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Harleian MS 279 Whyte wortes (~1430) White Wortes- Greens Creamed with Almond Milk

Whyte Wortes
Whyte Wortes is the last in the series of vegetable pottages that do not include additional meat. I did not use the plethora of herbs for iij. Joutes which the recipe refers to, but instead chose to use the common greens referred to in .j. Lange Wortys de chare. Once again, we are instructed to boil the greens before adding them to the broth component, in this case, almond milk thickened with rice. Boiling the greens before adding them to the broth removes the bitter properties and makes it very easy for the pottage to come together after they have been drained.

My teen age non SCA taste testers were unsure if they wanted to try this dish. Many of them expressed a dislike of cabbage and kale.  However, after coaxing them into taste testing a spoonful I received comments such as "This is GOOD!" and "I wish my mom would cook cabbage like this". When asked if they would eat it again, there was a resounding "yes". This definitely goes to my list of "things to make at a future feast" for the SCA.

Recipe retreived from "Two fifteenth-century cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55" Thomas Austin

.v. Whyte wortes.—Take of þe erbys lyke as þou dede for jouutes, and sethe hem in [supplied by ed.] water tyl þey ben neyshe; þanne take hem vp, an bryse hem fayre on a bord, as drye as þow may; þan choppe hem smale, an caste hem on a potte, an ley hem with flowre of Rys; take mylke of almaundys, an cast þer-to, & hony, nowt to moche, þat it be nowt to swete, an safron & salt; an serue it forth ynne, ryȝth for a good potage.

5. White wortes --Take of the herbs like as thou did for Joutes, and boil them in water till they be soft; then take them up, an bruise them fair on a board, as dry as you may; than chop them small, an cast them on a pot, an lay them with flour of Rice; take milk of almonds, an caste there-to, and honey, not too much, that it be not too sweet, an saffron & salt; an serve it forth in, right for a good pottage.

Interpreted Recipe                                                             Serves One as a Main, 2-3 as a Side

Handful of herbs and greens per iij. Joutes or .j. Lange Wortys de chare (I used cabbage and kale)
Rice flour, Almond milk, Cabbage, Kale.
Not Pictured: Salt, Saffron, Honey  

1 cup Almond Milk
2-3 Tbsp. Rice flour (I like my pottages a bit thicker)                

1/2 tsp. Honey
Pinch of Saffron
Salt to taste

Wash, pick, dry and chop your greens into bite sized pieces. Boil them in water until tender (approximately ten minutes), then drain and press them in a dry towel until dry.  Greens tend to act like little sponges, so do not be surprised at the amount of water that will be released.  

While the greens are cooking in the plain water, heat the almond milk on medium heat, add saffron, salt, honey and rice flour.  Thicken to taste.  Add drained greens to almond milk, cook for a few more minutes and serve. 

Whyte Wortes


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