- The Science of Cooking, on Making ‘Apple Porridge’
Here’s a courtly recipe from sixteenth century Transylvania; an apple porridge fit for a Prince.
- A Book of Simples, on Making ‘Quince Cakes’
Here’s an intriguing pair of eighteenth century receipts for quince ‘cakes’ of the boiled, jellied gum-drop variety.
- More Pest Problems: Pigeon-Pecked Pears
What’s an orchardist to do? It’s been a lean year for pears, not helped at all by the pointy beaks of the local wildlife.
- Book Notes: Damsons, by Sarah Conrad Gothie
A short but hugely informative book packed with juicy recipes and damson facts; a must-read for any damson fan.
- Mary Jewry, on Making ‘Apple Dumplings’, Two Ways
How do you like your apple dumplings? Here are the simple-to-follow recipes for two Victorian-era options.
- Leonard Mascall, on Cleanliness in Sixteenth Century Cyder-Making
“Keepe cleane your vessels, and the places wheras your fruite doth lye” are wise words to make cyder by in any century.
- Tasting History Makes a C16th Apple and Cheese Tart
Plus a potted history of the apple pie, from the fourteenth century to its ‘As American As…’ heyday.
- How Do You Like Them (‘Howgate Wonder’) Apples?
These two rather Wonderous apples were harvested this week from the stepover tree on our allotment plot.
- The 2021 Ordsall Hall Medlar Forecast is: ‘Very Good’
One of the most reliable fruits in the heritage orchard has a very long history and a very unique flavour.
- Edmund Saul Dixon, on Keeping Apples in Sand
Apples to store over winter? A few hundredweight of pit-sand, a kiln and several large jars to-hand? It’s your lucky day, isn’t it?
- Robert Donald, on Clamp-Storing Apples
A nurseryman provides details of a common method for storing apples, pre-fridges.
- Apple I.D. Practice – Four Mystery Varieties to Identify
In which I attempt to identify four unknown apple varieties – second opinions are very welcome!
- Jo Green Makes ‘Ordsall Hog Pudding’ (via William Kitchiner)
Here’s a modern take on one of William Kitchiner’s apple recipes, courtesy of Ordsall Hall’s Head Gardener, Jo Green.
- Robert Ingram, on Not Picking Pears Too Early
When it comes to perfect pears, practicing patience is the prudent path to proper picking.
- Thomas Tusser, on Gathering Fruit Not Too Timely
Here are a few words of sixteenth century wisdom on the subject of managing your fruit harvest.
- Mary Smith, on Drying ‘Green Gage Plumbs’
This eighteenth century method for drying greengages calls for candying your plum(b)s in syrup before setting them to dry.
- William Kitchiner, on Making ‘Nottingham Pudding’
Here’s a nineteenth century apple-based batter pudding, to warm you cockles and stick to your ribs on an Autumn evening.
- How To: Check For a Maggot in Your Apple
A quick guide to spotting an unwanted lodger in that ripe, perfect-looking piece of fruit, *before* you bite into it…
- Georgiana Hill, on Making ‘Salade de Pommes a la Contrabandista’
This simple apple side-dish sounds like a tasty accompaniment to cheese, ham, or as Mrs Hill suggests: “hot or cold game”.
- William Kitchiner, on Making ‘Boston Apple Pudding’
Spiced apple puree, sugar, eggs and cream, baked in a pastry case? It’s a nineteenth century apple quiche, surely?
- Spoilt for Choice at Village Greens, Prestwich
Here’s why VGs is absolutely the best place in north Manchester / south Bury for fresh, seasonal, organic apples, bar none.
- Identifying a Mystery Apple Tree on Plot #79
In which I apply a three-step apple i.d. process to see if I can find a match for these not-as-labelled apples.
- Henry Howard, on Making ‘Pippin Tansey’
Here’s Henry’s recipe for what amounts to a sweet, baked, pastry-less quiche, with spices and fried apple slices.
- Anon, on Making ‘Apple Pudding, Baked, Without Paste’
This nineteenth century recipe for a bread and butter / baked apple hybrid pudding sounds simple, substantial and rather tasty.
