hist-brewing: Retro-documentation (was Grape and Peach Wine

Beth Ann Snead ladypeyton at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 2 15:37:10 PST 1999


You'll have to grant me some time to reply in full to this post as I'm
pushing the deadline for writing the  handout for a class I'm teaching
Saturday.  Since I'll be running through the sources this week anyway
I'll put them up here as I run across them.  The first is post period
but does fit the request for sources that proscribe fermentation as
preservation:

Bonnefons, Nicholas de.  _The French Gardener: instructing how to
cultivate all sorts of fruit trees, and herbs for the garden: 
together with directions to dry and conserve them in their natural_ 
translated by John Evelyn from the French.  London:  1658. 294p.





---Nick Sasso <Njs at mccalla.com> wrote:
>
> Lady Peyton;
> 
> Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply and information.  I would
> truly be interested in references to using fermentation of juices as a
> means of preservation.  Please post any so I may add to my files.  I
> am sorely lacking in that sort of information and sourcework. 
> 
> My sources imply that fermentables were used as such instead of
> preservation.  Things like barley had to be balanced between
> fermentation and use as a food source because fermentation took away
> the food value of the starches and, to a much smaller extent,
> proteins.  The nutritional content of foods may not have been common
> knowledge, but people knew that eating exclusively gruel of grain
> would sustain you while the same of beer would eventually kill you.
> 
> Dried fruits were dried in order to provide nutrition of those items
> over extended time frames (LeMenagier references dried fruits and
> meats to extend life).  Fermentation has not been mentioned in the
> same vain in what I have read of the food sources in western Europe. 
> That is why such a reference would be invaluable to my study.
> 
> I have Toussant-Samat's book and use it a basis for much of my inquiry
> into period foodstuff's.   It is a wonderful starting point to find
> out if a food item of some sort was liklely available.  The one
> weakness that I find with that source is that it does not delineate
> species of agricultural products.  There are very important
> differences in some of what we know as fruits and what would have been
> available to Middle Ages Europe: strawberries, melons, barley, grapes
> varietals, apple varietals, broccoli, tomatoes, and peaches are all
> examples of names for food that are the same, but are not the same
> food product we get at our farmers' markets.  
> 
> Keep up your enthisiastic work, and keep pushing me!  Thanks again.
> 
> pace e bene,
> 
> niccolo difrancesco
> 
> Not to imply that I would have ever actually tried using my suggestion
> in a competition, but, fermentation WAS a preservation technique. 
> Ancients found that fermented grape juice made the juice last longer
> before it spoiled and they experimented and encouraged it to do so
> under controlled conditions so they could repeat the process at will. 
> Was that the preservation technique Pliny was referring to?  Probably
> not.  However, apples were preserved by drying *and* by cidering. 
> They weren't salted.  Same with grapes; preserved by either drying
> them *or* making them into wine.  Pears; same way.  Even though a
> specific recipe can't be sourced, we know that back as far as the
> Romans they were preserved in either dried form or as pear wine or
> perry.  
> 
> -The origins of the peach start in China in the third millenium B.C.
> -It then crossed Persia reaching Rome in the time of Augustus.  They
> called it the Persian apple 
> -Pliny mentioned several varieties and complained they gave more juice
> than flavor and that although it was very watery, it induced thirst.
> (reasons that it may NOT have been made into wine?)  A fresco from
> Herculaneum, now in the museum of Naples, shows peaches.  One has a
> bite taken out of it and it rests by a glass carafe half full of
> water.
> -The peach was also cultivated in Germany during the same time period.
> -Charlemagne brought the peach tree to France.
> 
> (sources Toussaint-Samat's _History of Food_ and Root's _Food_)
> 
> Beth Ann
> SCA:  Lady Peyton
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>
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