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Flavoring Essences and Tinctures.


The Old Foodie
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Here is a question that will sort out the serious from the dilettantes.

Tonight it appears I am a cricket and/or rugby (Union? League?) widow. Curse cable TV.

I decide to amuse myself with another man, and chose Dr William Kitchiner. My copy is 1845, but the first edition of "The Cook's Oracle" was 1817 (or thereabouts).

He has a lot of "essences" and "tinctures", and I wondered how many of you (a) have ever made any of your own (b) how many of you would like to.

What is surprising, I think, is the "savoury" essences and tinctures. We are all familiar with the idea of essences such as vanilla and almond in sweet dishes, but he has quite a few "savoury" ones.

Here is a selection for your comment - I can post some more if you wish:

QUINTESSENCE OF LEMON-PEEL.

Best oil of Lemon, one drachm

Strongest rectified spirit, two ounces

Introduced by degrees, until the spirit kills, and completely mixes with the oil. This elegant preparation possesses all the delightful fragrance and flavour of the freshest Lemon-peel.

Obs.- A few drops on the Sugar you make Punch with will instantly impregnate it with as much flavour as the troublesome and tedious method of grating the rind, or rubbing the Sugar on it.

It will be found a + for every purpose that it is used for: Blanc Mange, - Jellies, - Custards, - Ice, - Negus, - Lemonade, - and Pies and Puddings, - Stuffings, - Soups, - Sauces, - Ragouts &c.

TINCTURE OF LEMON-PEEL.

A very easy and economical way of obtaining, and preserving, the flavour of Lemon-Peel, is to fill a wide-mouthed pint bottle half full of Brandy, or proof spirit; and when you use a Lemon, pare the rind off very thin, and put it into the Brandy, &c.: in a fortnight it will impregnate the spirit with the flavour very strongly.

ESSENCE OF CELERY.

Brandy or proof spirit, a quarter of a pint.

Celery-seed, bruised, half an ounce, Avoirdupois weight.

Let it steep for a fortnight.

Obs.- A few drops will immediately flavour a pint of Broth, and are an excellent addition to Pease, and other Soups, and the salad mixture of Oil, Vinegar, &c.

AROMATIC ESSENCE OF GINGER.

Three ounces of fresh-grated Ginger* and two ounces of thin-cut Lemon-Peel, into a quart of Brandy, or Proof Spirit (apothecaries’ measure); let it stand for ten days, shaking it up each day.

Obs.- The proper title for this would be “Tincture of Ginger”**, however, as it has obtained the name of “Essence”, so let it be called.

N.B. If Ginger is taken to produce immediate effect, to warm the Stomach or dispel flatulence, this is the best preparation.

*The fragrant aroma of Ginger is so extremely volatile, that it evaporates almost as soon as it is powdered, and the fine Lemon-peel goût flies off presently.

** Tinctures are much finer flavoured than Essences.

TINCTURE OF CINNAMON.

This exhilarating cordial is made by pouring a bottle of genuine Cognac on three ounces of bruised Cinnamon – (Cassia will not do)

This restorative was more in vogue formerly than it is now: - a tea-spoonful of it, and a lump of Sugar, in a glass of good Sherry or Madeira, with the yolk of an Egg beat up in it, was called “Balsamum Vitae”.

Obs. – Two tea-spoonful in a wine-glass of water, are a present and pleasant remedy in Nervous Languors, and in relaxation of the Bowels: - in the latter case, five drops of Laudanum may be added to each dose.

SOUP-HERB SPIRIT.

Of Lemon Thyme

Winter Savoury

Sweet Marjoram

Sweet Basil – half an ounce of each.

Lemon-Peel, grated, two drachms

Eschalots, the same

Celery-Seed, a drachm Avoirdupois weight.

Prepare them as directed in 389 [instructions for drying the herbs]; and infuse them in a pint of Brandy, or Proof Spirit, for ten days: they may also be infused in Wine or Vinegar, but neither extract the flavour of the ingredients half so well as the spirit.

“These preparations are valuable auxiliaries to immediately heighten the flavour, nd finish Soups, Sauces, Ragouts, &c., and will save much time and trouble to the Cook, and keep for twenty years.”

Janet.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Gotta think the laudanum is the charm for 'relaxation of the bowels'.

I have made a number of similar concoctions over the years, I think the one I made with wintergreen I found in the woods up north was my favorite. I've also made vanilla essence, but it's disappointing weak vs the commercial stuff.

In a somewhat similar vein (ie making your own flavourings), I use a peeler to take the peel off lemons I only need for juice, let it dry and keep it in a jar. I grind it in my Sumeet, add drops of lemon oil and some sugar. It makes a wonderfully intense lemon rind to add to certain recipes.

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The aromatic essence of ginger sounds like good medicine...

(Oh, yes - spouse and son went to the rugby league and I went to sleep in front of the Living Channel and missed two cooking shows!)

Edited by Pat Churchill (log)

Website: http://cookingdownunder.com

Blog: http://cookingdownunder.com/blog

Twitter: @patinoz

The floggings will continue until morale improves

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so along the approaches you have provided I could make an essence of roast chicken skin by adding the roast skin to a jar of brandy for a fortnight. 

I must now begin the process.

Thanks

:cool: I will follow this project with anticipation.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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so along the approaches you have provided I could make an essence of roast chicken skin by adding the roast skin to a jar of brandy for a fortnight. 

I must now begin the process.

Thanks

:cool: I will follow this project with anticipation.

I think we are overlapping with <a href = "http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=91731&hl=birth+of" >The Birth of Wieniercello</a> thread !!

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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no, we are not trying to make a chicken tini or some other cocktail. The essence of roast chicken, chorizo, pork loin etc...that is what we are trying to capture, isolate and utilize.

The hot dog tini is sick, twisted and something I wish I had thought of.

h. alexander talbot

chef and author

Levittown, PA

ideasinfood

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Interesting, thank you. Is there an explanation offered as to the 'why' of drying the herbs bofore making the 'Soup herb spirit'? I would have expected the alcohol to have prevented any mischief taking place, and the fresh herbs to have perhaps tasted, well, fresher. Perhaps a bottle of vodka needs to be pressed into experimental service.

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Actually, drying some herbs concentrates the essential oils. Sage, Sweet Bay, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Winter Savory and Anise Hyssop are all stronger after drying. However they do have to be harvested at the correct time and degree of maturity.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Very interesting, Janet. I wonder if people did follow Dr. Kitchiner's essence recipes. To answer your questions, vanilla is the only alcohol-based essence I work with in the kitchen, although I am used to tincturing medicinal herbs. It would be interesting to work with the lemon, cinnamon or ginger tinctures, but I confess these recipes seem more like historical curiosities than inspiration for daily cooking.

Maybe these essences would have been handy at a time when fresh celery, lemons, and herbs were available only during limited seasons and cooks wished to preserve specific flavors for the rest of the year. Kind of neat, when you think about it.

I don't think anything of freezing pesto for the basil-less winter - although of course it's never as good as freshly made, it's still pesto, with that rich basil aroma and flavor. I guess that lacking a freezer, alcohol-based essences, like herbs preserved in salt or in sugar, or in vinegar, would be especially appealing to people cooking for those large families of yesteryear.

Miriam

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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