Farther Directions concerning the proper Seasons for the Gathering, Composing, and Dressing of a Sallet.
And First, as to the Season both Plants and Roots are then properly to be Gather’d, and in prime, when most they abound with Juice and in Vigour: Some in the Spring, or a little anticipating it before they Blossom, or are in full Flower: Some in the Autumnal Months; which later Season many prefer, the Sap of the Herb, tho’ not in such exuberance, yet as being then better concocted, and so render’d fit for Salleting, ’till the Spring begins a fresh to put forth new, and tender Shoots and Leaves.
This, indeed, as to the Root, newly taken out of the Ground is true; and therefore should such have their Germination stopt the sooner: The approaching and prevailing Cold, both Maturing and Impregnating them; as does Heat the contrary, which now would but exhaust them: But for those other Esculents and Herbs imploy’d in our Composition of Sallets, the early Spring, and ensuing Months (till they begin to mount, and prepare to Seed) is certainly the most natural, and kindly Season to collect and accommodate them for the Table. Let none then consult Culpeper, or the Figure-flingers, to inform them when the governing Planet is in its Exaltation; but look upon the Plants themselves, and judge of their Vertues by their own Complexions.
Moreover, in Gathering, Respect is to be had to their Proportions, as provided for in the Table under that Head, be the Quality whatsoever: For tho’ there is indeed nothing more wholsome than Lettuce and Mustard for the Head and Eyes; yet either of them eaten in excess, were highly prejudicial to them both: Too much of the first extreamly debilitating and weakning the Ventricle, and hastning the further decay of sickly Teeth; and of the second the Optic Nerves, and Sight it self; the like may be said of all the rest. I conceive therefore, a Prudent Person, well acquainted with the Nature and Properties of Sallet-Herbs, &c. to be both the fittest Gatherer and Composer too; which yet will require no great Cunning, after once he is acquainted with our Table and Catalogue.
We purposely, and in transitu only, take notice here of the Pickl’d, Muriated, or otherwise prepared Herbs; excepting some such Plants, and Proportions of them, as are of hard digestion, and not fit to be eaten altogether Crude, (of which in the Appendix) and among which I reckon Ash-keys, Broom-buds and Pods, Haricos, Gurkems, Olives, Capers, the Buds and Seeds of Nasturtia, Young Wall-nuts, Pine-apples, Eringo, Cherries, Cornelians, Berberries,