Science in the Kitchen.
Mrs. E. E. Kellogg
Part 5 out of 17
Cook in a small quantity of boiling water, and if economy is a point to
be considered, do not add sugar until the fruit is done. Sugar boiled
with an acid will be converted into glucose, two and one half pounds of
which only equal one pound of cane sugar in sweetening properties. It
will require a much larger amount of sugar to sweeten fruit if added
before the cooking process is completed. Fruit should be cooked by
stewing, or by gentle simmering; hard boiling will destroy the fine
flavor of all fruits, and especially of berries and other small fruits.
Cinnamon, cloves, or other spices, should not be added, as their
stronger flavors deaden or obliterate the natural flavor, which should
always be preserved as perfectly as possible. If desirable to add some
foreign flavor, let it be the flavor of another fruit, or the perfume
of flowers. For Instance, flavor apple with lemon, pineapple, quince, or
Unripe fruit is improved by making the cooking quite lengthy, which acts
in the place of the ripening process, changing the starchy matter to
saccharine elements. In cooking fruit, try to preserve its natural form.
The more nearly whole it is, the better it looks, and the more natural
will be its flavor.
Apples are best cooked by baking. Pears and quinces are also excellent
baked. The oven should be only moderately hot; if the heat is too great,
they brown on the outside before they are done throughout. In cooking
fruit by any method, pains should be taken to cook together such as are
of the same variety, size, and degree of hardness; if it is to be cut in
pieces, care should be taken to have the pieces of uniform size.
BAKED APPLES.--Moderately tart apples or very juicy sweet ones are
best for baking. Select ripe apples, free from imperfections, and of
nearly equal size. Wipe carefully and remove the blossom ends. Water
sufficient to cover bottom of the baking dish, should be added if the
fruit is not very juicy. If the apples are sour and quite firm, a good
way is to pare them before baking, and then place them in an earthen pie
dish with a little hot water. If they incline to brown too quickly,
cover the tops with a granite-ware pie dish. If the syrup dries out, add
a little more hot water. When done, set them away till nearly cold, then
transfer to a glass dish, pour the syrup, which should be thick and
amber colored, over them. Sour apples are excellent pared, cored, and
baked with the centers filled with sugar, jelly, or a mixture or chopped
raisins and dates. They should be put into a shallow earthen dish with
water sufficient to cover the bottom, and baked in a quick oven, basting
often with the syrup. Sweet apples are best baked without paring. Baked
apples are usually served as a relish, but with a dressing of cream they
make a most delicious dessert.
CITRON APPLES.--Select a few tart apples of the same degree of
hardness, and remove the cores. Unless the skins are very tender, it is
better to pare them. Fill the cavities with sugar, first placing in each
apple a few bits of chopped citron. If the skins have been removed,
place the stuffed apples on a flat earthen dish with a tablespoonful of
water on the bottom; cover closely, and bake till perfectly tender, but
not till they have fallen to pieces. If the skins are left on, they may
be baked without covering. When cold, serve in separate dishes, with or
without a spoonful or two of whipped cream on each apple.
LEMON APPLES.--Prepare tart apples the same as for citron apples.
Fill the cavities made by removing the cores with a mixture of grated
lemon and sugar, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over each apple, and
bake. Serve with or without whipped cream.
BAKED PEARS.--Hard pears make an excellent dessert when baked.
Pare, halve, remove seeds, and place in a shallow earthen dish, with a
cup of water to each two quarts of fruit. If the pears are sour, a
little sugar may be added. Bake, closely covered, in a moderate oven
until tender. Serve with sugar and cream. Tart pears are the best for
baking, as the sweet varieties are often tasteless.
BAKED QUINCES.--Pare and remove the cores. Fill the cavities with
sugar, put in a shallow earthen dish, and add water to cover the bottom;
bake till soft, basting often with the syrup. If the syrup dries out
before the fruit is perfectly tender, add a little more hot water.
PIPPINS AND QUINCE.--Pare and quarter nice golden pippins, and cook
in boiling water until reduced to a jelly. Add two or three quinces
sliced, and simmer slowly in the jelly until the quince is tender. Add
sugar to taste. Serve cold.
BAKED APPLE SAUCE.--Pare, core, and quarter apples to fill an
earthen crock or deep pudding dish, taking care to use apples of the
same degree of hardness, and pieces of the same size. For two quarts of
fruit thus prepared, add a cup of water, and if the apples are sour, a
cup of sugar. Cover closely, and bake in a moderate oven several hours,
or until of a dark red color.
