Scurvy is a deficiency that is caused by a lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in a person’s diet. Vitamin C is essential for the maintenance of the normal structure of the connective tissues. Scurvy causes your teeth to fall out, the end of your finger nails to decay, black spots on your skin and your legs to bow into a frog-like position.
Scurvy is cured and prevented by a diet high in vitamin C. Limes have vitamin C. Mojitos have lime juice. Therefore you can consider it a medicinal treatment to sip upon a cold Mojito at sunset.
First a little scurvy history.
Dr James Lind (of the HMS Salisbury, sailing from England to Plymouth colony) did a little experiment in 1747 with 12 crew who had scurvy. He divided the 12 into 6 groups and fed them the same diet with a small variation. 2 received a quart of cider daily, 2 took 25 drops of vitrol 3 times a day, 2 took 2 spoons of vinegar, 2 drank ½ pint of seawater daily, 2 ate nutmeg and 2 lucky sailors ate 2 oranges and a lemon daily. Guess who recovered.
James Lind’s observation that citrus fruits contained something that counteracted the ravages of scurvy was followed by his development of a method for the concentration and preservation of citrus fruit juices for use at sea. In 1795, the British Royal Navy provided a daily ration of lime or lemon juice to all its men. English sailors to this day are called “limeys”, for lime was the term used at the time for both lemons and limes.
Now become a limey by sipping on a Cuban favourite.
Place a generous handful of mint in a tall glass with 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lime juice (or more depending on your taste), and a splash of water. Using a spoon lightly crush the mint and dissolve the sugar. Add a generous tot of white rum (it must be white!). Fill the glass with ice. Top this up with soda water.
Papa Hemingway was on to a good thing.