Monday, August 8, 2011

Flowers - To candy, to make paste, a conserve

While looking through Queen's Delight. London: 1683 in the LofC rare books room, I came across these interesting receipts using flower petals - a paste, conserve of Piony, and candied Rosemary flowers...

To make paste of flowers of the colour of Marble, tasting of natural flowers.
Take every sort of pleasing flowers, as Violets, Cowslips, Gilly-flowers, Roses or Marigolds, and beat them in a Mortar, each flower by it self with Sugar, till the Sugar become the colour of the flower, then put a little Gum-Dragon steept in water into it, and beat it into a perfect paste, and when you have half a dozen colours, every flower will take of his nature; then rowl the Paste therein, and lay one piece upon another, in mingling sorts, so rowl your Paste in small rolls, as big and as long as your finger, then cut it off the bigness of small Nut, overthwart, and so rowl them thin, that you may see a Knife through them, so dry them before the fire till they be dry.

Conserve of Piony after the Italian way.
In the Spring take of the Flowers fresh half a pound, Sugar one pound, beat them together in a good stone Mortar, then put them in a glass, and set them in the sun for three months, stirring them daily with a wooden Spatula.
The Virtues. It is good against the Falling-sickness, and giddiness in the head, it clantheth the Reins and Bladder.

To Candy Rosemary flowers in the Sun.
Take Gum dragon, and steep it in Rose-water, then take the Rosemary flowers. Then beat a dozen spoonfuls of fair water, and the white of an Egg in a bason with a Birchen rod till it come to froth, when your Sugar is all melted and boyled, put the froth of the Egg in the hot Syrup, and as it riseth, drop in a little cold water, so let it boyl a little while, then scum it, then boyl it to a Candy height, that is, whey you may draw it in small threads between your finger and your thumb; then pour fourth all your Syrup that will run from it in you pan, then set it a drying one hour or two, which done, puck up the wires, and take off the flowers, and lay them on Papers, and so dry them.  Queen's Delight. London: 1683

Another version, 1671: Take Gum-Dragon, and steep it in Rose-water, then take the Rosemary flowers, good coloured, and well pickt, and wet them in the water that your Gum dragon is steeped in, then take them out, and lay them upon a paper, and strew fine Sugar over them; this do in the hot sun, turning them, and strewing Sugar on them, till they are candied, and so keep them for your use.
A QUEENS Delight; OR, The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying. London: 1671

Image- Peony in The Ladies' Flower-garden of Ornamental Perennials by Mrs. Loudon. London: 1843.

©2011 Patricia Bixler Reber

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