I tried this before but I finally got my hands on sour oranges (not Seville oranges, maybe next year because I finally know the season and have a source)and decided to try it again.

Original [Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book (1604)]

Sweet potatoes in rose and orange syrup

‘Boile your roots in faire water until they bee somewhat tender then pill of the skinne, then make your syrupe, weying to every pound of roots a pound of sugar and a quarter of a pint of faire water, & as much of rose water, & the juice of three or fowre oranges, then boile the syrupe, & boile them till they bee throughlie soaked in the syrupe, before you take it from the fire, put in a little musk and amber greece.’

My recreation
Not quite 3 lbs of sweet potatoes
2 lbs of sugar
1/2 cups water
1/2 cups rose water
4 sour oranges

  1. Boiled the sweet potatoes until I could easily pierce them with a knife
  2. Once they are cool enough to touch, peel the skin off, then cut into bite sized cubes
  3. Juice the oranges
  4. Add sugar, water, rose water, and orange juice to a pan and bring to a boil
  5. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Add sweet potato pieces to syrup, bring back to the boil, then reduce to simmer
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes and move to a heat proof bowl


  • I forgot where I put the notes for my recipe and I am doing this from my memory. I remember not committing to the one for one measure for sweet potatoes to sugar but I could be wrong. If I find my notes I will revise. I was surprised how much rose water I used was not too much
  • I need to reduce the syrup more as it was still too runny
  • Late 16th/Early 17th Century cooks would have had oranges closer to Seville oranges. I used sour oranges this time and the results were definitely better than when I used modern eating/juicing oranges. I will try this again when Seville oranges are in season