Pickling cooked gamebirds from the Oeconomia

Remember when I said no more meat preservation? I lied.

By request of a friend: How to preserve poultry.

How you should keep roast poultry through Lent until after Easter

(marginalia: Roast poultry, how it is to be kept long)

If you would know how to keep all kinds of poultry through Lent until after Easter, be it of partridges, woodcocks, large or small birds, roast them on as a spit and when they are roasted, draw them off the spit and take white wheaten bread (Semmel) and gingerbread (Pfefferkuchen) and pour wine or sweet small beer (süsse Langweil) into a pot and lay the grated gingerbread in it. Thus you can prepare it, let it boil well and when it has boiled, pass it through a sieve and put it into a clean pot again. Set it by the fire and add sugar or honey, and give it a sour savour, season it well with pepper and saffron and salt it, and taste it for proper measure. When it has boiled with the spices, set it by the fire so that it cools. Take warm table beer (Tischbier) and wash the poultry with it, and take a small cask (according to how much poultry you have) that is made properly for this purpose (or: specifically for this? gerecht ist dazu gemacht) and lay the birds into it. When it is full, let the bottom (the top lid) be affixed again on top and let it be closed (zuschlagen, literally beaten shut) firmly. Drill a small hole into that same lid and take a small funnel and fill it with the cold liquid (Soth) so that it is quite full. Close it with a bung, and when it has settled, draw it off again (after?) a day or two and fill it again with the liquid and stop it up again (klopffe es wider feste zu). And after it has stood thus for eight days, draw off the liquid cleanly and put it into a pot. Set it on the fire, refresh it with wine and skim it cleanly, and let it cool again. Fill it back into the cask, stop it up firmly and put it somewhere into a cool room. Turn it over frequently, and when you wish to use it, take as much as you require out of the cask, refresh it again as is described above with wine and all kinds of spices, add large or small raisins and serve it cold or warm, as you think best.

Book 3. p. 67 (p 216 in the pdf)

This is not really in the same category of the previous meat preservation recipes. Here, a finished dish is preserved to be served at need. The recipe may owe its origin to the problem of dealing with game killed during Lent. Especially in years when Easter fell early, this would have been a good time for hunting, but of course the meat could not legally be eaten. Coler more likely includes it for being good housekeeping practice and an effective humblebrag; Serving an unexpected visitor gamefowl, preserved in spiced wine sauces, on short notice showed off your resources as effectively as any parlour ceiling full of hams and sausages. As a Lutheran cleric, Coler was not obligated to observe Lent.

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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