The medieval recipes below are an excellent source for you to consider when you are trying to add something simple, delicious and very frugal to a menu. Using the peels, juice, and even pith in some cases, you can do this with nothing more than some water, sugar, and occasionally an additional ingredient. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.
15th C Turkish Source: (Sirvani)
[132 verso] Ağaç kavunu Murabbası — Candied Citron Peel
Directions: Cut citron, remove the thin outermost layer of the peel*, and make [the rest of the peel] into slices. Soak the following 7 days and nights in salt water, changing the salt water every two days. Then soak for one day and one night in lime** water. Then leave the peel in fresh water and keep for 7 days, changing the water every day until all salt is removed. Then soak in sugar syrup until it sinks. Leave [in syrup] for ten days, stir. As the syrup [133 recto] decreases, add more back in. [When] the slices have completely absorbed the syrup, remove from the syrup, clarify this syrup, boil [the fruit] in this very syrup. After it reaches consistency [i.e. thickens] keep thirty or forty days in [remaining] syrup which may have rose water in it. Then remove, arrange on trays, cover the top with a clean cloth, let it stand in the sun to dry until it turns into nebât [i.e., crystallizes]. Put in kovanlara [wooden containers], eat at any time. Bitter/ Seville orange and lemon peel can be done like this.
English Translation is Unpublished ;
Şirvanî, Muhammed bin Mahmûd, original author Mustafa Argunşah and Müjgan Çakır, authors & translators 15. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Mutfağı [15th Century Ottoman Cuisine] Istanbul: Gökkubbe, 2005 ISBN-10: 975-6223-84-7 Shirvani’s recipes are on pp. 119-140 in the modern Turkish. The book also includes a transliteration of the original Eski Osmali Türçesi into the modern Turkish alphabet. Translated by Ellen Perlman with assistance by Mary Isin
. Note (Ellen Perlman): Based on other historical and modern recipes, during the “thirty or forty days” of keeping the pieces of peel in syrup, they were removed every day with a strainer spoon, the syrup brought to the boil, and then removed from the heat, and the peel put back in.
* Mary İşın noted: I have checked with later Ottoman recipes, and this part is always removed because it is particularly bitter. Also, as the photos below show, this fruit has a knobby surface, which is cut away. Friedrich Unger says the citrons are first “finely peeled.” My husband’s aunt used to make grapefruit peel jam and grated off the outer skin using the fine side of a grater.
** modern cooks would use food-grade calcium hydroxide, also known as pickling lime
Note (mine)- pickling lime is used to make a crisp product. If you want your candied peel to be soft, do not use pickling lime.
French Source: Le Menagier de Paris, 14th C French Household Manual
Here are two French medieval recipes;
The Menagier de Paris (Goodman of Paris) wrote this household manual to assist his young wife (suspected to be 15 years old or so) to help her run the household after his demise (it is also suspected he was quite her senior).
Le Menagier de Paris (c)Janet Hinson, translator (daviddfriedman.com)
For chamber-spices [goodies served in the drawing-room or dressing-room (JH)], that is to say, candied orange peel, one pound, ten sous. – Candied citron, one pound, twelve sous. – Red anise, one pound, eight sous. – Rose-sugar (white sugar clarified and cooked in rose-water (JP), one pound, ten sous. – White sugared almonds, three pounds, ten sous a pound. – Of hippocras, three quarts, ten sous a quart, and all will be needed.
