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Cookery & Cures of Old Kilkenny. Ireland

Cookery & Cures of Old Kilkenny. Ireland

Photo shows; Ballaghtobin House 1778 Kilkenny, Ireland. Furse bushes and linen from- Agnes H Design.

I came across this recipe in an old book I have had for years. It draws from the past…..and is
a collection of cures and recipes dating back for generations, from hand written diaries and manuscripts collected from the very old houses and castles along the Nore valley, in Co Kilkenny and the book is designed and laid out by Susan Mosse and Susan Taylor.
The earliest Kilkenny recipe goes back as far as the 14th century and is taken from a book called “The Red Book of Ossory, translated by Canon C Adrian, Empey of Kells.
This little book is a lovely piece of Irish heritage, giving great insight into the social history through the generations in Ireland.

The recipe I want to share with you is;

How to wash fine lace or linen;

It reads;
Take a gallon of furse blossom and burn them to ashes. Then boil six quarts of soft water. This when fine, use in washing with suds as occasion may require and the linen etc will not only be exceedingly white but has done with half the soap and little trouble.

Would you take a chance and use this recipe on your white linen?

How did they even think of burning yellow furse ?
and why would you add ashes to the washing?
Is there a science behind it ?
Hope you enjoyed reading and let me know if you have any ideas on the above?
Kindest Regards,
Agnes H