As fresh produce burst forth from small-holdings and gardens during the summer months, Regency cooks had to cope with a constant stream of fruit and vegetables coming into the kitchen for preservation.
As we saw yesterday, one of the principal ways of treating vegetables was to bottle them in a pre-prepared pickle of vinegar and spices. Today we look at how the unknown ladies of our Cookbook would have prepared cucumbers and french beans, red cabbage and beetroot…
Gherkins, French Beans &c
Put them into unglazed stone pans. Cover them with a brine of salt & water, a quarter of a pound of salt to a quart of water. Cover them down. Set them on the hearth before the fire for two or three days till they grow yellow. Then put away the water, cover them with hot vinegar, set them again before the fire. Keep them hot till they become green. Then pour off the vinegar and cover them with pickle*, no shallots.
*As described in yesterday’s pickle post
Boil gently till they are full three parts done – from 2 hours to 2 & ½. Then take them out and, when a little cooled, peel them and cut them in slices about half an inch thick. Have ready a pickle for it, to each quart of vinegar an ounce of black pepper, half an ounce of ginger pounded, same of salt and of horseradish cut in thin slices, a few capsicums if you like. Put these (stopped close) in a jar by the fire for three days. When cold, pour the clear liquor on the beet root, which have ready in a jar.
Get a firm purple cabbage. Trim it, quarter it, take out the stalk. Shred the leaves in a cullender. Sprinkle them with salt. Let them lie till the morrow. Drain them dry. Put them into a jar and cover with same pickle as beet roots.