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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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The name sucket has been used for various confections. It is derived from now extinct French and Italian terms, succade and succata, meaning ‘juicy’ (modern French sucette means ‘lollipop’ and Italian succo, ‘juice’). It was first used in English for an imported sweet, candied orange or lemon peel. From the mid-16th century suckets were made in Britain from local fruits, vegetables, and roots of many kinds. At this time no one understood what caused things to decay, and there was no attempt to sterilize containers. Only a severe treatment, involving prolonged boiling in syrup to concentrate it, had any chance of success. Sometimes things which were made into suckets were salted before they were put into the syrup. Unripe fruits were used—a convenient way of saving fruits such as apricots or peaches which failed to ripen in a bad summer. Other things included citrus peel from fresh imported fruits, and later, as skill grew, pieces of citrus fruit; green walnuts; some vegetables such as angelica stalks; and various roots including those of alexanders, borage, elecampane, eringo root (popular well into the 19th century), fennel, and parsley. Many of these were credited with medicinal properties.