Sweet apples and quinces in the proportion of two parts of apple to one
of quince, baked in this way, are also good. Cut the apples into
quarters, but slice the quinces much thinner, as they are more difficult
to cook. Put a layer of quince on the bottom of the dish, alternating
with a layer of apple, until the dish is full. Add cold water to half
cover the fruit, and stew in the oven well covered, without stirring,
Pears may be cooked in a similar way, and both apples and pears thus
cooked may be canned while hot and kept for a long period.
BAKED APPLE SAUCE NO. 2.--Prepare nice tart apples as for No. 1.
Bake, with a small quantity of water, in a covered pudding dish, in a
moderate oven, until soft. Mash with a spoon, add sugar, and when cold,
a little grated orange rind.
APPLES STEWED WHOLE.--Take six large red apples, wash carefully,
and put in a fruit kettle with just enough boiling water to cover. Cover
the kettle, and cook slowly until the apples are soft, with the skins
broken and the juice a rich red color. After removing the apples, boil
the juice to a syrup, sweeten, and pour over the apples.
STEAMED APPLES.--Select pound sweets of uniform size, wipe, cut
out the blossom-ends, and pack in a large pudding dish. Pour in a cupful
of water, cover the dish closely, set in a moderate oven, and steam till
the apples are tender. Remove from the dish, and pour the liquor over
them frequently as they cool.
COMPOTE OF APPLES.--Pare and extract the cores from moderately
tart, juicy apples. Place them in a deep pudding dish with just enough
water to cover them. Cover, place in a moderate oven, and stew until
they are tender. Remove the apples and place in a deep dish to keep hot.
Measure the juice and pour it into a saucepan, add a few bits of lemon
rind, and boil up until thickened almost like a jelly. While the juice
is boiling, heat some sugar, one tablespoonful to each cup of juice, in
the oven, and add to the juice when thickened. Pour scalding hot over
the apples, and cover until cold.
APPLE COMPOTE NO. 2.--Pare eight or ten rather tart, finely
flavored and easy-cooking apples, carefully removing the cores, and put
them into a broad, shallow, granite-ware saucepan with just enough hot
water to cover the bottom. Cover tightly and place over the fire. The
steam will cook the apples tender in a short time. Do not allow them to
fall to pieces. Make a syrup by dissolving one cup of sugar in a pint of
hot water. Add three teaspoonfuls of the juice of canned pineapple, and
pour over the apples while both are hot.
STEWED PEARS.--Select some fine Bartlett pears which are ripe, but
have hardly begun to soften; remove the skins, cut in halves or
quarters, and take out the seeds. Put loosely in a granite-ware kettle,
and add a pint of water for three and a half quarts of fruit. Cover
closely, and when it begins to boil, set it where it will just simmer
until the top pieces are tender. Serve cold. Sugar will not be necessary
if the fruit is of good quality.
SMOOTH APPLE SAUCE.--If fruit is not sufficiently perfect to be cut
into uniform quarters, a good way to prepare it is to pare, core, and
slice into thin slices. Cook in as small a quantity of water as
possible, the fruit covered closely, so that the top portion will steam
tender as soon as the bottom, and when done rub through a colander, or
beat smooth with a wooden spoon or an egg beater. Let it cool before
adding sugar. A little lemon peel may be added to the fruit just long
enough before it is done to flavor it, if desired.
BOILED APPLES WITH SYRUP.--Halve and remove the cores of a half
dozen nice apples, leaving the skins on. Boil till tender in sufficient
water to cover them. Take out with a fork into a glass dish. Add to the
juice three or four slices of a large lemon; boil for ten or fifteen
minutes; sweeten to taste; then pour over the apples, and cool.
STEWED APPLES.--Select fine fruit of a sub-acid flavor and not
over-ripe. Pare, remove the cores and all blemishes, and divide into
sixths if large, into quarters if small. Put into a porcelain or
granite-ware kettle with enough boiling water to cook and leave a good
liquor. Cover, and simmer gently, without stirring, from one to two
hours. Do not add sugar till cold. Be careful not to break the fruit in
STEWED CRAB APPLES.--Select perfect fruit. Wash and stew in but
little water until they are very soft. Rub through a coarse sieve or
colander to remove the seeds and skins. Sweeten to taste.
