The Stalk is Blanch’d in Autumn, and the Pith eaten raw or boil’d. The way of preserving them fresh all Winter, is by separating the Bottoms from the Leaves, and after Parboiling, allowing to every Bottom, a small earthen glaz’d Pot; burying it all over in fresh melted Butter, as they do Wild-Fowl, _&c._ Or if more than one, in a larger Pot, in the same Bed and Covering, Layer upon Layer.
They are also preserv’d by stringing them on Pack-thread, a clean Paper being put between every Bottom, to hinder them from touching one another, and so hung up in a dry place. They are likewise Pickl’d.
’Tis not very long since this noble Thistle came first into Italy, Improv’d to this Magnitude by Culture; and so rare in England, that they were commonly sold for Crowns a piece: But what Carthage yearly spent in them (as Pliny computes the Sum) amounted to Sestertia Sena Millia, 30000 l. Sterling.
Note, That the Spanish Cardon, a wild and smaller Artichoak, with sharp pointed Leaves, and lesser Head; the Stalks being Blanch’d and tender, are serv’d-up a la Poiverade (that is with Oyl, Pepper, &c.) as the French term is.
3. Basil, Ocimum (as Baulm) imparts a grateful Flavour, if not too strong, somewhat offensive to the Eyes; and therefore the tender Tops to be very sparingly us’d in our Sallet.
4. Baulm, Melissa, Baum, hot and dry, Cordial and exhilarating, sovereign for the Brain, strengthning the Memory, and powerfully chasing away Melancholy. The tender Leaves are us’d in Composition with other Herbs; and the Sprigs fresh gather’d, put into Wine or other Drinks, during the heat of Summer, give it a marvellous quickness: This noble Plant yields an incomparable Wine, made as is that of Cowslip-Flowers.
5. Beet, Beta; of which there is both Red, Black, and White: The Costa, or Rib of the White Beet (by the French call’d the Chard) being boil’d, melts, and eats like Marrow. And the Roots (especially of the Red) cut into thin slices, boil’d, when cold, is of it self a grateful winter Sallet; or being mingl’d with other Oluscula, Oyl, Vinegar, Salt, &c. ’Tis of quality Cold and Moist, and naturally somewhat Laxative: But however by the Epigrammatist stil’d Foolish and Insipid, as Innocentior quam Olus (for so the Learned _Harduin_ reads the place) ’tis by Diphilus of old, and others since, preferr’d before Cabbage as of better Nourishment: Martial (not unlearn’d in the Art of Sallet) commends it with Wine and Pepper: He names it indeed—Fabrorum prandia, for its being so vulgar. But eaten with Oyl and Vinegar, as usually, it is no despicable Sallet. There is a Beet growing near the Sea, which is the most delicate of all. The Roots of the Red Beet, pared into thin Slices and Circles, are by the French and Italians contriv’d into curious Figures to adorn their Sallets.