Thieves’ Vinegar

July 22nd, 2017

Take a large handful of lavender blossoms, and the same quantity of sage, mint, rue, wormwood and rosemary. Chop and mix them well. Put them into a jar, with half an ounce of camphor that has been dissolved in a little alcohol, and pour in three quarts of strong clear vinegar. Keep the jar for two or three weeks in the hot sun, and at night plunge it into a box of heated sand. Afterwards strain and bottle the liquid, putting into each bottle a clove of garlic sliced. To have it very clear, after it has been bottled for a week, you should pour it off carefully from the sediment, and filter it through blotting paper. Then wash the bottles, and return the vinegar to them. It should be kept very tightly corked. It is used for sprinkling about in sick-rooms; and also in close damp oppressive weather. Inhaling the odour from a small bottle will frequently prevent faintness in a crowd.

It is best to make it in June.

This vinegar is so called from an old tradition, that during the prevalence of the plague in London the composition was invented by four thieves, who found it a preservative from contagion; and were by that means enabled to remain in the city and exercise their profession to great advantage, after most of the inhabitants had fled.

Source: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches, Eliza Leslie

Mint, Balm and Other Teas

November 24th, 2016

Put either the fresh or the dried plants into boiling water in a covered vessel, which should be placed near the fire for an hour. The young shoots both of balm and of mint are to be preferred, on account of their strong aromatic qualities. These infusions may be drunk freely in feverish and in various other complaints, in which diluents are recommended. Mint tea, made with the fresh leaves, is useful in allaying nausea and vomiting.

Source: Valuable Receipts, J.M. Prescott

An excellent Water for the Stomach, or against Infection

April 16th, 2016

Take Carduus, Mint and Wormwood, of each a like quantity, shred them small and put them into new Milk, distil them in an ordinary Still with a temperate fire; when you take any of it, sweeten it with Sugar, or with any Syrrup, what pleases you best; it is a very good water, though the Ingredients are but mean.

Source: The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet, Hannah Wolley

To Make Spirit of Mints

June 13th, 2015

Take three Pints of the best white Wine, three handfuls of right Spear mint picked clean from the stalks, let it steep in the wine one night covered, in the morning, put it into a Copper Alembeck, and draw it with a pretty quick fire; and when you have drawn it all, take all your Water and add as much Wine as before, and put to the Water, and the same quantity of Mint as before; let it steep two or three hours, then put all into your Still, and draw it with a soft fire, put into your Receiver a quantity of Loaf Sugar, and you will find it very excellent; you may distil it in an ordinary Still if you please; but then it will not be so strong nor effectual.

Thus you may do with any other Herbs whatsoever.

Source: The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet, Hannah Wolley