- How To: Identify Apple and Pear Varieties
Wondering how to i.d. a mystery apple or pear variety? Here’s a guide to: doing it yourself, asking an expert, and DNA testing.
- Richard Bradley, on Making Verjuice
Here’s an eighteenth century method for making a condiment ingredient that would once have been a common element of many dishes.
- Shout Out for The Virtual Apple Parer Museum
Check out Mike Viney’s online collection of antique apple peeling / coring / slicing machinery.
- Elizabeth Moxon, on Making ‘Plumb Porridge’
This eighteenth century version of porridge definitely isn’t the porridge we know and love today, plumb or otherwise.
- Quick Reminder: How to Pick Apples and Pears
With harvest season starting, here’s a reminder of how to pick apples and pears without doing undue damage in the process.
- Making Eliza Acton’s ‘Essex Pudding (Cheap and Good)’
In which I have a go at re-creating a historical orchard recipe for the first time… with rather delicious results.
- Eliza Smith, on Making ‘Apple Fritters’
Here’s a boozy, spicy version of an apple fritter recipe from Mrs Smith’s no-nonsense book of household management receipts.
- Georgiana Hill, on Making ‘Apple Chocolate’
Here’s a quick and easy Victorian-era recipe that combines two of my very favourite ingredients and then glazes them with a red-hot shovel.
- How To: Turn Windfall Apples Into Spiced Apple Compote
Here’s a great way to make something warm, spicy and delicious out of all your under-ripe windfall apples.
- Mrs Eales(?) on ‘Pickling Codlins Like Mangoe’
This eighteenth century recipe for preserving green apples is a bit of a challenge to interpret, never mind attempt.
- Tasting History on Sour Cherry Jelly by Nostradamus
My favourite YouTube channel, Tasting History, takes a look at one of the Renaissance prophet’s kitchen favourites.
- Navajo Peaches, Russian Pastila, and Antique Apple Scoops
Atlas Obscura is a website of the world’s weird and wonderful stuff, and some of it is distinctly orchard flavoured.
- ‘Beauty of Bath’ is our First Apple of 2021
The first apples of 2021 are ready for picking and in the Plot #79 orchard, that means it’s time for ‘Beauty of Bath’
- Re-Thinning Apples in the Air-Pot Mini Orchard
With apple fruitlets a little on the small size, it was time to re-thin the pot-grown apple trees.
- Orchard Visit: Museum in the Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire
The fourth of this year’s Cotswold orchard visits takes in the orchard in the walled garden at the Museum in the Park in Stroud.
- Rescuing Grandpa Buxton, the Leaning Apple of Plot #79
Excess apple loads can cause serious problems at this time of year; a leaning tree is one of the easier ones to remedy.
- Edward Lambert, on Making ‘Compote of Baked Wardens’
Here’s an eighteenth century take on a baked warden pear, with a dollops of apple jelly for an accompaniment.
- Book Notes: The Original Warden Pear, by Margaret Roberts
This in-depth study of ‘warden’ cooking pears tells the fascinating story of a historical orchard staple.
- Orchard Visit: Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire
Painswick Rococo Garden is an absolute delight for an orchard enthusiast, as I discovered on a visit in June 2021.
- Mother-loving Moths and Bastard Bloody Pigeons
I’m seeing a lot of fruit-damage this year, both the classic damage caused by of codling moth larvae and beak-wounds from feathery foes.
- Mary Smith, on Making ‘White Caps’
Here’s an eighteenth century recipe for an iced pear tart that sounds simple to make and delicious to eat. Enjoy!
- Elizabeth Raffald, on Making ‘Green Caps’
Here’s an eighteenth century recipe for another baked apple dish, although perhaps this is one you shouldn’t try at home…
- Henry Howard, on Making ‘Black Caps’
A classic recipe from the archives today, for apples baked in wine and sugar, cooked in the oven until the tops are scorched.
