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The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph

Part 4 out of 4

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* * * * *


Gather ripe cling-stone peaches, wipe off the down, cut them to the
stone in several places, and put them in a cask; when filled with
peaches, pour on as much peach brandy as the cask will hold; let it
stand six or eight weeks, then draw it off, put in water until reduced
to the strength of wine; to each gallon of this, add one pound of good
brown sugar--dissolve it, and pour the cordial into a cask just large
enough to hold it--when perfectly clear, it is fit for use.

* * * * *


To each quart of ripe red raspberries, put one quart of best French
brandy; let it remain about a week, then strain it through a sieve or
bag, pressing out all the liquid; when you have got as much as you want,
reduce the strength to your taste with water, and put a pound of
powdered loaf sugar to each gallon--let it stand till refined.
Strawberry cordial is made the same way. It destroys the flavour of
these fruits to put them on the fire.

* * * * *


Put a quart of ripe red raspberries in a bowl; pour on them a quart of
strong well flavoured vinegar--let them stand twenty-four hours, strain
them through a bag, put this liquid on another quart, of fresh
raspberries, which strain in the same manner--and then on a third quart:
when this last is prepared, make it very sweet with pounded loaf sugar;
refine and bottle it. It is a delicious beverage mixed with iced water.

* * * * *


Pick the mint early in the morning while the dew is on it, and be
careful not to bruise it; pour some water over it, and drain it--put two
handsful into a pitcher, with a quart of French brandy, cover it, and
let it stand till next day; take the mint carefully out, and put in as
much more, which must be taken out next day--do this the third time:
then put three quarts of water to the brandy, and one pound of loaf
sugar powdered; mix it well together--and when perfectly clear, bottle

* * * * *


Mix your mead in the proportion of thirty-six ounces of honey to four
quarts of warm water; when the honey is completely held in solution,
pour it into a cask. When fermented, and become perfectly clear, bottle
and cork it well. If properly prepared, it is a pleasant and wholesome
drink; and in summer particularly grateful, on account of the large
quantity of carbonic acid gas which it contains. Its goodness, however,
depends greatly on the _time_ of bottling, and other circumstances,
which can only be acquired by practice.

* * * * *


Dissolve two scruples flowers of Benzoin, in one quart of good rum.

* * * * *


Cut six fresh lemons in thin slices, put them into a quart and a half of
milk, boil it until the whey is very clear, then pass it through a
sieve; put to this whey, one and a half quarts of French brandy, and
three pounds of powdered loaf sugar; stir it till the sugar is
dissolved--let it stand to refine, and bottle it; pare some of the
yellow rind of the lemons very thin, and put a little in each bottle.

* * * * *


Pour two gallons of boiling water on two pounds brown sugar, one and a
half ounce of cream of tartar, and the same of pounded ginger; stir them
well, and put it in a small cask; when milk warm, put in half a pint of
good yeast, shake the cask well, and stop it close--in twenty-four hours
it will be fit to bottle--cork it very well, and in ten days it will
sparkle like Champaigne--one or two lemons cut in slices and put in,
will improve it much. For economy, you may use molasses instead of
sugar--one quart in place of two pounds. This is a wholesome and
delicious beverage in warm weather.

* * * * *


Boil a handful of hops, and twice as much of the chippings of sassafras
root, in ten gallons of water; strain it, and pour in, while hot, one
gallon of molasses, two spoonsful of the essence of spruce, two
spoonsful of powdered ginger, and one of pounded allspice; put it in a
cask--when sufficiently cold, add half a pint of good yeast; stir it
well, stop it close, and when fermented and clear, bottle and cork it

* * * * *


Put five quarts of hops, and five of wheat bran, into fifteen gallons of
water; boil it three or four hours, strain it, and pour it into a cask
with one head taken out; put in five quarts of molasses, stir it till
well mixed, throw a cloth over the barrel; when moderately warm, add a
quart of good yeast, which must be stirred in; then stop it close with a
cloth and board. When it has fermented and become quite clear, bottle
it--the corks should be soaked in boiling water an hour or two, and the
bottles perfectly clean, and well drained.

* * * * *


Get lemons quite free from blemish, squeeze them, and strain the juice;
to each pint of it, put a pound of good loaf sugar pounded; stir it
frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved, cover the pitcher
closely, and let it stand till the dregs have subsided, and the syrup is
transparent; have bottles perfectly clean and dry, put a wine glass full
of French brandy into each bottle, fill it with syrup, cork it, and dip
the neck into melted rosin or pitch; keep them in a cool dry cellar--do
not put it on the fire--it will destroy the fine flavour of the juice.

Pour water on the peels of the lemons, let them soak till you can scrape
all the white pulp off, then boil the peel till soft; preserve them with
half their weight of sugar, and keep them for mince pies, cakes, &c.
They are a very good substitute for citron.

* * * * *


To one measure of sugar, put seven measures of water moderately warm;
dissolve it completely--put it into a cask, stir in yeast in the
proportion of a pint to eight gallons: stop it close, and keep it in a
warm place till sufficiently sour.

