To keepe Cherries all the yeare

These fragments come from a little book printed in 1610 which offers advice on the best ways to make jams and marmalades and other treats fit for a Lady’s table.

‘To make Marmelate very comfortable and restorative for any Lord or Lady whatsoever:

Take a pound and a halfe of suger, boyle it with a pint of faire water, then take three or four small Quinces, one good Orange, both very well preserved and finely beaten, & three ounces of almonds blanched, and beaten by themselves.  Eringus roots preserved, 2 ounces and a halfe, stir these with the suger till it will not sticke, and then at the last put in Musk & Amber dissolved in rose water, of each four graines of Cinamon, Ginger, Cloves & Mace, of each three drams; of oyle of Cinamon two drops.  This being done, put it into your Marmelate boxes and so present it to whom you please.

To keep Cherries all the yeare to have them at Christmas:

Take of your fairest cherries you can get, but be sure that they be not bruised, and take them and rubb them with a linnen cloth, and put them into a barrell of hay, and lay them in ranks, first laying the hay in the bottom, and then the Cherries, and then hay againe, and then stop them up close so no ayre may come neare them, and lay them under a fether-bed where one lies continually, for the warmer they are the better, yet neere no fire, and thus doing, you may have cherries at any time of the yeare.


To make Syrup of Violets:

Take your Violets and picke the flowers, and weigh them, and  put them into a quart of water, and steepe them upon hot embers, untill such time as the flowers be turned white, and the water as blew as any violet, then take to that infusion four pound of clarified suger, and boyle it till it come to a syrupe, scumming them and boyling them uppon a gentle fire, and being boyled put the Syrup up and keepe it.

To make a fine Chrystall Gelly:

Take a knuckle of veale and four calves feet, and set them on the fire with a gallon of faire water, and when the flesh is boyled tender, take it out then let the liquor stand till it be cold, then take away the top and bottom of that liquor, and put the rest into a cleane Pipkin, and put into it one pound of clarified sugar, foure or five drops of oile of cynamon and Nutmeg, a graine of muske, and so let it boile a quarter of an hour leasurely on the fire.  Then let it run through a gelly bagge into a bason with the whites of two egges beaten, and when it is cold, you may cut it into lumpes with a spoone, and so serve three or foure lumpes upon a plate.

To make conserve of red and damask Roses:

Take of the purest and best coloured buds you can get, and clip off the whites from them, and to every pound of leaves you must take three pounds of Barbarie suger and beat them together, till they be very fine.  And then with a wooden spatter take it up, and set it on the fire till it bee hot, and then presently put it up, and it will be an excellent colour.

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  • May 24, 2010 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Hi April. No that particular book has no images, but there are some illustrations in ‘A Book of fruits and flowers shewing the nature and use of them,Printed by M.S. for Tho. Jenner …, 1656’, author anonymous. I can’t say off hand whether it contains peaches or apricots. You can find it via EEBO. I’m pleased you’re enjoying the blog, thanks for reading!

  • May 23, 2010 - 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Does this book have any images of peaches or apricots? I have been trawling EEBO and haven’t come up with anything! I found your blog through google, and am thoroughly enjoying it! I’m a PhD student in early modern literature too.

  • May 18, 2010 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    The earliest cook book I can find is dated 1500 and entitled This is the boke of cokery by Richard Pynson. The copy is at Longleat and is owned by the Marquess of Bath. Unfortunately it’s in smudged Blackletter, but I will try and post some recipes from it this week.

  • May 18, 2010 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    The author is anonymous but the book is entitled A Closet for Ladies and Gentlewomen Or The Art of Preserving, Conserving, and Candying. Some of the earliest cook books I’ve discovered date from the 1580s, but there were obviously others around from much earlier. Thank you for the link, I’ll hop on over to your blog and have a look at Robert May.

  • May 18, 2010 - 12:42 am | Permalink

    How super that you found a 1610 book – do you know the author or book title? I found a slightly more modern food book written by Robert May in 1665 and I wrote it up in

    I will create a link to your post now. Many thanks.

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