SWEET APPLE SAUCE WITH CONDENSED APPLE JUICE.--For the juice, wash,
divide, and core rather tart apples and cook until softened with one cup
of water for every six pounds of fruit. When soft, put into a percolater
and drain off the juice or extract it with a fruit press. Boil until it
is reduced one half. Skim if needed while boiling, and if not perfectly
clear allow it to settle before using. A considerable quantity of the
juice may be thus prepared and put into stone jars, to be used as
needed. For the sauce, pare, core, and quarter sweet apples. Put into a
porcelain kettle with enough of the condensed juice to cover. Cook
slowly until tender.
APPLES WITH RAISINS.--Pare, core, and quarter a dozen or more
medium sized sour apples. Clean thoroughly one fourth as many raisins as
apples, and turn over them a quart of boiling water. Let them steep
until well swollen, then add the apples, and cook until tender. Sugar to
sweeten may be added if desired, although little will be needed unless
the apples are very tart. Dried apples soaked over night may be made
much more palatable by stewing with raisins or English currants, in the
APPLES WITH APRICOTS.--Pare, core, and quarter some nice, sour
apples. Put them to cook with two halves of dried apricot for each
apple. When tender, make smooth by beating or rubbing through a
colander, and sweeten. Dried apples may be used in place of fresh ones.
PEACHES, PLUMS, CHERRIES, BERRIES, and all small fruits may be
cooked for sauce by stewing in a small amount of water, adding sugar to
sweeten when done.
BAKED APPLES.--Take any good tart apples; peel, cut in halves, and
remove the cores. Scatter a few spoonfuls of sugar in the bottom of a
dish, and lay the apples in, flat side down; add a teacupful of cold
water, and bake till tender. Let stand in the dish till cold, then take
up the pieces in a vegetable dish, and poor over them what juice
remains. Sweet apples are good baked in this way without sugar.
BAKED PEARS.--Peel ripe pears; cut in halves, and pack in layers in
a stone ware jar. Strew a little sugar over each layer, and add a small
cupful of water, to prevent burning. Cover tightly, and bake three or
four hours in a well-heated oven. Let them get very cold, and serve
with sweet cream.
BAKED PEACHES.--Peaches which are ripe but too hard for eating, are
nice baked. Pare, remove the stones, and place in loose layers in a
shallow, earthen pudding dish with a little water. Sprinkle each layer
lightly with sugar, cover and bake.
CRANBERRIES.--Cranberries make an excellent sauce, but the skins
are rather hard of digestion, and it is best to exclude them. Stew in
the proportion of a quart of berries to a pint of water, simmering
gently until the skins have all burst, and the quantity is reduced to a
pint. Put through a colander to remove the skins, and when nearly cool,
add for the quart of berries two thirds of a cup of sugar.
CRANBERRIES WITH RAISINS.--Cook the cranberries as in the preceding
recipe, and when rubbed through the colander, add for every pound of
cranberries before cooking, one fourth pound of raisins which have been
steeped for half an hour in just sufficient boiling water to cover. A
little less sugar will be needed to sweeten than when served without the
CRANBERRIES AND SWEET APPLES.--Stew equal parts of cranberries and
sweet apples together. Mash, rub through a fine sieve or colander to
remove the skins and make the whole homogeneous. This makes a very
palatable sauce without the addition of sugar. California prunes and
cranberries stewed together in equal proportion, in a small quantity of
water, also make a nice sauce without sugar.
ORANGES AND APPLES.--The mild, easy cooking, tart varieties of
apples make an excellent sauce stewed with one third sliced oranges from
which the seeds have been removed. Pare, core, and slice the apples, and
cook gently so as to preserve the form of both fruits until the apples
are tender. Add sugar to sweeten, and if desired a very little of the
grated yellow of the orange rind.
STEWED RAISINS.--Soak a pint of good raisins, cleaned and freed
from stems, in cold water for several hours. When ready to cook, put
them, with the water in which they were soaked, in a fruit kettle and
simmer until the skins are tender. Three or four good-sized figs,
chopped quite fine, cooked with the raisins, gives an additional
richness and thickness of juice. No sugar will be needed.