- Georgiana Hill, on Pommes au Naturel
Nothing is more likely to encourage people to eat a lovely, fresh apple than bringing Satan into the conversation…
- Susannah Carter, on Making Flummery (two ways)
Here are two recipes, one using almonds, for a dish of cold, congealed. flavourless mush… I’m really selling it, aren’t I?
- Orchard Visit: Hidcote, Gloucestershire
A summer’s day in June was the perfect time to visit Hidcote’s orchards of mature, veteran and trained fruit trees.
- Mary J. Lincoln, on Fresh Fruit at the Dinner Table
Words of wisdom from a doyenne of the Boston Cooking School, published in 1891 and still, sadly, as true today as they were back then.
- Anon, on Making (Apple) Fryturs
Here’s a late fifteenth century recipe for simple apple fritters coloured with saffron and spiced with pepper.
- M. L. Lemery on Making Codlin or Pippin Jelly
This 18th century recipe for a very simple staple – apple jelly – turned out to be typically not so simple to follow, unfortunately…
- William Verral on Making Apple Fritters a la Bavarre
A quick, easy, C18th recipe for delicious-sounding apple fritters, brandy-soaked and fried to a golden-brown finish.
- Fruit Thinning in Action – Thinned vs Un-Thinned Apples
A short post with photos to demonstrate the benefits of removing excess fruitlets. (Again with the fruit thinning..!)
- Far Fewer Apples and Pears Than Last Year? Perfectly Normal.
If your fruit trees aren’t carrying much fruit after an amazing harvest in 2020 then don’t worry, it’s quite natural.
- Orchard Visit: Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire
In June 2021 I visited the orchards at Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire and here are my impressions.
- Esther Copley on Making Gooseberry or Apple Fool
Here’s a deliciously simple recipe for making a classic fruit and cream dessert that you’d be foolish not to try yourself.
- Sir Kenelm Digby on Making Marmulate of Pippins
Here’s a seventeenth century knight of the realm’s recipe for a sweet and spicy apple conserve to spread on your toast.
- Barry Masterson talks Perry, Pomonas and Pomology
My twitter-buddy Barry’s article on the history of Pomonas and their origins in cider and perry production is well worth a read.
- Gallery: Impressions of Four Cotswold Orchards
Here’s a brief taster of four orchards that I visited in early June (longer write-ups to follow in due course).
- Mrs Eales(?) on Making a Welch Apple Pye
This eighteenth century recipe calls for pippins, dried fruit, sugar, eggs and plenty of booze.
- More Canker! This Time on a Cordon Apple Tree
Another dose of apple canker, this time on a cordon tree and with an even more drastic remedy required.
- Thinning Apple Fruitlets in our Air-Pot Mini-Orchard
Now is a the best time to hand-thin apple fruitlets, particularly on smaller trees and definitely on any that are growing in pots.
- John Nott on Making Clear Cakes of Plums
This eighteenth century recipe is for making what sounds like a plum-based version of a Pontefract cake.
- Time to Check Grafted Trees for Rootstock Regrowth
As leaves start to grow on your top-fruit trees it’s a good time to check your grafted plants for unwanted rootstock bud-break.
- Georgiana Hill, on Making Pommes à la Vésuve
Christmas pudding, eat your heart out… Georgiana Hill has a year-round combustible dessert recipe for all occasions.
- Book Notes: Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
This fascinating book delves into the rich symbiotic relationship between trees and the fungal networks that sustain and nourish them.
- Emergency Late Apple Pruning for Canker Control
Pruning apple at this point in the season isn’t usually advised, but sometimes you have to cut to control a problem.
- ‘John Downie’ is the Star of the Spring Show
We’ve had a really good year for blossom in the back garden, with crab apple ‘John Downie’ putting on a splendid display.
- The Austin Manuscripts, on Making Fygeye
Another medieval fruit pudding for you, this time a concoction of figs, ale and breadcrumbs, spiced with cinnamon.
- Dealing With Pear Midge Problems the Organic Way
Spring 2021 has brought blossom, but also pest and physiological problems in Ordsall Hall’s heritage pear trees
- Gallery: Pear Blossom at Ordsall Hall, Spring 2021
Enjoy this selection of photos of the Hall’s heritage pear trees in full bloom a couple of weeks ago.
