Pickled red beets from the Oeconomia

It’s winter – I like beets.

(marginalia: to keep red beets over the winter)

[…] Beta rubea, red beets (rothe rüben oder rothe Behß), there are also white beets with which you feed pigs, but you pickle the red ones. You first wash them clean, then you boil them in a cauldron until the skin comes off and cut them into slices. Then you cut horseradish into it and strew it with caraway and pour over it half wine and half vinegar until they are all covered. They must not float upward, but be weighted down..


To pickle red beets

(marginalia: to pickle red beets)

You first cook them whole in water, then peel off their skins and cut them in broad slices like taler (silver coins). You cut horseradish very small in cubes and strew it on, pour over cold vinegar, and strew caraway on top.

(p. 232)

I am not completely sure why the book gives two very similar recipes a bare three sentences apart (the intervening space is dedicated to a superficial mention of turnips), but I suspect the first is for preservation, the second for more immediate consumption. Given that Coler was more of a compiler than an original author, though, it is quite possible this repetition simply slipped by in the editing process.

Johann Coler’s Oeconomia ruralis et domestica was a popular book on the topic of managing a wealthy household. It is based largely on previous writings by Coler and first appeared between 1596 and 1601. Repeatedly reprinted for decades, it became one of the most influential early works of Hausväterliteratur. I am working from a 1645 edition.

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