Tasting Through Time

Historic apple, plum and pear recipes

Filed under History & Archaeology

Karen McCusker, CAVLP Project Officer, January 2017

Over the course of summer 2016, CAVLP Heritage ran a series of Tasting Through Time cookery courses that explored the history of cooking fruit in the Clyde and Avon Valley. The recipes explored now form the Tasting Through Time: Clyde and Avon Valley Cookbook which takes readers on a journey from Roman to Medieval, Early Modern, 18th and 19th Centuries, Rationing and Contemporary cooking. Download the cookbook by clicking the link on the right or read it online by clicking the widget below.

The cookery courses tracked the heritage of fruit growing in the Clyde Valley, from the introduction of the sweet apple to Britain by the Romans to the recipes of the 18th and 19th centuries. The relationship between people, orchards and fruit production means that fruit has always been an important part of local diets throughout time.

  • A Delicate Chewit

    A Delicate Chewit

    Minced meat and fruit pies have been popular since at least the Medieval period. The fruit was used to fill out a pastry in times when meat was a luxury.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Drink

    Apple Cider Vinegar Drink

    This apple cider vinegar based drink is wonderfully tart, and the honey and rosemary flavours add a delicate note to what is otherwise a pretty bold flavour.
  • Medieval style Fish and Apple Pie

    Medieval style Fish and Apple Pie

    Fish was commonly eaten in the Medieval period, and salmon would have been fished straight from the Clyde and Avon Rivers in the autumn. Even commoners could catch certain fish for personal use if they lived near enough to a water source in this period and could afford to buy small amounts of commercially caught seafood, making fish a protein source eaten by all classes.
  • 16th century Craignethan Castle

    16th century Craignethan Castle

    There are indications of orchards nearby the castle on William Roy’s Military Maps of Scotland, 1745, and later depictions of the castle include some fruit trees. Image courtesy of Kieran Harris.
  • The Medieval ruins of St. Kentigern’s Church  in Lanark

    The Medieval ruins of St. Kentigern’s Church in Lanark

    Dishes based on eggs would only have been eaten on flesh or feast days by clergy, but undoubtedly they would have been a welcome addition to the table!
  • Best's 17th century Green Plum Preserve

    Best's 17th century Green Plum Preserve

    A scan of a Green Plum Preserve recipe from Dorothy Best's Cookbook (fl. 1688). Note the difference in how recipes were expressed in the 17th century as opposed to today - they did not include ingredient lists, measurements or cooking times that we rely on today for consistently tasty results.
  • 18th century style Braised Sausages

    18th century style Braised Sausages

    These are stewed in a fruity spiced mixture of apple, onion and cider. The 18th century recipe lends itself well to low and slow cooking, and is a wonderfully hearty option for a winter meal.
  • Early Modern period Venison Pottage

    Early Modern period Venison Pottage

    Meat was still a luxury mainly enjoyed by wealthy families in the Early Modern period during the 16th and 17th centuries, and dishes containing meat tended to be filled out with fruit and vegetables. Pottages were still widely eaten among by commoners, although the term began to expand to include stewed meat dishes like this delicious sweet and savoury Venison pottage.
  • Robert Owen, social and educational reformer and one time owner of New Lanark Mills, was a fan of apple dumplings.

    Robert Owen, social and educational reformer and one time owner of New Lanark Mills, was a fan of apple dumplings.

    In his autobiography he wrote, "The old housekeeper came always after breakfast to know what I would have for dinner, my reply was 'an apple dumpling,' – which she made in great perfection, – 'and anything else you like;' and this practice remained uniform as long as I remained unmarried." Image: John Winning, New Lanark Mills, 1818, watercolour. Courtesy of New Lanark Trust
  • A Delicate Chewit
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
  • Medieval style Fish and Apple Pie
  • 16th century Craignethan Castle
  • The Medieval ruins of St. Kentigern’s Church  in Lanark
  • Best's 17th century Green Plum Preserve
  • 18th century style Braised Sausages
  • Early Modern period Venison Pottage
  • Robert Owen, social and educational reformer and one time owner of New Lanark Mills, was a fan of apple dumplings.

Volunteers helped to test a wide variety of recipes centred on fruit produced traditionally in the Clyde and Avon Valley: apples and pears. These were lifted from various sources including the 4th to 5th century transcript De Re Coquinara and Dorothy Best’s Recipe Book, 1688.

The volunteers interpreted the recipes and decided on the measurements of ingredients that would produce the tastiest result.  Working in a modern kitchen, the team had to adapt very old recipes to modern cooking techniques by deciding the temperature of the ovens or by substituting difficult to find or unavailable ingredients for more common ones. For example, one of the Roman recipes includes the ingredient Silphium, a plant which is now extinct. The volunteers learned that garlic was an acceptable substitute and used it to great effect in their apple and pork stew, or Minutal Matianum, to use the Roman name. 

The historic recipes were collated with family recipes handed down through generations from members of the local community to create the Tasting through Time Cookbook, which is being released for the first time as a part of this virtual museum piece. Download the cookbook by clicking the link on the right or read it online by clicking the widget below.

 

 

As recipes continue to be submitted, new editions of the book will be released to include more local flavour and culture. If you have a family recipe and stories that goes along with it that you’d like to submit, contact CAVLP Heritage at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01555 661 555.

The cookbook was created as part of the CAVLP Heritage Capturing the Past project which explored the historical lives of people in the Clyde and Avon Valley. The cookbook follows on from Tasting Through Time historic cookery workshops which took place alongside From Sheep to Shawl traditional dye-making and spinning workshops. Find out more using the links below.


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