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Gilly-flowers

Vegetables
Historic

General term for sharp-scented flowers used as spicing - cloves, clove-scented pink (Dianthus Caryophyllus), wallflower (Cheiranthus Cheiri) or the white stock (Matthiola incana).


Original Receipt in 'A Queens Delight in The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying', by WM, 1671 (WM 1671)

To make Syrup of Clove-gilly flowers.
Take a quart of water, half a bushel of Flowers, cut off the whites, and with a sieve sift away the seeds, bruise them a little; let your water be boiled, and a little cold again, then put in your Flowers, and let them stand close covered twenty four hours; you may put in but half the flowers at a time, the strength will come out the better; to that liquor put in four pound of Sugar, let it lye in all night, next day boil it in a Gallipot, set it in a pot of water, and there let it boil till all the Sugar be melted and the syrup be pretty thick, then take it out, and let it stand in that till it be through cold, then glass it.



'Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets' by John Evelyn (Evelyn 1699) has: "Flowers, Flores; chiefly of the Aromatick Esculents and Plants are preferrable, as generally endow'd with the Vertues of their Simples, in a more intense degree; and may therefore be eaten alone in their proper Vehicles, or Composition with other Salleting, sprinkl'd among them; But give a more palatable Relish, being Infus'd in Vinegar; Especially those of the Clove-Gillyflower, Elder, Orange, Cowslip, Rosemary, Arch-Angel, Sage, Nasturtium Indicum, &c. Some of them are Pickl'd, and divers of them make also very pleasant and wholsome Theas, as do likewise the Wild Time, Bugloss, Mint, &c."

Polixenes in Shakespeare's 'Winter's Tale' says;
Then make your garden rich in gilly-flowers,
And do not call them bastards.



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