Lemons were a common ingredient in cookery books, and it might be interesting to have a quick look at the many ways they were used to flavor food and beverages. 

Lemons, sunny color, refreshing flavor

Lemons, sunny color, refreshing flavor

For use in soup see www.thistledewbooks.com for reviews and description of Soup Through the Ages:  A Culinary History with Recipes. 

LEMONADE:  Rasp two lemons, and squeeze six, put to them three gills of syrup and the rest water; taste it, and if it is not to your palate alter and mend it till it is right; then strain through a lawn sieve and put in your glasses for use.  – Nutt, Frederick.  The Complete Confectioner. 

LEMON ESSENCE:  [for flavoring] Rasp your lemons all around very thin, and allow for every quarter of a pound of rind one pound of sugar; mix it the very same way you do essence of cedraties, put it into a stone jar, and bladder it up the same.  [tying an animal bladder over a bottle was a common sealing method].

LEMON ICE CREAM:  Rasp one lemon, and squeeze three or four; add two gills of syrup and one pint of cream; mix it all together, and pass it through a sieve and freeze it.

LEMON WAFERS:  Take six lemons, and squeeze into an earthen pan; pound and sift some double refined sugar and mix it with the lemon juice; put one white of an egg in with it and mix it up well together with your spoon to make it of a fine thickness; take some sheets of wafer paper and put one sheet of it on a pewter sheet or tin plate, put a spoonful on and cover the sheet of wafer paper all over with your knife; cut it in twelve pieces and put them across a stick in your hot stove with that side the paste is on the uppermost, and you will find they will curl.  When they are half curled take them off very carefully and put them in a sieve, that they may stand up; let them be in a hot stove one day and you will find that they will be all curled and then they are done.

LEMON WATER ICE:  Rasp one lemon, and squeeze three and put in two gills of syrup and half a pint of water; pass it and freeze it rich.

LEMON DROPS:  Squeeze the juice of six lemons into a brown pan or bason, take some double refined sugar ; pound it and sift it through a very fine lawn sieve; mix it with the lemon juice and make it so thick you can hardly stir it; put it into a copper stew pan, with a wooden spoon stir it over the fire five minutes then take it off and drop them with the point of a knife, of the same size as with orange drops and let them stand until cold and they will come off the paper.  If you wait for their cooling they must be put in some cool place.  They must be put on [buttered] writing paper.

The preceding are from Frederick Nutt, The Compleat Confectioner, 1790, London.

Lemon Cream, Elizabeth Raffield, 1769 [lemon creams date from the early 18th century]:

Take a pint of spring water, the rinds of two lemons pared thin [zest only, no white], and the juice of three; beat the whites of six eggs very well; mix the whites with water and lemon, put sugar to your taste and then set it over the Fire and keep stirring it till it thickens, but don’t let it boil, strain it through a cloth, beat the yolks of six eggs, put it over the fire till it be quite thick, then put it in a bowl to cool, and put it in your glasses.

There were lemon jellies, lemon wines and brandies, lemon puddings, lemon pickles, lemon shrub, and lemon cakes and pies in addition to the recipes given here, and when we factor in how many dishes lemon juice was used in as a flavoring it becomes apaprent lemons were a valued ingredient for those early cooks.

Blissful Meals, yall, The Historic Foodie

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