[Sca-cooks] Foods available in early Anglo Saxon England

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Mon Mar 24 15:08:56 PDT 2008

> Ok, the things were were looking at specifically were:
> Berries, like blackberries, blueberries, cherries, etc
> Beets (I suspect the Romans would have brought them)
> Cabbage (red cabbage apparently can do a nifty pale blue dye)
> Sandalwood
> Grape juice? I'm thinking red grape here, like welches
> The problem is, I'm not a fiber artist at all (heck, I *barely* embroider
> and bead, much less spin and dye my own stuff). I don't have any of the
> books in front of me, unfortunately, but I remember talking about these 
> few
> above.
> Many thanks,
> Ilsebet

I don't know what information you have about it, but red cabbage turns blue 
in cooking and reverts to red when you add the vinegar.  This suggests to me 
that if you use it as a blue dye, you would need to use a base mordant.

Olive green dye apparently can be produced from onion skins in an iron pot. 

The fruit of elders (genus Sambucus) is used to produce a blue black dye or 

If you can find a transcript of Bald's Leechbook, you might find some more 
contemporary (about 900 CE) information.  And if you have access to a good 
university library, you might try, Taylor, G.W., "Ancient Textile Dyes;" 
Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 26 No. 12 (Dec., 1990), pp. 1155-1158.

Bonne chance,


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