Bottling It Up

In times of emergency, emergency measures must be used, and in wartime it is very important to lay in stores in the autumn when fruits are more plentiful, to help us through the winter when there are no fresh fruits available. Preserved fruits and vegetables are not so good as fresh ones, but they are a great deal better than none at all and provide interest and variety in the winter menu, as well as mineral salts.

 Parsley Honey

5ozs parsley
1lb sugar
1½ pints water
½ teaspoon vinegar

Wash parsley, dry and chop up roughly. Put in a pan with 1½ pints of water, and boil until it reduces to one pint. Strain and add 1 lb. sugar and boil until it is syrupy (like honey) for about 20 minutes. Then add ½ teaspoon of vinegar. This “jells” by the next day, and tastes remarkably like honey.  😉

Rhubarb Jam Without Sugar

To every pound of fruit allow ½lb of dates. Wash the rhubarb, chop it, and put it in the preserving pan and heat slowly, stirring well to draw out the juice. Wash and stone the dates. Add to the fruit and simmer very gently for 45 minutes. Put immediately into clean, hot, dry jars, and tie on parchment covers at once.
This recipe is equally good with any other fresh fruit.


Wartime Mayonnaise


2 oz. margarine
3 tablespoons brown sugar
I tablespoon wholewheat flour
1/2 pint milk
1 teaspoon mustard, if liked
1 egg (or prepared dried egg)
Raw cooking apple juice or raw gooseberry juice or about 1/4 pint best vinegar

Place margarine and flour in double saucepan and allow to melt, stirring well together. Pull saucepan off fire and add sugar and mustard and well-beaten egg. Return to fire and add milk gradually, stirring all the time.
When thickened to custard consistency add the fruit juice or vinegar drop by drop, stirring well all the time.
Pour into glass jars. Will keep about one week in a cool place.


Wartime Múesli

Dr. Bircher-Benner was a marvelous healer, and one of his strongest beliefs was in the value of raw food in these days when so much that we eat is processed and refined and treated to such an extent that it loses much that is essential to us. He cured a great deal of disease by the practical application of his beliefs.

One of his most popular dishes is Muesli. Anyone who has never tried this may think that they could not possibly eat anything containing raw oatmeal and the whole apple,
including the core. They should, however, try it before condemning it, as Múesli is a delicious dish, even when modified to suit wartime shortages. The pips, skin and
cores of apples contain valuable health salts, otherwise lost. If grated properly, the skin, etc., of the apple is not at all apparent. The raw oatmeal helps to produce a
creamy consistency of a palatable nature.

To Prepare Múesli (enough for one person)

1 tablespoon best quality rolled oats soaked overnight in
3 tablespoons cold water
1 large apple (or 2 small ones)
1 teaspoon honey, or black treacle, .or sweetened condensed milk
1 dessertspoon sieved blackcurrant purée, or raw blackberry juice, or other raw juice, or bottled lemon juice
1 dessertspoon chopped nuts, if available
I dessertspoon chopped figs, prunes or raisins
1 tablespoon top milk, if available, or just plain milk
Just before serving, grate the apple into the soaked oats, skin, pips and core. (The apple should be first wiped, and any damaged parts or marks cut out, particularly noting if the core is damaged). Stir in the honey and raisins, put in a fruit saucer, pour top milk over, put
blackcurrant purée on top, and sprinkle nuts over it.
It is generally preferred, with flavourings so scarce, not to use both black treacle and sieved blackcurrants on the same day, e.g., if black treacle is used, then flavour with
bottled lemon juice; while, if blackcurrant purée is available, sweeten with condensed milk.


In a Jam?

Jam seems to have gone out of fashion. What ever happened to the jam sandwich? During the war children were encouraged to forage for food in the hedgerows to make jams and jellies. Here are three wartime recipes for you to try.

Rose Hip Jam

5½lb fresh rose hips
3½ pints water
Wash the fresh hips in lukewarm water, top and tail them and boil in a stainless steel or un-chipped enamel pan (not aluminium) for 15 minutes. Rub through a sieve and to each pound of pulp allow ½ lb sugar. Bring up to the boil again and cook for 10 minutes. Put up in stone jars for preference and when cool cover the tops of the jars with castor sugar. Then cover in the usual way. If glass jars are used, keep in the dark. The vitamin content is kept for between three and four months.

Crab Apple Marmalade

Crab Apples
Orange peel

Wash the crab apples and cut them in quarters, removing any damaged parts, but leaving on the skin and cores. Put into a large enamel pan, cover with cold water and boil gently until reduced to a pulp. Strain pulp through a muslin bag. Meanwhile, thinly slice the peel from three or four sweet oranges. Simmer this gently in enough water barely to cover it, for about ½ hour. Add this to the strained juice from the crab apples. The proportions should be, roughly, two pints crab apple juice to one pint orange peel and water. Bring the crab apple juice and orange peel water to the boil and to three pints of the mixture add 3 lbs sugar, and boil gently until it sets when tested on a plate (about 20 minutes). Put into warmed jars and cover as soon as it is cold. If no orange peel is available the crab apple jelly is delicious by itself.

Hawthorn Jelly

Berries from the hawthorn tree

Pick enough of the ripe red berries to fill a large pan, about 3-4 lbs. wash thoroughly and remove leaves and twigs, but it does not matter about the little stalks. Allow ½ pint water to each pound of berries, and put on the saucepan lid. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until quite soft, mashing with a wooden spoon to break up all the fruit. Strain through a jelly bag. Measure the juice, and to each pint allow 1 lb sugar. Bring to the boil again, add the sugar and boil until a little sets when tested on a plate about 20-30 minutes. Stirring with a wooden spoon. It is not a very firm jelly.


Vegetable Ragout

3ozs  margarine
1 pint vegetable stock (or water)
1 tablespoon flour
12 spring onions
A few French beans
½ pint peas
2 sprigs mint
6 small carrots
1lb. small new potatoes
2 turnips

Peel the onions and cut into pieces, using some of the green part as well. Scrub the carrots, peel the turnips,
and cut both into small pieces. Scrape the potatoes, put all into a saucepan with the margarine, and stir over heat
for five or 10 minutes, but do not brown. Add the flour, stirring it in well, then the stock, peas, beans and mint,
and cook until all the vegetables are tender.


Lettuce Sandwiches

Nothing was wasted during the war, items that we would normally discard today were used as this recipe from 1942 demonstrates. Do have another sandwich, vicar.

*Yeasrel was yeast extract. The nearest equivalents we have today would be Marmite or Vegemite.

Lettuce leaves
Brown bread and butter

Wash lettuce thoroughly, dry, and chop up fairly small. If the lettuce is chopped up, it is possible to get a great deal more into the sandwich. It is also possible to use for sand- wiches some of the outer leaves that are not quite so attractive in a salad. These leaves are particularly rich in salts, but do not use leaves that are actually tough or bitter..

Spread half the bread and butter with a little Yeastrel, pile as much lettuce as convenient into the bread, cover with another slice of bread and butter, press down, and cut into four.


Wartime Cream

Cream was rationed during the war and was not generally available, unless you had space for your own cow! Several ingenious recipes exist for “Cream Substitues”.

1/4 Pint of Milk

1 Dessertspoon of Cornflour

1/2 Teaspoon Castor Sugar

1 oz Margarine

Flavouring: Vanilla Essence, Banana Essence etc.

Make a stiff Cornflour paste with Milk, then boil for 3 minutes and allow to get cool. Cream Margarine and Sugar, gradually add Cornflour mixture and flavouring.

For a richer looking cream use a yellow flavouring such as banana.