Thursday, May 6, 2021

Victorian America's Strawberries by Kristin Holt

 

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries
 

by USA Today Bestselling Author Kristin Holt

 

Victorian America's Strawberries

Strawberries are abundant and lauded throughout Victorian-era cook books and newspapers. Since well before Victoria gained the throne, strawberries have been a seasonal favorite. 

Restaurants served strawberries. 

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Custom hosue Hotel serves strawberries and cream. Advertised in The Evening Post of New York, New York, May 3, 1837.
Proudly serving strawberries and cream! The Evening Post, New York, NY, May 3, 1837.

Even fund-raisers included fresh strawberries!

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. The Young Ladies Missionary Society will give a strawberry and ice cream festival.... The Elyria Democrat of Elyria, Ohio, May 31, 1888.
Victorian cooks prepared a variety of dishes with the berries in season. Just as importantly, housekeepers diligently preserved strawberries for off-season use.

Let's see what Victorian Americans did with strawberries!

Successful Victorian Strawberry Patches

This first article comes all the way from Victoria's coronation year, 1837. Notice the vintage tips to ensure an abundant crop!

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Tips for growing strawberries, from The Pittsfield Sun of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, May 4, 1837.
Strategies for growing strawberries, from The Pittsfield Sun, Pittsfield MA, May 4, 1837.

Growing wisdom continued in newspapers, throughout the Victorian era.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Management of Strawberry plants, from The Inter Ocean of Chicago, Illinois. December 2, 1875.
Management of Strawberry Plants; The Inter Ocean of Chicago, Illinois. December 2, 1875.

This 1881 article encourages the planting of more than one variety of strawberries. Science at work!

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. To produce larger crops and finer berries, plant several varieties in one bed. Science explained! From The Weekly Star and Kansan of Independence, Kansas, October 13, 1881.
Plant a variety! The Weekly Star and Kansan of Independence, KS. October 13, 1881.

Victorian America's Strawberry Recipes

Victorians feasted on strawberries in season. I'll show you their preserves recipes, too, below.

So, what did Victorian housekeepers (a.k.a. homemaker) do with fresh strawberries?

Victorian Fresh Strawberry Recipes

Serve with sugar and lemon.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Italian Mode of Preparing Strawberries. Sunbury American of Sunbury, Pennsylvania on January 2, 1841.
Victorians adored jellied desserts. It's no surprise that cooks incorporated fresh strawberries into a moulded dessert.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Strawberry Jelly Mould recipe from The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-Cook, and Baker, published 1844.
The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-Cook, and Baker, Published 1844.

Oooh! Ice Cream! An at-home Victorian favorite, and also available in ice cream parlors about town.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe, using fresh berries, from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book Supplement, 1846.
Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, published 1846.


Another strawberry ice cream.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream from The Modern Housewife Menagerie, Nearly 1,000 Receipts, published 1851.
 
This "strawberry cream" recipe, known in the Victorian-era as Strawberry Whisk, sounds incredible. Even better than strawberry ice cream--and for this ice cream fan, that's saying something.


Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. (Currant, Raspberry, or) Strawberry Whisk Recipe, using fresh berries, from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book Supplement, 1846.
Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, published 1846.

 

Or freeze a strawberry ice without cream, altogether.

 
Let's not forget PIE! Victorians adored pies, including berry pies. Notice one of these cooks the berries, and the other doesn't.
 

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Fresh Berry Pies, including strawberry, from Beedle's Dime Cook Book, published 1864.


Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Ripe Fruit-Pies, including Strawberry. From The new Housekeeper's Manual, Published 1873.
The New Housekeeper's Manual, Published 1873.


Strawberry sauce for baked puddings. Ooh, this sounds good.


Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Strawberry Sauce Recipe, to be served with baked puddings. From Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving, Published 1877.
Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving, Published 1877.
 
 
Don't forget the Strawberry Shortcake!
 
Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Two strawberry shortcake recipes from: Practical Receipts of Experienced Housekeepers, Seventh Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati, published 1874.
Practical Receipts of Experienced Housekeepers, Compiled by the Ladies of the Seventh Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati. Published 1874.


