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Sauerkraut history - lost in translation

This is taken from Das Ackerwerk by Lucii Columellae and Palladii (1536) - an ancient Roman text.  It is clear that it is a translation of the Latin text "De Re Rustica", and there is some difficulty with the translator identifying the original plants.    One of the big problems is that looking up some of the plant names in 16th century herbals give poisonous plants (note the *)!  However, there is a 1725 English version here, which sounds like it has translated the terms more reasonably:
http://books.google.com/books?id=qcNbAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=agriculture+columella&hl=en&sa=X&ei=X5ovUo_yGOHNiwLrj4HQCg&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=cabbage&f=false
But I note that it differs from the German (the English version has more words for one).  These may well be differences in how the original translators handled the text.  But at any rate, pickled cabbage seems to be of some antiquity.  It may be fun to look at the original latin and the French version.  Read the English version - it has interesting bits, including the manner of preparing the brine!



Which plants one lays in for each quarter of the year / and how the same should be marinated /
The Seventh Chapter

As now such that is ready to be prepared / one should in Spring (when day and night
are similar) plants for such usage are collected and held/
such as are / cabbage buds and stems / head cabbage / celery stalks / rue/
"horse fennel" with its stalk when it emerges/ flower from
wild parsnips / or also the cultivated parsnip buds /
the flowers from wild tarrgon when they have bolted / asparagus / rushes
pennyroyal / catmint / wild mangold / buttercups*/ and the tender buds
of fennel.  These things one may prepare in a singular way that is
that one takes two parts vinegar / and one part salt water.  But the flowers
of the byrony* / rushes / asparagus/ parsnips and catmint / these one
may especially lay in and sprinkle with salt and hold for two days in
the shade / until they become sweaty / then one lays them in / and if they
make too much moisture / then one washes them off with their own liquid
if not / one should pour over as much saltwater / and wash them / then one
presses the water back out / and lays each kind in its own dish and
pours the above written liquid over them of two parts vinegar and one part
saltwater / then one lays dried fennel that was gathered the previous autumn /
thereon / then one lays a weight on the greens so that they are pressed
beneath it / and the liquid goes over the greens.  When the "horse fennel" /
fennel (ferulam) and ordinary fennel / so lay it in the shade until it becomes
wilted / then pull from them all the leaves and wood / and if the stems are
larger than a thumb / so split them with a tube into 2 parts / and of the
flowers so that they are not too thick one should also pull them from one
another and part them / and then lay them in a dish / the above written liquid
poured over them / also sometimes spread well over it laser or silphium root /
and lastly cover it with dried fennel greens and weigh it down so the liquid goes
over it / cabbages / head cabbage / buttercups* and pennyroyal / one should
let them lay in the shade somewhat long until they become wilted / and then
marinate them like savory / thyme / tarragon.  Or rather lay tarragon only in salt water
without vinegar / then when one would have need of it / wash it with wine
or water / pour oil over it and eat it.  One may also marinate and keep green savory
and green thyme.

* poisonous

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
gargoyal3
Sep. 11th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
Rue is also poison.
jillwheezul
Sep. 11th, 2013 12:41 am (UTC)
I wouldn't eat it! But clearly it was used as a condiment and herb in times past and had medicinal uses. One still sees it for sale on the internet. It seems that the translation may be right though. I'd approach all of the items with caution - even the cabbage! I wouldn't want anyone to get sick.
fjorlief
Sep. 11th, 2013 03:35 am (UTC)
interesting that they suggest using dried fennel to hold the things down in the brine, am wondering if they mean the stalks rather than the feathery leaves, as suggested in the other translation you linked to...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )