Method

Use 1 lb of sugar for 5 lemons. Use the sugar to scrape off the lemon zest. Squeeze the juice, mix with finely ground sugar, and let stand for 24 hours. The next day bring the juice to a boil 3 times in a preserving pan, skim, cool, and pour into a jar. If well boiled, this syrup will harden and crystalize. Hold it on a teaspoon while drinking water or tea. Many people who like to drink tea while holding a piece of lump sugar in their mouths use this cider or sherbet instead.

*The word sherbet derives from the Arabic sharbât. According to Alan Davidson, early recipes show that it was “a sweetened drink, flavoured with fruit, vegetables or flowers; it might have a pleasing sweet-acid taste, be cooled with snow, and sometimes be medicinal.” In the United States sherbet now means a fruit ice while in England it means a fizzy confection for children. Ushakov’s modern Russian definition is quite close to the original Arabic (via Turkish), “an Eastern chilled drink of sweetened fruit juice or fruit syrup.” All of this makes Molokhovets’ recipes even more puzzling; they seem closer to current English rather than Russian usage, as if they had developed apart from the rest of the culture. (Davidson, as quoted by Laura Mason in “Dibs, Dabs, Lemons and Love Hearts, ” 31; Ushakov, Tolkovyj slovar’, III, 1333.)

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