Culinary gleanings from

John Gerard's

Herball or General Historie of Plantes


Page Three

Go to Main Page.
Go to Plant list - A to L.
Go to Plant list - S to Z.

Plant list - M to R:

Mad Apples; Maize; Mandrake; Marigold; Marjoram; Medlar; Melons or Pompions; Mint; Miscellaneous fruits; Molli; Mulberry; Musk Rose; Mustard

Oats; Oister-greene; Oke of Jerusalem and Oke of Cappadoccia; Olive, Onions; Orach; Our Ladies Thistle

Panicke; Papyrus; Parsley; Parsnips; Peach; Pear; Peas; Pease Earth-nut; Peppers; Plum; Pine tree; Pinks; Pistachio; Pomegranate; Poppy; Potato; Pulse; Purslane


Radish; Ramme; Rampions; Rape-Cole; Rice; Rocket; Rose; Rosemary

Mad Apples [eggplant?] - pages 344-345.

"Mala insana. Madde or raging Apples.
...The people of Tolledo do eat them with great deuotion being boiled with fat flesh, putting thereto some scraped cheese, which they do keepe in vineger, honie, or salt pickell all Winter to procure lust. Petrus Bellonius, and Hermolaus Barbarus, report that in Egypt and Barbary they vse to eat the fruit of Mala insana boiled or rosted vnder ashes, with oile, vineger, & pepper, as people vse to eat Mushroms. But I rather wish English men to content themselues with the meat and sauce of our owne Countrey, than with fruit and sauce eaten with such perill: for doubtlesse these apples haue a mischievuous qualitie, the vse whereof is vtterly to be forsaken..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Maize - pages 81-83.

"Frumentum Indicum. Turky Wheat.
...Turky wheat doth nourish far lesse than either wheat, rie, barley, or otes. The bread which is made thereof is meanly white, without bran: it is hard and dry as Bisket is, and hath in it no clamminesse at all; for which cause it is of hard digestion, and yeeldeth to the body little or no nourishment... a more conuenient food for swine than for men."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Mandrake - pages 351-353.

"Mandragora. Mandrake.
...The Apples are milder, and are reported that they may be eaten, being boyled with pepper and other hot spices."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Marigold - pages 738-741.

"Calendula. Marigold.
The yellow leaues of the floures are dried and kept throughout Dutchland against Winter, to put into broths, in physicall potions, and for diuers other purposes, in such quantity, that in some Grocers or Spice-sellers houses are to be found barrels filled with them, and retailed by the penny more or lesse, insomuch that no broths are well made without dried Marigolds."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Marjoram - pages 663-665.

" Mariorana. Marierome.
The leaues are excellent good to be put into all odoriferous ointments, waters, pouders, broths, and meates."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Medlar - pages 1453-1455.

"Mespilus sativa. Of the Medlar Tree.
Medlars do stop the belly, especially when they be greene and hard, for after that they haue been kept a while, so that they become soft and tender, they doe not binde or stop so much, but are then more fit to be eaten.
The fruit of the three grain Medlar [Mespilus Aronia], is eaten both raw and boiled, and is more wholesome for the stomacke.
These Medlars be oftentimes preserued with sugar or hony: and being so prepared they are pleasant and delightfull to the taste."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Melons or Pompions - pages 918-921.

" Pepo... Melons, or Pompions.
The pulpe of the Pompion is neuer eaten raw, but boiled... The fruit boiled in milke and buttered, is not onely a good wholesome meat for mans body, but being so prepare, is also a most physicall medicine for such as haue an hot stomacke... The flesh or pulpe of the same sliced and fried in a pan with butter, is also a good and wholesome meat: but baked with apples in an ouen, it doth fil the body with flatuous or windie belchings, and is food vtterly vnwholesome for such as liue idlely; but vnto robustious and rustick people nothing hurteth that filleth the belly."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Mint - pages 679-682.

"Mentha. Mints.
Garden Mint taken in meat or drinke warmeth and strengtheneth the stomacke... and causeth good digestion."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Miscellaneous fruits- pages 1547-1556.

"Of diuers sorts of Indian fruits."

1. Cubebs. "Cubibe. The Indiand vse them macerated in wine to excite venerie."

2. "Cocculus Indicus... In England we vse the fruit called Cocculus Indi in pouder mixed with flower, hony, and crummes of bread to catch fish with, it being a numming, soporiferous, or sleeping medicine, causeth the fish to turne vp their bellies, as being sencelesse for a time."

5. "Buna is a fruit of the bignesse of Fagara... They say that in Alexandria they make a certaine very cooling drinke hereof."

