Thursday, April 12, 2018

La Maison Rustique - The Potherbs - Parsnips, Carrots, Skirrets

From: L'agriculture et maison rustique, Charles Estienne (Rouen, 1658).


The Potherbs

(Chapter 35)

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Parsnips, Carrots, Skirrets

[Translator's Note: the heading specifies four different plants:  Panis, Pastenades, Carrotes, and Chervis. Cotgrave’s 1611 French-English dictionary gives the following definitions.

Panaiz: A certain root thats lesse, and ranker, then the ordinarie Parsenip, otherwise resembling it, and oft mistaken for it / Panaiz de Macedoine: the Macedonian Parsenip, whose juice is much esteemed of by heardsmen / Panaiz sauvage: Hercules Wound-wort, or All-heale, also the wild Carrot, Some also tearme so Cow Parsenip, meadow Parsenip, Madnep.

Pastenade: The Garden carrot, or a root like a Carrot (most commonly) of a bloud-red colour, and sometimes of a yellow, but that by Art, some Authers also call the Parsnip thus / Pastenade jaulne: the yellow garden Carrot / Pastenade rouge: the red, or blacke Carrot / Pastenade sauvage: The wild Carrot, called Birds-neast.

Carote: The Carrot (root, or hearbe) / Carote sauvage: Daucus, wild Carrot, birds neast.

Chervis: The root Skirret, or Skirwicke / Chervis grand: A Parsnip / Chervis sauvage: The wild Parsnip, or wild Skirret.

So effectively, this section is titled, “Parsnips (maybe wild carrots), Carrots (maybe parsnips), Carrots, and Skirrets (maybe parsnips).”]

Wild carrots, parsnips, carrots, and skirrets, are all planted in the same fashion in soil that is well turned, cleared of stones, weeded, cleared of all other pests and roots, fertilized, and strongly worked ahead of time, but they are not sown thick so they will grow large and thick. If they are sown they must be watered, and of the weather is dry, once a week as long as they are growing well. They are planted in Autumn, and at the renewal. Autumn is always the best to have at the time of Lent. If you want the roots to be beautiful, large, and thick, you must often cut away the leaves, and must pick them half a year after they are sown. In cutting away the leaves, keep them in sand, mainly in winter, because the frost will spoil them.

Carrots can be kept for a whole year or two in the ground, so much so that they are found by torrents of rain, old and new, which are good winter and in Lent, either fried or otherwise.

All have the virtue of encouraging urination, of calming the pain of colic, and of provoking menstruation in women. The pounded leaves used as a plaster, when put on the legs is very beneficial.