A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Buttered Wortes

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A dish of cooked greens


Buttered Wortes. Take al manor of good herbes that thou may gete, and do bi ham as is forsaid; putte hem on þe fire with faire water; put þer-to clarefied buttur a grete quantite. Whan thei ben boyled ynough, salt hem; late none otemele come ther-in. Dise brede small in disshes, and powre on þe wortes, and serue hem forth.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


Buttered Greens. Take all manner of good herbs you can get, and do them as is foresaid; put them on the fire with water; add a great quantity of clarified butter. When they have been boiled enough, salt them; let no oatmeal come in. Dice bread small and place in dishes, and pour on the wortes, and serve.


  • 8 cups of any combination of spinach, cabbage, beet greens, onion, leeks, parsley, etc., chopped
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb.) of butter
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup diced bread or unseasoned croutons
Cover greens with water; add butter and bring to a boil; add salt. Reduce heat & cook until vegetables are tender; drain. Place bread or croutons in serving bowl and cover with cooked greens.

Wortes were vegetable greens and members of the onion family, such as cabbage leaves, spinach, beet greens, leeks, etc., as well as the plants used for seasonings and spices: borage, parsley, sage, and so forth.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Buttered Wortes © 2000 James L. Matterer

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