9. Bertinus. "Those that accompanied Sir Francis Drake in his voyage about the World, light vpon a certain desert Island, wherein grew many very tall trees, and looking for something amongst these to refresh themselues, amongst others they obserued some bigger than Okes, hauing leaues like those of the Bay tree, thicke and shining, not snipt about the edges; their fruit was longish like to the small Acornes of the Ilex or Holme Oke, but without any cup; yet couered with a thin shell of an ash colour, and somtimes blacke, hauing within it a longish white kernell wrapped in a thin peeling, being without any manifest taste; They when they found it, though much opprest with hunger, yet durst not taste thereof, least it should haue been poisonous: but afterwards comming to the Island Beretina, not far from this, they found it to abound with these trees, & learned that their fruit was not poisonous, but might be eaten. Whereupon afterwards they in want of other victuals, boiled some as they do Pease, and ground others into floure, wherewith they made puddings."

11. Cacao. "The Cacoa is a fruit well knowne in diuers parts of America; for they in some places vse it in stead of money, and to make a drinke, of which, though bitter, they highly esteeme..."

24. "Nucula Indica racemosa. The Indian, or rather Ginny Nut. ...the tree whereof this nut is the fruit growes in Ginny, and is much vsed by the people there, for they presse a liquor forth of the leaues, or else boyle them in water, & this serues them in stead of wine & beare, or at least for a common drink, of the fruit they make bread of a very sweet and pleasant taste."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Molli - pages 1529-1531.

"Molli arboris. Of a kinde of Balme, or Balsame Tree.
The Indians [of Peru] vse to seeth the fruit or berries hereof in water, and by a speciall skill they haue in the boiling, do make a most wholesome wine or drinke, as also a kind of vineger, and sometimes hony; the which are very strange effects, these three things being so contrary in taste."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Mulberry - pages 1507-1508.

"Morus. Of the Mulberrie tree.
These Mulberries taken in meat, and also before meat, do very speedily passe through the belly, by reason of the moisture and slipperinesse of their substance, and make a passage for other meats, as Galen saith. They are good to quench thirst, they stir vp and appetite to meat, they are not hurtfull to the stomacke, but they nourish the body very little, being taken in the second place, or after meat..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Musk Rose - pages 1265-1269.

"Rosa Moschata simplici flore. Of the Muske Roses.
The leaues of the floures eaten in the morning, in manner of a sallad, with oile, vineger and pepper, or any other way according to the appetite and pleasure of them that shall eat it, purge very notably the belly of waterish and cholericke humors, and that mightily... The white leaues stamped in a woodden dish with apeece of Allum and the iuice strained forth into some glased vessell, dried in the shadow, and kept, is the most fine and pleasant yellow colour that may be diuised, not only to limne or wash pictures and Imagerie in books, but also to colour meates and sauces, which notwithstanding the Allum is very wholsome."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Mustard - pages 243-245

"Sinapi sativum. Garden Mustard.
...The seed of Mustard pound with vinger, is an excellent sauce, good to be eaten with any grosse meates either fish or flesh, because it doth helpe digestion, warmeth the stomacke, and prouoketh appetite."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Oats - page 74.

"Avena Vesca. Common Otes. vsed in many countries to make sundry sorts of bread; as in Lancashire, where it is their chiefest bread corne for Iannocks, Hauer cakes, Tharffe cakes, and those which are called generally Oten cakes; and for the most part they call the graine Hauer, whereof they do likewise make drink for want of Barley."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Oister-greene - pages 1566-1571.

"Lichen marinus. Of Lung-wort, or wood Liuer-wort, and Oister-greene.
[9. Sea Girdle and Hangers, a type of seaweed]... This is of a glutinous substance, and a little saltish taste, and diuers haue told me they are good meate, being boiled tender, and so eaten with butter, vinegar, and pepper.

[2.] Oister greene fried with egges and made into a tansie & eaten, is a singular remedy for to strengthen the weaknesse of the backe."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Oke of Jerusalem and Oke of Cappadoccia - pages 1108-1109.

"Botrys [and] Ambrosia. Oke of Jerusalem, and Oke of Cappadoccia.
...It giueth a pleasant taste to flesh that is sodden with it, and eaten with the broth."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Olive - pages 1392-1394.

"Olea sativa. Of the Oliue Tree.
The Oliues which be so ripe as that either they fall off themselues, or be ready to fall... be moderately hot and moist, yet being eaten they yeeld to the body little nourishment. The vnripe oliues are dry and binding. Tose that are preserued in pickle, called Colymbades, do dry vp the ouermuch moisture of the stomacke, they remoue the loathing of meate, stirre vp an appetite; but there is no nourishment at all that is to be looked for in them, much lesse good nourishment."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Onions - pages 169-171.