Elise Fleming (Dame Alyse Katherine OL, SCA) has published an excellent article on the topic here: candied-peels-art (florilegium.org)
Orengat: From Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations. Scully, D. Eleanor and Scully, Terence, University of Michigan Press, 1995. ISBN 0-472-10648-1. The original recipe reference given is Menagier de Paris, p.265/§352
Pour faire Orengat, mettez en cinq quartiers les peleures d’une orenge et raclez a un coustel la mousse qui est dedans, puis les mettez tremper en bonne eaue doucle par neuf jours, et changez l’eaume chascun jour; puis les boulez en eaue doulce une seule onde. Et, ce fait, les faictes estendre sur une nappe et les laissiez essuier tres bien; puis les mettez en un pot, et du miel tant qu’ils soient tous couvers, et faites boulir a petit feu et escumer. Et quantvous croirez que le miel soit cuit–pour essaier s’il est cuit, ayez de l’eaue en une escuelle, et faites degouter en icelle eaue une goutte d’icelluy miel, et s’il s’espant, il n’est pas cuit; et se icelle goute de miel se tient en l’eau sans espandre, il est cuit–et lors devez traire vos peleures d’orenge. Et d’icelles faites par ordre un lit, et gettez pouldre de gingembre dessus, puis un autre, et getter etc., usque in infinitum; et laissier un mois ou plus, puis mengier.
To make Orengat, put the peels of an orange in five quarters and scrape the pith inside, then put them to soak in good water for nine days, and change the water each day; then boil them in water in a single wave. And, this fact, the dishes lie on a tablecloth and let them dry very well; then put them in a pot, and some honey while they are all covered, and boil over a low heat and skim. And when you believe that the honey is cooked – to see if it is cooked, have water in one plate, and let it have a drop of honey, and if it is running, it is not cooked; and if this drop of honey is held in water without dissolving, it is cooked – and then you have to strain your orange peels. And of these made in order a bed, and put ginger powder on it, then another, and layer etc., use in infinitum; and leave a month or more, then eat.
Medieval Italian Recipe
Ranciata: The Original Mediterranean Cuisine: Medieval recipes for today. Santich, Barbara, Chicago Review Press, 1995. ISBN 1-55652-272-X. Recipe originally from the Liber per Cuoco. (Santich)
Toy la scorza del ranzo e fane quellii pezi che tu vole e curali ben dentro, miti a mole per 15 zorni poy le lessa in aqua tanto che sia tenere, lasale sugare per tri zorni, poy lomiti in lo mele che tu la voi bolire per tri zorni, poi la fa bolire un pocho e chambia poy quello mele e miti l’altro chon le spezie; ma prima le specie siano messe dentro sia spumato lo mele, bolla tanto che ‘l mele sia ben cocto, poy la lassa alquanti zorni a l’aiere senza sole.
Take orange peel and cut it into pieces as desired and clean the inside, and set them to soak for 2 weeks then boil them in water until soft, leave them to dry for 3 days, then put them in the honey that you wish them to boil in for 3 days, then boil them a little and then change this honey for the other with the spices; but first the spices have to be put in the honey; then boil these together, skimming, until the honey is well cooked, then leave them to dry for several days in the fresh air, out of the sun.
Italian Source – Translation of Libro di cucina/ Libro per cuoco (14th/15th c.) (Anonimo Veneziano)
Translated 2003 to January 2005 CE by Helewyse de Birkestad, OL (MKA Louise Smithson) from the transcription of Ludovico Frati (ed.): Libro di cucina del secolo XIV. Livorno 1899 prepared and made available online by Thomas Gloning. Last updated March 28th 2005.
CXXX To make a good and delicate dish of oranges
Take the peel of the oranges, and cut into as many pieces as you want, and clean the insides well (free of white pith). Soak the peels for fifteen days in water, then put them to boil in an excess of water until they are tender. Let them dry for three days then put them in honey which you will boil for three days (bring the honey to a boil and leave the peels overnight). Then you will give the honey a short boil and change it. To that honey one will add the peels with spices. First the spices are mixed into the skimmed honey, then the whole is boiled until the honey is well cooked. Then you will leave the peels a number of days in the air without sun to dry.
CXXXI To make a chopped orange dish in another way
Make this dish the same as that above, except that one does not change the honey and the orange peels should be finely chopped with a knife, then cooked in the honey. Bear in mind that they should be cooked so much that the honey is almost hard. It needs a very slow and temperate fire to cook the peels together with the honey and it is done.