[Sca-cooks] Lemons? Limes? Confusion?

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 8 21:23:05 PDT 2008

I appreciate all the comments, so far. But before we get wrapped up 
in Shakespeare, i'm still hoping someone can find an actual 
food-related mention of limes within SCA-period.

Limes, the fruit, are mentioned in five recipes in the Manuel de Mugeres:

For the thorns of the face
Take a sweet lime and cut the top off, and put a little salt inside 
it and put it to cook over the embers. And it cooks until it is soft. 
And to remove the thorns, you will wet yourself with this juice. And 
put powdered ginger on top.

Remedy to prevent hair growth
The juice of sweet limes beaten with egg whites. Comb the hair, put 
(the mixture) on (the hair), and powder it with powdered ginger. At 
three or four times that this is done it will not return to grow any 

Recipe to make bile for the face
Take four cow galls, and an escudilla of the juice of sweet limes, 
and another escudilla of water of dirty fleece; and four maraveds of 
myrrh, and four (maraveds) of tincal, one of rock solimn; the 
well-washed and crushed root of a white lily, another root of an arum 
lily, a little raw honey. Boil all this in a glass pot until it is 
thick. And take heed that the myrrh, and the tincal, and the solimn 
and the honey will finish after having boiled with the other things. 
And after it has thickened, strain it with a linen cloth. And put it 
in a flask, putting in it four maraveds of camphor.

Tallow for the hands
Two layers of kidney-fat of a goat and one of a sheep, cut into 
pieces. Soak it in water for nine days, stirring the water every day. 
After washing it very well, and the water has been well-purified, 
melt it in a glass pot and throw in a little sweet lime juice. And 
afterwards strain it, and make the loaves in your escudillas on sweet 
lime juice. And after it solidifies, make the loaves into pieces, and 
again melt them in a vessel of silver or glass. And put with it 
scented oil, whichever you like and the quantity you desire, and then 
make your little loaves.

Water to wash the face
Put in a new stew-pot an azumbre of white wine, and another (azumbre) 
of water; and put with it borax, clarimente, camphor, verdigris, rock 
solimn, strong southernwood resin, black chick-peas, sea beans, a 
small mound of white lead, green dragon, opium poppies, gourd seeds, 
bitter almonds: a maraved of each of these things. And grind each of 
these things by itself. And put also a little washed turpentine, and 
six cleaned and quartered sweet limes. And lid the pot very well, and 
put it to the fire. And cook it until it has diminished by three 
fingers' breadth. And then put the lid on it and cover it with cloth 
and leave it to be a good while so that it rests. And then add into 
it four crumbled eggs with the shells and all. And beat it well with 
a stick, and again put the cloth back on and leave it two or three 
days. And when the three days have passed, strain that water and keep 
it in a flask to wash your face with it.

(there are several items she didn't translate from the 16th C. 
Spanish: rock solimn, clarimente, tincal... anyone have any idea what 
these are in modern English?)

I know the names for lemon and lime are very similar both in Arabic 
and in most European languages, as others have remarked. And thanks 
for that OED information, Huette, although it only speaks to English 
and not when the fruits were differentiated in other places.

So given the linguistic confusion between lemons and limes, if limes 
were really being grown in Europe, then i wonder if they may have 
been used interchangeably with lemons in cuisine. Does this sound 

Or were they only used medicinally?

Interestingly (well, to me anyway), that article that Bridgit pointed 
out indicates that not only were bitter oranges (naranias), lemons 
(limones), limes (limas), and citrons (toronias) grown in al-Andalus 
and hence SCA-period Spain, but pummelos, too! as "azamboos", from 
the Arabic zanbu. Not sure how they were being used, though...

Next question: Has anyone substituted limes in SCA-period recipes 
calling for lemons? If so, what has been successful?

I love limeade... maybe next time i make sharbat bi-laimun, i'll use 
limes instead of lemons. BTW the Berkeley Bowl has a citrus that 
looks like a lemon but isn't sour - IIRC, they're called Palestine 
limes... or lemons... i'm now confused :-)
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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