YARROW: Achillea millefolium, a wound-herb. (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

YELLOW SAUNDERS: a form of alexanders (qv), perhaps earthed-up and blanched, which was certainly done, to reduce bitterness. (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)

YELM is a bundle of straw laid straight for thatching. (William Ellis, 1750)

YELT is a young sow or gilt. (William Ellis, 1750)

YEST: yeast. Yeast was not then supplied in dried cake form, nor did it derive, as now, from molasses or distillers’ activities. Rather was it ale yeast, often barm, the froth taken off the top of a fermenting vat of ale, hence the large measures required – pints or more – to leaven a particular batch of dough. Evelyn and his fellow compilers do not refer to barm, only to yeast. If a quantity of barm is left standing, the yeasts will fall as sediment. This can then be extracted, washed or diluted and used as a liquid or a semi-solid. See Elizabeth David, English Bread and Yeast Cookery for more information. Receipt 322 is more specific: ‘the yest must be neither bitter nor thin nor with the drink but indifferent thick and light.’(John Evelyn, Cook, C17)

YETTED: Ellis speaks of ‘yetted barley’, he may mean barley infused or soaked in water or milk. There is no parallel for his employment of the word. (William Ellis, 1750)

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