffron as you did before, and spread then the upper-side even with a Knife, as you did at first; then sprinkle your Saffron with the Brush dipt in the prepared Liquor upon the dry part’s of the Cake, and cover it as before; let it lie then a little, and turn it as occasion requires, which may be sooner or later, as the Fire in the Kiln is quick or slow, minding every time, as you turn it, to sprinkle the dry parts with the Liquor; the more it shrinks, the oftner you must turn your Cake of Saffron, minding still to sprinkle the dry parts; and when it has shrunk about three fourths of the first thickness, lay a Stone or Weight upon the Board at the top of the Kiln, of about seven or eight Pound weight, the Board already being about ten or a dozen Pounds; when it is dry enough, take it off the Kiln, and the Paper it was dried in will be of good use; remember to keep your Fire gentle and clear. We may note, that a Gatherer of Saffron has this Year about ten Pence per Drain, and that about six Pounds, or six Pounds and a half of raw Saffron will dry to a Pound; but generally they allow only six Pounds of wet Saffron to a Pound of dry Saffron: but that depends upon the Dryers, who sometimes out of a Willingness to get Money, do not dry it so much as they ought to do. It is a Rule among the Saffron–Planters in Cambridgeshire, that sixteen Quarters of Saffron–Roots, or Heads, will plant an Acre; and that a full Acre this Year produces about seventeen or eighteen Pounds of dry Saffron, tho’ the common rate is about sixteen Pounds.
About this time you have many green Melons upon the Vines which will not ripen; and besides, if they would, that Fruit would now be too cold for the Stomach: therefore it is advisable to pickle them, to make them imitate Mango’s, which some prefer before Mango Cucumbers. The following is the Receipt to pickle them.
The Mango is a Fruit brought to us from the East Indies, about the Shape and Bigness of a small Melon; it has a large Stone in it, and comes to us in a Pickle, which is strong tasted of Garlick, but approved by most People. When we gather Melons for this use, we must wash them and cut them, as directed for the Mango Cucumbers, then lay them in Salt and Water, shifting the Salt and Water every four and twenty Hours, for nine Days successively; after which, take them out and wipe them dry, and put into the inside of each, which has been already scraped, the same Ingredients directed for your Mango Cucumbers, and tie them up: then boil your Pickle of Vinegar, Bay–Salt, and Spices, with these Mangoes in it; scumming it as it rises, and with it a piece of Allum as directed in the Receipt for Mango Cucumbers, and afterwards follow that Receipt till your Melons are fit to use.
Now we have Wild–Ducks fit for the Table, and it is to be noted, that these should not be larded as Land–Fowls, in the roasting of them. It must be observed, that they be sent to Table with the Gravey in them; but before they are laid down to the Fire, it is practis’d in many places, to chop Onions, the Leaves of red Sage, and mix these with Pepper and Salt, to be put in the Belly of the Ducks; and when they are brought to Table, pour a Glass of Claret warm’d through the Body of the Ducks, which with some Gravey, that must be sent in the Dish, under the Ducks, will make a proper Sauce for them.
Another agreeable way of eating Ducks, is roasting them, and eating them with boil’d Onions; they are sometimes used in Soups, and baked, and they likewise eat very well when they are half roasted, and then cut to pieces and stew’d with their own Gravey and Claret.
Now Stubble Geese will be in season, after they have been taken up and fed for a Fortnight or thereabouts, in a close place, with Barley and Water; but during their Confinement, they must never want Victuals. Note, the Barley must have no more Water with it than will just cover it, and they must never have their Corn dry. If during the time of their feeding, you happen to let them out to ramble for a few hours, they will lose more good Flesh in that time, than they can regain in three Days; therefore when you have once put them up, keep them up till they are fit to kill: but if you would have them very fat, put them in a Coop for a Week or ten Days before you kill them, and feed them with Barley–Meal and Water, made almost as thick as Paste; and always let there be several of them together, for a single one will pine, and lose Flesh, instead of increasing it by Eating. As to the dressing of this Fowl while it is young, in the Spring, under the Character of a Green–Goose, it is fatted in a Coop with Barley–Meal and Water, and being kill’d and scalded when ’tis fat, ’tis roasted and eaten with green Sauce, or scalded Goosberries: but being full grown as at this time of the Year, is roasted, being first salted and pepper’d within side, and salted without side. Some put an Onion, and some Sage–Leaves into the Body of the Goose, when it is laid down to the Fire, and when it is brought to Table, it is serv’d with Apples stew’d and mash’d in a Plate by the Side; but for the Sauce in the Dish, there need be none but some Claret heated, and pour’d thro’ the Body of the Goose, to mix with its own Gravey. Some also salt Geese, and boil them with Greens, as with other salt Meat; a Goose may also be bak’d in a Pye to be eaten cold. A Goose is to be kill’d, by pulling first the Feathers at the back of the Head, and cutting pretty deep with a sharp Penknife, between the back of the Head and the Neck, taking care that it does not struggle, so as to make the Feathers bloody, for that will spoil them: and ’tis to be noted, the Feathers of a full grown Goose are worth four Pence to be sold in the Country; this I had from a Gentlewoman in Surrey. In Holland they slit Geese down the Back, and salt them with Salt–Petre, and other Salt, and then dry them like Bacon; they eat very well, if they are boiled tender.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:50