Taste Test Thursday: Preserving Figs


This was a very simple receipt, and it smelled nice too. I don’t like figs, but the honey added a nice flavor to the figs. If we had decided to actual preserve the figs for more than a day, they would need to be sealed. In the 18ty century they would use a layer of fat or oil on the top. A tight lid would also work to help preserve the figs. If the figs floated to the top, crock weights would be used to push them down. 


The figs would stay preserved for months. When they were to be used, the figs would need to set up in warm water for two hours to bring the flavor back. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Figs
  • Fig Leaves
  • Water
  • Honey

Directions:

  1. Pierce figs a few times with a fork.
  2. Place figs in crock, close but not touching. When the bottom of the crock is covered, cover with a layer of fig leaves, and then do a second layer of figs. 
  3. Combine ½ bottle of honey with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. When warm, but not hot, pour over the figs. Add more warm water if needed.

Taste Test Thursday: Coffee

In the 18th century, coffee Was a delicacy. There were coffee houses as well as tea houses during this time. Even though coffee is a drink that everyone loves today, back in the 18th century it was a man’s drink. Sorry ladies, no coffee for us! In this recipe, the beans go from green to dark roast. It was a strong drink too; I can attest to that! 

It took a while to roast the beans. Leslie, who was the cook that day, had to continually stir and shift the beans. Once they were done, it was time to grind them. 


Grinding the beans took a while too! Leslie and I took turns grinding them in a mortar and pestle. This took a good amount of upper body and arm strength, and we definitely got our work out for the day. We then added the ground beans to water and steeped them until it was the strength we wanted. 


It was terribly strong. The other part of the recipe was to make pastils which were a sort of candy. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ c. confectioner’s sugar
  • Approx. ¾ c. of coffee (both measurements are more than what is needed, you need enough liquid to make a strong paste and then stop)

Directions: 

  1. Mix sugar and liquid together, stir to make a thick paste that can be taken on a knife (like icing)
  2. On a pan, lay a piece of parchment paper and lay out flat circles (or as close as you can get) about an inch in diameter (about the size of a farthing, they were slightly under an inch).
  3. Lay near a low fire for a few minutes. Then remove so they will stiffen. (If making this in your kitchen at home, dry them in a low degree oven for just a couple minutes. You want them to dry not bake.)

 

Plague Remedy

       Yellow Fever created a huge problem for those living in the 18th Century. Although this is called a remedy, it may or may not have done its intended purpose. Once the “remedy” was completed, one could use the mixture as a mouthwash, rub it on their temples, or sniff it up their noses. They did not injest the mixture because wormwood should not be digested. They would also put a bit of the mixture on a cloth or sponge and sniff it when in the presence of those with the plague. 

Ingredients:

  • A bit of each herb (rue, sage, mint, rosemary, wormwood, lavender) The rue needs to be picked last because of the sap that can cause blistering in the sun. Always wash your hands after handling rue. 

Directions:

  •  Pour vinegar into a stone pot. 
  •  Chop the herbs and put them in the vinegar.
  • Put the pot into warm wood ashes for four days. 
  • After four days, strain the mixture. 
  • Add a little camphor and put in bottles.