"Cepa. Onions.
...The Onion being eaten, yea though it be boyled, causeth head-ache, hurteth the eyes, and maketh a man dimme sighted, dulleth the sences, ingendreth windinesse, and prouoketh ouermuch sleepe, especially being eaten raw. ...There is also another small kinde of Onion, called... Scallions... It is vsed to be eaten in sallads."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Orach - pages 325-327.

"Atriplex. Orach.
Dioscorides writeth, That the garden Orach is both moist and cold, and that it is eaten boyled as other sallad herbes are...."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Our Ladies Thistle - pages 1149-1150.

"Carduus Maria. Our Ladies-Thistle.
The tender leaues of Carduus Leucographus, the prickles taken off, are sometimes vsed to bee eaten with other herbes."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Panicke - pages 84-85.

"Panicum. Panick.
...Bread made of Panick nourisheth little, and is cold and dry, very brittle, hauing in it neither clamminess nor fatnesse; and therefore drieth a moist belly."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Papyrus - page 40.

"Papyrus Nilotica. Paper Reed.
...The roots of Paper Reed doe nourish, as may appeare by the people of AEgypt, which do vse to chew them in their mouthes, and swallow downe the juice, finding therein great delight and comfort."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Parsley - pages 1013-1014.

"Apium hortense. Garden Parsley.
The leaues are pleasant in sauces and broth, in which besides that they giue a pleasant taste, they be also singular good to take away stoppings, and to prouoke vrine: which thing the roots likewise do notable performe if they be boiled in broth: they be also delightfull to the taste, and agreeable to the stomacke."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Parsnips - pages 1024-1026.

"Pastinaca latifolia sativa. Garden Parsneps.
The Parsneps nourish more than doe the Turneps or the Carrots... There is a good and pleasant food or bread made of the roots of Parsneps, as my friend Mr. Plat hath set forth in his booke of experiments, which I haue made no triall of, nor meane to do."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Peach - pages 1446-1448.

"Persica alba. Of the Peach tree.
Peaches be cold and moist, and that in the second degree; they haue a juice and also a substance that doth easily putrifie, which yeeldeth no nourishment, but bringeth hurt, especially if they be eaten after other meates; for then they cause the other meates to putrifie. But they are lesse hurtfull if they be taken first; for by reason that they are moist and slippery, they easily and quickly descend; and by making the belly slippery, they cause other meates to slip downe the sooner."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Pear - pages 1455-1459.

"Pyra. Of the Peare tree.
To write of Pears and Apples in particular, would require a particular volume: the stocke or kindred of Pears are not to be numbred: euery country hath his peculiar fruit... Wine made of the iuice of peares called in English, Perry, is soluble, purgeth those that are not accustomed to drinke thereof, especially when it is new; notwithstanding it is as wholsome a drink being taken in small qunatitie as wine; it comforteth and warmeth the stomacke, and causeth good digestion."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Peas - pages 1219-1221.

"Pisum maius. Of Peason.
Galen writeth, that Peason are in their whole substance like vnto Beanes, and be eaten after the same manner that Beans are..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Pease Earth-nut pages 1236-1237.

"Terraeglandes. Of Pease Earth-Nut.
The Nuts of this Pease being boiled and eaten, are hardlier digested than be either Turneps or Parsneps, yet do they nourish no lesse than the Parsneps: they are not so windie as they, they doe more slowly passe through the belly, by reason of their binding qualitie, and being eaten raw they be yet harder of digestion, and do hardlier and slowlier descend."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Peppers - pages 364-366.

"Capsicum. Ginnie or Indian Pepper.
...Ginnie pepper hath the taste of pepper, but not the power or vertue, notwithstanding in Spaine and sundrie parts of the Indies they do vse to dresse their meate therewith, as we doe with Calecute pepper: but (saith my Authour) it hath in it a malicious qualitie, whereby it is an enemy to the liuer and other of the entrails... It is said to die or colour like Saffron; and being receiued in such sort as Saffron is vsually taken, it warmeth the stomacke, and helpeth greatly the digestion of meates."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Plum - pages 1496-1499.

"Prunus Domestica. Of the Plum tree.
Plummes that be ripe and new gathered from the tree, what sort soeuer they are of, do moisten and coole, and yeeld vnto the body very little nourishment, and the same nothing good at all: for as Plummes do very quickly rot, so is also the iuice of them apt to putrifie in the body, and likewise to cause the meat to putrifie which is taken with them... Dried Plums, commonly called Prunes, are wholsomer, and more pleasant to the stomack, they teeld more nonrishment, and better, and such as cannot easily putrifie..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Pine tree - pages 1355-1356.

