This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
From green fruits, particularly the wild Crab, and unripe grapes, can be expressed an acid liquor, verjuice, or verjuyce, which is highly astringent, being used as such for both culinary, and medicinal purposes. "Many," says old Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy, "leave roses, and gather thistles; loathe honey, and have verjuice." In Izaak Walton's Angler (1653) the milkwoman promises Piscator "when he next comes a fishing two months hence, a syllabub of new verjuice in a new-made haycock." "This book" (National Observer, 1893), "is as full of delights as a meadow of cowslips. Good, kind old soul was Walton, but could you have trusted him with a baby, for instance, if some one had told him that a bit of baby was a capital bait for barbel?"
Dr. Nowel, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral for thirty years, tells that Izaak ("laughter") Walton reached the great age of ninety-five, angling and temperance being the chief causes of his length of life.
"The first men that our Saviour dear Did choose to wait upon Him here Blest fishers were; and fish the last Pood was that He on earth did taste; So let us strive to follow those Whom He to follow Him hath chose!"
Piscator, To make Crab-apple jelly: "Prepare the apples by removing the stalks, and the unsound parts, and wipe dry; cut into halves, and put them in a preserving pan, with sufficient water to cover the bottom. When the fruit is quite soft, pour off the water, and to every pint allow a pound of preserving sugar; put this into a preserving pan with some slices of lemon-peel, and let boil slowly for half-an-hour or so, removing the scum as it rises. Have ready dissolved in a little water one ounce of gelatine to every quart of liquor, and just before removing it from the fire stir the gelatine in rapidly. Fill mould, or glasses, with the jelly, and place them in a coid position to set." Again: "Procure some finely-coloured Siberian Crab-apples; allow half a pint of cold water to each pound of fruit; put them on to cook until they become pulpy; then strain through a jelly-bag; and when all the juice is extracted, measure it, and allow one pound of the best loaf sugar to each pint of the juice; also the rind and juice of one lemon to four quarts of juice; stir until the sugar is dissolved; and when beginning to boil, time it, as it will take from twenty to twenty-five minutes; pour into jars, and store when cold".
Among old-fashioned flowering plants, the Rose Geranium has always occupied a prominent place in popular favour. Our grandmothers, and perhaps some of their grandmothers before them, have been known to strew the fragrant leaves of this aromatic plant among their household linen, and their persona lingerie; but few persons know the culinary value of the same homely plant. The next time you are making Crab-apple jelly try the following recipe with a few glasses: "Have the Geranium leaves washed so as to free them from any possible insects, or parasites, and dry them gently; then just before pouring the hot jelly into the glasses, throw a small young Geranium leaf, slightly crushed, into the bottom of each glass; it may be allowed to remain until the jelly is used, and will not spoil this in any way. The result is a specially scented, and cordial flavour, which improves the jelly (whether of Crab-apple, or of Cranberry) amazingly." "Sometimes also when baking a cake it will serve a similar grateful purpose to line an earthen plate with fresh Geranium leaves, and turn the hot cake out upon them, leaving it there until quite cold.
The steam absorbs volatile fragrance from the leaves, giving the cake a most dainty flavour which suggests nothing so nearly as the odour of a ' La France ' rose." Moreover, as an anti-cancerous remedy the Geranium has recently acquired some considerable reputation, and an Essence is made from the whole plant for curative purposes of such a nature.
Verjuice abounds with tannin, and is a capital external application for old sprains, as well as for drying up warts, and causing them to wither away.