- Ads of Yore: Big Profits in the Cider Business
And what do those big profits require? A big investment in a big juice pressing machine…
- Book Notes: Apple, A Global History, by Erika Janik
This slight, slender volume is… okay, but there are much better alternatives in print.
- The Austin Manuscripts, on Making Quynade
This recipe for a quinces and almond milk dessert of some sort could take longer to decipher than to prepare…
- Grafting Advice and New Cultivars from SkillCult
A shout out for Steven Edholm’s superb SkillCult blog, where he’s been offering grafting advice and talking about his apple breeding project.
- Now Collecting Historical Orchard Recipes
I’ve started putting together an index page of the archive recipes that I’m posting on the site.
- The Norfolk Biffin, A History Part I – Biffin Desserts
In part one of this article I explore the detailed story of the dried, pressed apple dessert known as the ‘Norfolk Biffin’.
- Poetry: ‘Apple Blossoms’, by Susan Kelly-DeWitt
Susan’s rather lovely poem perfectly captures the orchardist’s winter frustration and the anticipation of spring.
- The Forme of Cury, on Making Comadore
Anyone for a 14th century recipe for what sounds distinctly like a fried, fruit-filled doughnut?
- Thomas Dawson, on Making Apple Pescods
Fried fruity things, with apples, figs, dates, currants and spices? What’s not to like?
- Au Revoir to Pear, Plum and Damson Blossom?
Two nights of bad weather after early blossom has bloomed is bad news, but hopefully not the end of this year’s crop.
- On Winter-Proofing Apples, 1820s style
When winter came in 19th century America, it was out with the thin linen cloths to protect the fruit still on the trees.
- Elizabeth Clelland, on Making Quiddany of Pipins
16th and 17th century jam-making recipe, anyone? No jars back then though, so you’ll have to store it in boxes…
- Anon, on Making Applemoyse
This anonymously-authored 16th century apple dessert recipe could be a good one for anyone with a butter surplus to shift.
- Theodore Francis Garrett on Making Apple Bavaroise
Anyone for an apple Bavarian cream? Time to dust off your old bunny mould and whip up a boozy Victorian dessert in time for Easter.
- Frost Warning! Bad News for Blossom
It’s every orchardist’s worse-case scenario: a sharp frost forecast just as the blossom is starting to open…
- Ads of Yore: Hardie Orchard Equipment
As this 1915 ad shows, when it comes to useful orchard equipment, some ideas and designs never go out of date.
- John Mollard, on Making Pippins With Rice
Here’s another sweet-sounding baked apple dessert, this time from the early 19th century.
- ‘A Lady’, on Making Paste of Plumbs
The anonymous author of this 18th century tract takes time our from moralising to make something jammy.
- Eliza Acton, on Making ‘Essex Pudding’
This 19th century recipe is billed as Cheap and Good, and with just four ingredients it should be easy enough to make.
- The Austin Manuscripts, on Apple Muse and Apple Moyle
Two 15th century recipes today, both for sweet, colourful, apple and bread / rice potages of some sort.
- Fujiwara no Teika, on Spring
- A. W. on Making Apple Pomages
Here’s a 16th century recipe for a sweet, spice, apple and bread sauce (or dessert?) that sounds rather intriguing.
- John Murrell, on Making Apple Pufs
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for the sort of fried apple sweetmeat enjoyed in the early 17th century.
- Arnold’s Chronicle on Greffing Family Trees
Another 16th century mention for multiple-variety fruit tree grafting suggests it was quite a common practice for the time.
- Brossard (Mascall), on Graffyng Family Trees
As this 16th century quotation shows, the concept of the multi-variety ‘family’ fruit tree is not a new one.
- John Gerard (and Others), on the Vertues of Apples
Hot stomake? Pissing in drops? Dry skin? Gonnhorrhaea? Smallpox scars? John Gerard has a remedy for that, and it’s cheaper than you might think…
- Winter Pruning to Control Apple Canker
Sometimes a drastic tree health problem like apple canker requires a fairly drastic pruning remedy.