Apple drink from the Oeconomia

Not exactly in season, but interesting.

To make apple drink (Oepffeltranck)

(marginalia: to make a drink of apples)

Take apples that are neither too sour nor too sweet, peel them and press them out well. Place the pressed juice into a tun and take it into a cellar. Also take sour crabapples (Holzöpffel) and roast them, peel of their skins and lay them into the tun. Thus it ferments and rises (stöst auf) like wine. In summer, you will have a hearty drink that tastes pleasant, cools, and refreshes you nicely. Thus people do in Livonia and Courland, and many among them lay in 10 or 12 tuns or even 20. It tastes just like wine. People drink themselves silly with it because of that. But one must also drink beer inbetween so that the stomach does not get cooled too much. Sweet apples do not serve for this, and you must also not add water like peasants do, but only take the plain, pure juice of the apples.

(Book IV, page 208)

This is an interesting take on apple wine which we today consider typical of the Southwest, but he considers at home in the Eastern Baltic. Even more interesting, the drink he so readily dismisses here is described more approvingly in Book II, page 27:

The ancient Germans (die Alten Teutschen) also made a cooling drink of sour, broken-up crabapples and cool well water as they still do in many places and leave it to stand together in a small barrel for several days. Then they drink it together with their children in the heat so that it nicely quenches their thirst. But as one says of other things, it also applies here: Moderation is good in all things.

I don’t think this is going to have any appreciable alcohol content, and it may just be something I will try out.

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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