"Pinus sativa, sive domestica. Of the Pine Tree.
The kernels of these nuts...[?] yeeldeth a thicke and good iuice, and nourisheth much, yet it is not altogether easie of digestion, and therefore it is mixed with preserues, or boyled with sugar."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Pinks - pages 590-597.

"Caryophyllus. Pinks or wilde Gillofloures.
The conserue made of the floures of the Cloue Gillofloure and sugar, is exceeding cordial, and wonderfully aboue measure doth comfort the heart, being eaten now and then."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Pistachio - pages 1436-1437.

"Pistacia. Of Fisticke Nuts.
The kernels of the Fisticke Nuts are oftentimes eaten as be those of the Pine Apples; they be of temperature hot and moist; they are not so easily concocted, but much easier than common nuts... The kernels of Fisticke nuts condited, or made into comfits, with sugar, and eaten, doe procure bodily lust, vnstop the lungs and the brest, are good against the shortnesse of breath, and are an excellent preseruatiue medicine being ministred in wine against the bitings of all manner of wilde beasts."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Pomegranate - pages 1449-1451.

"Malus Granata, siue Punica. Of the Pomegranat tree.
As there be sundry sorts of Apples, Peares, Plums, and such like fruits, so there are two sorts of Pomegranates, the garden and the wilde... the fruit of the garden Pomegranat is of three sorts; one hauing a soure iuyce or liquor; another hauing a very sweet and pleasant liquor, and the third the taste of wine... The iuicie grains of the Pomegranate are good to be eaten, hauing in them a meetly good iuice: they are wholesome for the stomacke..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Poppy - pages 368-371 (last 2 pages are mislabeled 400 & 401).

"Papauer. Garden Poppies.
...This seed, as Galen saith in his booke of the Faculties of nourishments, is good to season bread with; but the white is better than the black. He also addeth, that the same is cold and causeth sleepe, and yeeldeth no commendable nourishment to the body; it is often vsed in comfits, serued at the table with other iunketting dishes. The oile which is pressed out of it is pleasant and delightfull to be eaten, and is taken with bread or any other waies in meat, without any sence of cooling."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Potato - pages 926-928 (See also Sweet Potatos).

"Battata Virginiana, siue Virginianorum, & Pappus. Virginian Potatoes.
The temperature and vertues be referred vnto the common [sweet] Potatoes, being likewise a food, as also a meate for pleasure, equall in goodnesse and wholesomenesse vnto the same, being either rosted in the embers, or boyled and eaten with oyle, vinegar, and pepper, or dressed any other way by the hand of some cunning in cookerie."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Pulse - pages 1208-1211.

"Faba maior hortensis. Of Pulse.
The Beane... is windie meate, although it be neuer so much sodden and dressed any way... And seeing the meale of Beanes is windie, the Beanes themselues if they be boyled whole and eaten are yet much more windie. If they be parched they lose their windinesse, but they are harder of digestion... The blacke Beane is not vsed with vs at all, seeing, as we haue said, it is rare, and sowne oonely in a few mens gardens, who be delighted in varietie and studie of herbes."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Purslane - pages 521-522.

"Portulaca. Purslane.
...Rawe Purslane is much vsed in sallades, with oile, salt, and vineger... The leaues of Purslane either rawe, or boiled, and eaten as sallades, are good for those that haue great heate in their stomackes..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Quince - pages 1451-1453.

"Malus Cotonea. Of the Quince Tree.
Quinces be cold and dry in the second degree, and also very much binding, especially when they be raw: they haue likewise in them a certaine superfluous and excrementall moisture, which will not suffer them to lie long without rotting. they are seldom eaten rawe: being rosted or baked they be more pleasant... Simeon Sethi writeth, that the woman with childe, which eateth many Quinces during the time of her breeding, shall bring forth wise children, and of good vnderstanding.
The Marmalade, or Cotininate, made of Quinces and sugar, is good and profitable for the strengthening of the stomacke, that it may retaine and keepe the meat therein vntill it be perfectly digested... which Cotiniate is made in this manner: Take faire Quinces, pare them, cut them in pieces, and cast away the core, then put vnto euery pound of Quinces a pound of sugar, and to euery pound of sugar a pinte of water: these must bee boiled together ouer a still fire till they be very soft, then let it be strained or rather rubbed through a strainer, or an hairy sieue, which is better, and then set it ouer the fire to boile againe, vntill it be stiffe, and so box it vp, and as it cooleth put thereto a little Rose water, and a few graines of Muske, well mingled together, which will giue a goodly taste vnto the Cotiniat. This is the way to make Marmalade:
Take whole Quinces and boile them in water vntill they be as soft as a scalded codling or apple, then pill off the skin, and cut off the flesh, and stampe it in a stone mortar; then straine it as you did the Cotiniate; afterward put it into a pan to drie, but not to seeth at all: and vnto euery pound of the flesh of Quinces, put three quarters of a pound of sugar, and in the cooling you may put in rose water and a little Muske, as was said before... Many other excellent, dainty and wholesome confections are to be made of Quinces, as ielly of Quinces, and such odde conceits, which for breuitie sake I do now let passe."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Radish - pages 237-239.