* * * * *


To one quart of clear honey, put eight quarts of warm water, mix it well
together: when it has passed through the acetous fermentation, a white
vinegar will be formed, in many respects better than the ordinary

* * * * *


Boil two pounds of sugar with four quarts of vinegar, down to a syrup,
and bottle it. This makes an excellent beverage when mixed with water,
either with or without the addition of brandy. It is nearly equal a
flavour to the syrup of lime juice, when made with superior vinegar.

* * * * *


Put a portion of acetate of potash, (sal diureticus,) into a smelling
bottle; mix gradually with it half its weight of sulphuric acid, and add
a few drops of oil of lavender.

* * * * *


Take lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, and mint, of each a large
handful; put them in a pot of earthen ware, pour on them four quarts of
very strong vinegar, cover the pot closely, and put a board on the top;
keep it in the hottest sun two weeks, then strain and bottle it, putting
in each bottle a clove of garlic. When it has settled in the bottle and
become clear, pour it off gently; do this until you get it all free from
sediment. The proper time to make it is when the herbs are in full
vigour, in June. This vinegar is very refreshing in crowded rooms, in
the apartments of the sick; and is peculiarly grateful, when sprinkled
about the house in damp weather.

* * * * *


Put a pint of highly rectified spirits of wine, to one ounce of
essential oil of lavender, and two drachms of ambergris; shake them well
together, and keep it closely stopped.

* * * * *


One pint spirits of wine, one ounce oil of rosemary, and two drachms
essence of ambergris.

* * * * *


Take a pound of castile, or any other nice old soap; scrape it in small
pieces, and put it on the fire with a little water--stir it till it
becomes a smooth paste, pour it into a bowl, and when cold, add some
lavender water, or essence of any kind--beat it with a silver spoon
until well mixed, thicken it with corn meal, and keep it in small pots
closely covered--for the admission of air will soon make the soap hard.

* * * * *


Three quarts spirits of wine, six drachms oil of lavender, one drachm
oil of rosemary, three drachms essence of lemon, ten drops oil of
cinnamon--mix them together very well.

* * * * *


Get nice sweet lard that has no salt in it--put in any agreeable
perfume, beat it to a cream, and put it in small pots.

* * * * *


Put on the fire any quantity of lye you choose that is strong enough to
bear an egg--to each gallon, add three quarters of a pound of clean
grease: boil it very fast, and stir it frequently--a few hours will
suffice to make it good soap. When you find by cooling a little on a
plate that it is a thick jelly, and no grease appears, put in salt in
the proportion of one pint to three gallons--let it boil a few minutes,
and pour it in tubs to cool--(should the soap be thin, add a little
water to that in the plate, stir it well, and by that means ascertain
how much water is necessary for the whole quantity; very strong lye will
require water to thicken it, after the incorporation is complete; this
must be done before the salt is added.) Next day, cut out the soap, melt
it, and cool it again; this takes out all the lye, and keeps the soap
from shrinking when dried. A strict conformity to these rules, will
banish the lunar bugbear, which has so long annoyed soap makers. Should
cracknels be used, there must be one pound to each gallon. Kitchen
grease should be clarified in a quantity of water, or the salt will
prevent its incorporating with the lye. Soft soap is made in the same
manner, only omitting the salt. It may also be made by putting the lye
and grease together in exact proportions, and placing it under the
influence of a hot sun for eight or ten days, stirring it well four or
five times a day.

* * * * *


Wash a peck of good wheat, and pick it very clean; put it in a tub, and
cover it with water; it must be kept in the sun, and the water changed
every day, or it will smell very offensively. When the wheat becomes
quite soft, it must be well rubbed in the hands, and the husks thrown
into another tub; let this white substance settle, then pour off the
water, put on fresh, stir it up well, and let it subside; do this every
day till the water comes off clear--then pour it off; collect the starch
in a bag, tie it up tight, and set it in the sun a few days; then open
it, and dry the starch on dishes.

* * * * *


Gather them on a dry day, just before they begin to blossom; brush off
the dust, cut them in small branches, and dry them quickly in a moderate
oven; pick off the leaves when dry, pound and sift them--bottle them
immediately, and cork them closely. They must be kept in a dry place.

* * * * *


Dissolve two tea-spoonsful of alum in a quart of moderately strong
lye--stir in a gill of soft soap, and skim off the dross. Wash the
silver clean in hot water, let it remain covered with this mixture for
ten or fifteen minutes, turning it over frequently; then wash it in hot
soap suds, and rub it well with a dry cloth.

* * * * *


A quarter of a pound of ivory black, two ounces of sugar candy, a
quarter of an ounce of gum tragacanth; pound them all very fine, boil a
bottle of porter, and stir the ingredients in while boiling hot.

* * * * *


Wash them in warm water, and wipe them till quite dry; then touch them
lightly over, without smearing the handles, with rotten stone made wet;
let it dry on them, and then rub with a clean cloth until they are
bright. With this mode of cleaning, one set of knives and forks will
serve a family twenty years; they will require the frequent use of a
steel to keep them with a keen edge--but must never be put into very hot
water, lest the handles be injured.



Footnote 1: Shote being a Provincial term, and not a legitimate English
Word, Mrs. R. has taken the liberty of spelling it in a way that conveys
the sound of the pronunciation more clearly than _shoat_, the usual
manner of spelling it.

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