Wednesday, April 30, 2003, 1:11:28 AM, you wrote:
KE> I was wondering if anyone had any information on period Russian herbs,
KE> specifically in the area around Kiev? I am getting ready to start an herb
KE> garden and thought I would take the chance to use as many period herbs as I
KE> can find. Any help anyone could offer would be most appreciated.
WHEN period? early medieval times is one thing, the times of
principality of Lietuva is another. The latter is the time of swift
"westernization" of the region, with recipes, clothes, habits etc
borrowed from Poland.
Anyway, blackcurrant leaves were a very ancient aromatizer (the very
name smorodina comes from the word smrad, strong smell, as its leaves
really have a strong flavor. I met some references to late medieval monastery
kitchen books that mentioned blackcurrant berries/leaves infusions as
a beverage used as tea long before tea was borrowed from China).
I'd say no great difference between Kievan region & other steppe ones.
I was born on the Volga. I saw no great difference in flora of Ukraine
when I was there. Same thyme, same camomille, etc. But herbs were used
for medicine, not in the least for seasoning. They used very little
set of stronger spices, in Kievan Rus they knew mustard (gorushna/gorchitsa),
and in late period even black pepper (from Krimea). To vary the taste
they used rather various set of drinks (kvas & beer).