"Raphanus sativus. Radish.
...Radish are eaten raw with bread in stead of other food... for the most part, they are vsed in sauce with meates to procure appetite, and in that sort they ingender blood lesse faulty, than eaten alone or with bread onely..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Ramme - pages 1333-1335.

"Rhamnus. Of Ramme or Harts Thorne.
The leaues and buds or young shoots of the first [Rhamnus Clusii flo. albo], are eaten as sallads with oile, vineger, and salt, at Salamanca and other places of Castile, for they haue a certaine acrimonie and aciditie which are gratefull to the taste."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Rampions - pages 453-456.

"Rapuntium. Rampions, or wilde Bell-floures.
...The roots are especially vsed in sallads, being boiled and eaten with oile, vinegar, and pepper."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Rape-Cole - pages 317-318

"Caulorapum rotundum. Of Rape-Cole.
There is nothing set downe of the faculties of these plants, but are accounted for daintie meate, contending with the Cabbage Cole in goodnesse and pleasant taste."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Rice - pages 79-80.

"Oryza. Rice.
...In England we vse to make with milke and Rice a certaine food or pottage, which doth both meanly binde the belly, and also nourish. Many other good kindes of food is made with this graine, as those that are skilfull in cookerie can tell."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Rocket - pages 246-248.

"Eruca satiua. Rocket.
...Rocket is a good sallet herbe, if it be eaten with Lettuce, Purslane, and such cold herbes..."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Rose - pages 1259-1265.

"Rosa. Of Roses.
The distilled water of roses... being put into iunketting dishes, cakes, sauces, and many other pleasant things, giueth a fine and delectable taste...
The conserue of Roses... is thus made: Take the leaues [petals] of Roses, the nails cut off, one pound, put them into a clean pan; then put thereto a pinte and a halfe of scalding water, stirring them together with a woodden slice, so let them stand to mascerate, close couered some two or three houres; then set them to the fire slowly to boyle, adding thereto three pounds of sugar in powder, letting them to samper together according to discretion, some houre or more; then keepe it for your vse.
The same made another way, but better by many degrees: take Roses at your pleasure, put them to boyle in faire water, hauing regard to the quantity; for if you haue many roses, you may take the more water; if fewer, the lesse water will serue: the which you shall boyle at the least three or foure houres, euen as you would boyle a piece of meat, vntill in the eating they be very tender, at which time the roses will lose their colour, that you would thinke your labour lost, and the thing spoyled. But proceed, for though the Roses haue lost their colour, the water hath gotten the tincture thereof; then shall you adde vnto one pound of Roses, foure pound of fine sugar in pure powder, and so according to the rest of the roses. Thus shall you let them boyle gently after the Sugar is put therto, continually stirring it with a woodden Spatula vntill it be cold, whereof one pound weight is worth six pound of the crude or raw conserue, as well for the vertues and goodnesse in taste, as also for the beautifull colour.
The making of the crude or raw conserue is very well knowne, as also Sugar roset, and diuers other pretty things made of roses and sugar, which are impertent vnto our historie, because I intend neither to make thereof an Apothecaries shop, nor a Sugar bakers storehouse, leauing the rest for our cunning confectioners."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Rosemary - pages 1292-1294.

"Rosmarinum Coronarium. Of Rosemarie.
Tragus writeth, that Rosemarie is spice in the Germane Kitchins, and other cold countries... The floures made vp into plates with sugar after the manner of Sugar Roset and eaten, comfort the heart, and make it merry, quicken the spirits, and make them more liuely."

Return to [Plant List - M to R]

Home Page

Culinary History Links

Historic recipes for mead and ginger beer, and pears in wine sauce.

Please email comments to cindy at

This page was last modified on March 16, 2006.