Here's another baked strawberry pie recipe, with a Cream (Raspberry or) Strawberry Tart.


Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Strawberry Pie, Strawbery Tart recipes. From Common Sense in the Household; A Manual of Practical Housewifery, published 1879.
Common Sense in the Household; A Manual of Practical Housewifery, Published 1879.

It's no surprise that Strawberry Shortcake remained popular through the turn of the twentieth century.... and beyond!


Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Recipe for Strawberry Shortcake, from The Boston Globe of Boston, Massachusetts. May 8, 1895.

Victorian Strawberry Preserves

Raspberries and Strawberries are magical in that natural fruit pectin causes the cooked fruit and sugar to set up. Made with mashed fruit, jam results. If the pulp is strained and only the juices are jellied, jelly results. Unless we're talking about a jelly. Different thing. Mostly.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. (Raspberry or) Strawberry Jam Recipe from an 1846 publication: Valuable Receipts, or Secrets Revealed.

Below, Godey's Lady's Book published recipes for Strawberry Preserves, Strawberry Jelly, and Strawberry Jam.
 

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Recipes for Strawberry Preserves, Strawberry Jelly, and Strawberry Jam. From Godey's Lady's Book Receipts and Household Hints, published 1870.
Godey's Lady's Book Receipts and Household Hints, Published 1870.

We're cooking fancy now! Below, an 1871 recipe (or receipt) for preserving (notice bottles, but no lids) whole strawberries. They'd be a treat come January.

 

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Whole Strawberry Preserves (bottled). From Mrs. Porter's New Southern Cookery Book, Published 1871.
Mrs. Porter's New Southern Cookery Book, Published 1871.
  

...including Beverages 

Miss Catharine Beecher included the following Royal Strawberry Acid. A tasty beverage for invalids and the well alike.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Recipe for Royal Strawberry Acid beverage, from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book Supplement, published 1846.
Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, 1846.

Tea and coffee were staples in Victorian America, but that didn't prevent folks from looking for alternatives. Some options were medicinal, others were used out of desperation, and others simply because they tasted good.

 

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Substitutes for Tea: Raspberry leaves "make a very good substitute for tea..." The American Family Matron on Practical and Scientific Cooking, published 1851.
Don't forget the Strawberry Wine and Strawberry Cordials!

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. Recipes for Strawberry Wine and also for Strawberry Cordial, both from fresh berries. Published in 1878 in Housekeeping in Old Virginia.
Housekeeping in Old Virginia, published 1878.

Strawberries: To Wash, or Not 

Most nineteenth-century cook books and newspaper articles instructed cooks to not wash their berries. Apparently all the flavor would escape in the wash water.

I did find at least one dissenting vote to the no-washing rule.

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Strawberries. While most recipes and cook books from the nineteenth century tell cooks *not* to wash their berries, an occasional voice argued for washing. From The Columbian Cook Book, Containing Reliable Rules for Plain and Fancy Cooking, published 1892, also Housekeeping in Old Virginia, Published 1878.
Housekeeping in Old Virginia, published 1878 AND The Columbian Cook Book, published 1892.

I'm off to buy fresh berries, in season, and whip up a Victorian-inspired Strawberry Whisk!

Invitation

With so many delicious strawberry recipes, do any call to you to adjust for contemporary baking?

Did you learn something new?

Please scroll down and comment.

Related Articles

Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Crabapple Jelly and Preserves

Kristin Holt | Historic Pie Recipes

Kristin Holt | Ice Cream: Comfort Food, Then & Now

Kristin Holt | Victorian Rice Pudding Recipes

Kristin Holt | Nutmeg and Victorian Baking

Kristin Holt | Victorian-American Christmas Figgy (or Plum) Pudding

Kristin Holt | Victorian Coffee

Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts

Kristin Holt | Old West Mason Jars

Kristin Holt | How to Make Vinegar Like a Victorian

Kristin Holt | Lemon Cookies Recipe 1895

Kristin Holt | Victorian Era: The American West

Copyright © 2021 Kristin Holt LC

No comments:

Post a Comment