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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ELECTUARIO WITH 13TH CENTURY RECIPE FOR MINT PASTE TO RELIEVE THE BODY

Brusining Mint Leaves
Photo by: Lord-Williams
OCast. leturario, Eng. 1. electuary, a pharmacitucal preparation having the consistency of honey, made with powders, pulps or extracts and syrups; ground medicine mixed with fruit or jam and honey or sugar to be licked. Avenzoar names numerous electuaries consisting of roses, tragacenth, anise, agallochum and amber etc. Anón Al-Andalus provides numerous recipes for medicinal electuaries, which Huici translates as syrups and pastes. They are made with herbs and spices. Castro names heira picra and perciale both purgative electuaries containing aloe and cinnamon and other ingredients.

2. marmalade (Sp confectura). It was commonly made in Spain by the 15 C. but the word mermelada was not adopted from the English until a later date to distinguish medicine from “a product pleasing the sweet tooth.” Although prescribed for the sick, by the 15th C at least, it had evolved also into a marmalade as seen in Perez’ addition to Nola’s recipes Lectuario de Guindas (cherry marmalade).
Avenzoar names marmalades of roses, violets, mint, grapes, apples, and ginger in his list of them. All have medicinal properties. See confitura.

[Anón/Huici.1966: 531:287:532:287-288:533:288 etc; Berceo Libro. 1983:162b:171; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:235:253; ES: Carroll-Mann. Guisados 2-art. Jun 6, 01:98:ftn 76; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:110-116; Nola/Pérez. 1992:120:200-201; Ruíz/Brey. 1965:1336a:206; and Villena/Brown. 1984:171]

MINT PASTE ADAPTED FROM HUCI'S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS #525. PASTA DE MENTA

1 lb mint leaves
3 lb honey
2 tbsp ground cloves[1]

Necessary equipment:

1 candy thermometer

Mint Electuary on Bananas
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Preparation

Wash mint leaves and separate them from the stems. Heat the honey and skim off the foam. Continue heating until it becomes a paste (between 230ºF-240ºF/110ºC-120). [2]

Gently mash the mint leaves in a mortar.[3]  Add them to the honey paste. Add the cloves.

Eat the equivalent of a nut at meals to ease and aid heavy bodies and minds, relieves dropsy, dissolves phlegm in various parts of the body, strengthens urine, cuts vomiting and is tasty with anise grains eaten with it or after it. It is beneficial, God willing.



[1] The original recipe calls for 1 oz ground cloves for each pound of paste. This turned out to be very strong for modern tastes. Add cloves to taste.
[2] A Candy thermometer is essential to prevent over cooking the honey. It is a most difficult recipe because the texture should be like walnuts but if under cooked it is a syrup, if over-cooked it is like a rock.
[3] This turned out to have a salad-like texture. It is better to grind the leaves in a food processor.

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