[Sca-cooks] Ash keys

Galefridus Peregrinus galefridus at optimum.net
Sat Aug 25 14:18:25 PDT 2012

I have also made atraf al-tib using ash keys. I have been able to harvest them in plentiful quantities in late May in my part of North America (northern NJ). I have not observed that they stay on the tree through the year, though. I'll leave myself a note to collect some seeds for you next May, if you like.

-- Galefridus.

Message: 3
> Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2012 12:22:59 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
> From: lilinah at earthlink.net
> To: SCA-Cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Subject: [Sca-cooks] Wanted: Ash Tree Keys/Seeds
> Message-ID:
>    <2381761.1345911779482.JavaMail.root at elwamui-huard.atl.sa.earthlink.net>
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> Atraf al-Tib has come up on this list before. I've brought it up myself.
> The twelve ingredients of Atraf al-Tib are:
> 1. Betel leaf, Piper betle (tanbul)
> -- Recent research, especially in Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's book, as well as previous personal experience chewing betel, leads me to feel certain it is the LEAF that is called for and not the nut, which comes from a different plant, the areca palm (Areca catechu).
> 2. Green Cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum (hal)
> -- this is the kind commonly available, although sometimes the pods are bleached white.
> 3. Cloves, Syzygium aromaticum (kibash qaranful)
> 4. Ginger, Zingiber officinale (zanjabil)
> 5. Long Pepper, Piper longum (dar fulful)
> 6. Black Pepper, Piper nigrum (fulful)
> 7. Nutmeg, Myristica fragrans (jauz al-tib)
> 8. Mace, Myristica fragrans (bisbasa)
> 9. Bay Laurel Leaves, Laurus nobilis (warq rand)
> 10. Rose Buds, Rosa damascena (zir ward)
> 11. Spikenard, Nardostachys jatamansi (sunbul)
> -- this was mistranslated as lavender, either by Maxime Rodinson or his translator - since lavender was not used in either eastern Arabic cuisine or medicine - but knowing the Arabic, it is clearly spikenard.
> And finally the mystery ingredient for which i am searching:
> 12. lisan al-'asafir
> Lisan al-'asafir means bird's tongue. For some reason, Rodinson or his translator got beechnuts, which are undoubtedly NOT at all what is called for, for a number of reasons. Nawal Nasrullah said it was elm seeds / keys. Charles Perry said it was common ash, but did not specify whether bark, leaf, or seed.
> In my attempt to recreate Atraf al-Tib, i am searching for Ash Tree Keys. These are the seeds of the tree encased in a wing-like leafy fibrous coating. Unlike Maple Keys, which have two wings and spiral beautifully, Ash Keys have a more tongue-like shape, in keeping with the Arabic name of that mystery ingredient.
> Photo of keys of one type of ash:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fraxinus_excelsior_4560.jpg
> I've read that they can even stay on the tree until spring. I also posted here some time ago a message i received which said they have something of a bitter-almond taste and were used in European cooking at some point.
> Unfortunately i have no ash trees near me, so i am hoping that someone on this list has healthy ash trees in their vicinity and can send me a healthy hefty packet of them. I will gladly reimburse mailing and other costs.
> If someone has healthy elm tree keys available, i'd be open to trying them, too, although they are far less bird tongue-shaped. Here's a photo of the keys from one type of elm:
> http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_U2ZIsRHrvEM/SeuB0JqwstI/AAAAAAAAAMo/tFLVCt6HPdE/s1600/Red+elm+seed+close+up.JPG
> I realize that there are currently insects attacking both ash and elm trees, so perhaps a brief drying in an oven on a very low temperature would be a good thing before putting them in the mail.
> Write to me off-list for my mailing address.
> Thanks in advance,
> Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
> West Kingdom
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