Thursday, April 12, 2018

La Maison Rustique - The Potherbs - Parsnips, Carrots, Skirrets

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).

The Potherbs

(Chapter 35)

Parsnips, Carrots, Skirrets

[Translator's Note: the heading specifies four different plants:  Panis, Pastenades, Carrotes, and Chervis. Cotgrave’s 1611 French-English dictionary gives the following definitions.

Panaiz: A certain root thats lesse, and ranker, then the ordinarie Parsenip, otherwise resembling it, and oft mistaken for it / Panaiz de Macedoine: the Macedonian Parsenip, whose juice is much esteemed of by heardsmen / Panaiz sauvage: Hercules Wound-wort, or All-heale, also the wild Carrot, Some also tearme so Cow Parsenip, meadow Parsenip, Madnep.

Pastenade: The Garden carrot, or a root like a Carrot (most commonly) of a bloud-red colour, and sometimes of a yellow, but that by Art, some Authers also call the Parsnip thus / Pastenade jaulne: the yellow garden Carrot / Pastenade rouge: the red, or blacke Carrot / Pastenade sauvage: The wild Carrot, called Birds-neast.

Carote: The Carrot (root, or hearbe) / Carote sauvage: Daucus, wild Carrot, birds neast.

Chervis: The root Skirret, or Skirwicke / Chervis grand: A Parsnip / Chervis sauvage: The wild Parsnip, or wild Skirret.

So effectively, this section is titled, “Parsnips (maybe wild carrots), Carrots (maybe parsnips), Carrots, and Skirrets (maybe parsnips).”]

Wild carrots, parsnips, carrots, and skirrets, are all planted in the same fashion in soil that is well turned, cleared of stones, weeded, cleared of all other pests and roots, fertilized, and strongly worked ahead of time, but they are not sown thick so they will grow large and thick. If they are sown they must be watered, and of the weather is dry, once a week as long as they are growing well. They are planted in Autumn, and at the renewal. Autumn is always the best to have at the time of Lent. If you want the roots to be beautiful, large, and thick, you must often cut away the leaves, and must pick them half a year after they are sown. In cutting away the leaves, keep them in sand, mainly in winter, because the frost will spoil them.

Carrots can be kept for a whole year or two in the ground, so much so that they are found by torrents of rain, old and new, which are good winter and in Lent, either fried or otherwise.

All have the virtue of encouraging urination, of calming the pain of colic, and of provoking menstruation in women. The pounded leaves used as a plaster, when put on the legs is very beneficial.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

La Maison Rustique - The Potherbs - Rocket and Tarragon

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).

The Potherbs

(Chapter 27)


Rocket and Tarragon

Rocket, an herb common in salads, is good to temper the coldness of lettuce. It can be sown and planted as much in winter as in summer, because it does not fear the cold, nor does it beg for airing or require much work. It likes to be frequently weeded and fertilized in sandy soil. Rocket should not be eaten alone because of the excessive heat it brings to those who use it so it should be given a companion such as lettuce when eaten in a salad, because one will temper the other. It is good nevertheless for urinating, applied in the form of a poultice to the penis. It is said that three leaves of rocket picked with the left hand, pounded with mead, and taken in drink are excellent for jaundice and hardening of the spleen. Rocket cooked and mixed with sugar cures the coughs of little children. Tarragon, which gardeners call “estrangon,” is made of flaxseed or in many places from the head of red onion, which is the strongest one can find, and planted in well fertilized earth, and after it has sprouted the height of a foot or so, it is necessary to take the end and replant it in the same soil, and water it often. Tarragon has the same virtues as rocket, and should not be eaten alone, but with similar lettuce and herbs.