[Sca-cooks] LIMES --- long

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Fri Jul 11 10:48:24 PDT 2008

Back from my trip. It's a shame I wasn't around last week to answer
the questions here as they first arose.

Ok on limes.

In my book on Oranges from 2004, I wrote:

"Limes are not very hardy as regards cold temperatures, and this factor
alone may have kept them limited in cultivation in Europe. Michel de
or Nostradamus in 1555 did provide recipes for preserving limes in his
confectionery work, so they seem to have been known and used in 16th century
France. The recipe in the English translation is titled “How to preserve
Limes and
bitter oranges while they are small and still green…” It calls for
boiling the fruits in
water and then submerging them in a sugar or honey syrup. Tolkowsky writes
that Moliere’s 17th century Citrons doux or sweet lemons are actually limes.
/Healths Improvement/ which was written by Moffett in the 1590’s and
long after his death in 1655 does mention limes, so they were known in
Elizabethan England." page 39.

I just went back and checked Moffett and the passage on lemons and limes
appears on pages
206 and 207.(image 110 on EEBO) and it is clear that he means limes as
he mentions both with relation
to the citrons that were mentioned previously.

I would note also that
Reuther, Webber, and Batchelor's work. The Citrus
Industry. Revised Edition. Riverside, CA: University of California. Division
of Agricultural Sciences, 1967. Volume I: History, World Distribution,
Botany, and Varieties. http://lib.ucr.edu/agnic/webber/ is online.
Webber notes that in Classical times that "A tile floor mosaic found in
a Roman villa near Tusculum (modern Frascati) indicates that soon
thereafter lemons and limes were also known in Italy."

Later he writes *"The Lime
* Apparently the first mention of the lime in literature was made by
Abd-Allatif in the thirteenth century. Gallesio (1811, p. 33) stated
that his "balm lemon of smooth skin the size of a pigeon's egg" was
apparently identical with the species of lime of Naples. Evidently,
therefore, the lime also was known to the Arabs, who probably played a
major role in spreading its culture through India to Persia, Palestine,
Egypt, and Europe. The first mention of the lime, under that name,
according to T. W. Brown (1924, p. 74), was apparently by Sir Thomas
Herbert (/Travels/, 1677), who spoke of finding "oranges, lemons, and
limes" on the island Mohelia (Mohéli of the Comoro group, off
Mozambique) during a voyage begun in 1626. However, as has been stated
previously, Sylvaticus in the middle of the thirteenth century spoke of
a fruit vulgarly called /lima/ which apparently was what we now know as
the lime (Gallesio, 1811, p. 268). Sir George Watt (1889-1893) stated
that the Arabic word /limoon/ through the Persian is the Hindi word
/lime/ or /limbu/, probably adopted by the Sanskrit people for this
fruit and used with little change in most languages.
According to T. W. Brown (1924), the first reference to the lime in
Egypt was that made by Thevenot, who in his description of the Mataria
garden in 1657 "alludes to '/des petits limons/' and these could hardly
have been anything else but limes." However, Tolkowsky has noted a
reference in one of the stories of the /Arabian Nights/ to "Egyptian
limes and Sultania oranges and citrons." These ancient tales were
collected in their present form about 1450 A.D."

As Bear mentioned, " IIRC, "sweet lemon" shows up in German as a term
for lime. It might be worth looking at the original transcription to see
what was actually written."

I don't find that anyone actually referenced these examples from Das
Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin.
Searching again in medievalcookery.com under lime pulls up these two

120 If you would make a game pie

This is an excerpt from *Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin*
(Germany, 16th century - V. Armstrong, trans.)
The original source can be found at David Friedman's website

120 If you would make a game pie, which should be warm. Lard the game
well and cook it and make a formed [pastry] dish and lay in it preserved
limes and cinnamon sticks and currants and lay the game therein and also
put beef suet into it and a little /Malavosia/ and let it cook. This pie
is better warm than cold.

69 A pastry from a capon
This is an excerpt from *Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin*
(Germany, 16th century - V. Armstrong, trans.)
The original source can be found at David Friedman's website

69 A pastry from a capon. First pluck the capon and let it boil,
afterwards take it out and remove the small breast bones and chop beef
fat small and put the fat in a bowl. Put two quarts of good wine
therein, a good portion of lean broth, pepper, ginger, cloves and a
little ground nutmeg. Two peeled lemons or limes are also good. After
that prepare an oblong shaped pastry crust. The way in which you should
make the pastry is found in number [sixty one]. In the same way you can
prepare chickens, doves and birds of all kinds for pies.

Searching under "lime" as a term in EEBO-TCP turns up 3300 entries
because of the quick-lime and stone lime connections. Or as in ashes and
lime! Searching under "lime" and limiting the search to books that are
catalogued under "cookery" comes up with 8 entries and these are
connected with soaps and concoctions such:

Woolley who in 1670 notes
  "XXXVI. To get away the Signs of the Small Pox.:
Quench some Lime in white Rosewater, then shake it very well, and use it
at your pleasure; when you at any time.."

Digby in his Choice and experimented receipts offers this:
An excellent Lime-water for Obstructions and Ulcers, &c.

TAke one pound of Stone-Lime
hot from the Kiln, and pour upon it a gallon of fair water, let it stand
eight hours, and then pour it off clear, and put into it of English
Licoris, Aniseeeds and Sassafras, of each four ounces, large Mace two
drams; let these infuse in the water twelve hours, then pour it off from
the Ingredients, and keep it for your use.

Drink of this Water twice or thrice a day, half a pint at a time. It is
very excellent for all manner of Obstructions and Ulcers, either inward
or outward, and likewise to be used by way of injection.

We can tell in this case that it's stone lime being used but some of the
other recipes seem to be using stone lime water in place of a citrus
water. This seems to occur in some medicinal texts in the late 17th
century, esp. in the 1680's.

As for a recent book on Citrus fruits see Laszlo's Citrus. A History 
which was
published in 2007.

Hope this helps


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