DRIED APPLES.--Good apples properly dried make a very palatable
sauce; but unfortunately the fruit generally selected for drying is of
so inferior a quality that if cooked in its fresh state it would not be
good. The dried fruit in most of our markets needs to be looked over
carefully, and thoroughly washed before using. Put into a granite-ware
kettle, cover with boiling water, and cook gently until tender. Fresh
steam-dried or evaporated apples will cook in from one half to three
fourths of an hour; if older, they may require from one to two more
hours. Add boiling water, as needed, during the cooking. If when tender
they are lacking in juice, add a little boiling water long enough before
lifting from the fire to allow it to boil up once. If the fruit is very
poor, a few very thin slices of the yellow portion of lemon or orange
rind added a half hour before it is done, will sometimes be an
DRIED APPLES WITH OTHER DRIED FRUIT.--An excellent sauce may be
made by cooking a few dried plums with dried or evaporated apples. Only
enough of the plums to give a flavor to the apples will be needed; a
handful of the former to a pound of apples will be sufficient. Dried
cherries, raisins, English currants, dried apricots, prunelles, and
peaches are also excellent used in combination with dried apples.
DRIED APRICOTS AND PEACHES.--These fruits, if dried with the skins
on, need, in addition to the preparation for cooking recommended for
dried apples, a thorough rubbing with the fingers, while being washed,
to remove the down. Put into boiling water in about the proportion of
two parts of fruit to three of water. If the fruit was pared before
drying, a little more water will be required. Cook quickly, but gently,
until just tender, and take from the fire as soon as done. If too soft,
they will be mushy and insipid.
EVAPORATED PEACH SAUCE.--Soak the peaches over night in just enough
water to cover. In the morning put to cook in boiling water. When
tender, sweeten and beat perfectly smooth with an egg beater.
DRIED PEARS.--These may be treated in the same way as dried apples.
SMALL FRUITS.--These when dried must be carefully examined,
thoroughly washed, and then cooked rather quickly in boiling water. They
swell but little, do not require much water, and usually cook in a few
minutes. They should be taken from the fire as soon as soft, as long
standing makes them insipid.
PRUNES.--Use only the best selected prunes. Clean by putting them
into warm water; let them stand a few minutes, rubbing them gently
between the hands to make sure that all dust and dirt is removed; rinse,
and if rather dry and hard, put them into three parts of water to one of
prunes; cover closely, and let them simmer for several hours. If the
prunes are quite easily cooked, less water may be used. They will be
tender, with a thick juice. The sweet varieties need no sugar whatever.
Many persons who cannot eat fruit cooked with sugar, can safely partake
of sweet prunes cooked in this way. A slice of lemon added just before
the prunes are done, is thought an improvement.
PRUNE MARMALADE.--Cook sweet California prunes as directed above.
When well done, rub through a colander to remove the skins and stones.
No sugar is necessary. If the pulp is too thin when cold, it may be
covered in an earthen pudding dish and stewed down by placing in a pan
of hot water in a moderate oven.
THE PRESERVATION OF FRUIT.
Fresh fruit is so desirable, while at the same time the season during
which most varieties can be obtained is so transient, that various
methods are resorted to for preserving it in as nearly a natural state
as possible. The old-fashioned plans of pickling in salt, alcohol, or
vinegar, or preserving in equal quantities of sugar, are eminently
unhygienic. Quite as much to be condemned is the more modern process of
keeping fruit by adding to it some preserving agent, like salicylic acid
or other chemicals. Salicylic acid is an antiseptic, and like many other
substances, such as carbolic acid, creosote, etc., has the power of
preventing the decay of organic substances. Salicylic acid holds the
preference over other drugs of this class, because it imparts no
unpleasant flavor to the fruit. It is nevertheless a powerful and
irritating drug, and when taken, even in small doses, produces intense
burning in the stomach, and occasions serious disturbances of the heart
and other organs. Its habitual use produces grave diseases.
What is sold as antifermentive is simply the well-known antiseptic,
salicylate of soda. It should be self-evident to one at all acquainted
with the philosophy of animal existence, that an agent which will
prevent fermentation and decay must be sufficiently powerful in its
influence to prevent digestion also.
The fermentation and decay of fruits as well as that of all other
organic substances, is occasioned by the action of those minute living
organisms which scientists call germs, and which are everywhere present.
These germs are very much less active in a dry, cold atmosphere, and
fruit may be preserved for quite a long period by refrigeration, an
arrangement whereby the external air is excluded, and the surrounding
atmosphere kept at an equal temperature of about 40 deg. F. The most
efficient and wholesome method of preserving fruit, however, is
destruction of the germs and entire exclusion from the air. The germs
are destroyed at a boiling temperature; hence, if fruit be heated to
boiling, and when in this condition sealed in air-tight receptacles, it
will keep for an unlimited period.
Canning consists in sealing in air-tight cans or jars, fruit which has
been previously boiled. It is a very simple process, but requires a
thorough understanding of the scientific principles involved, and
careful management, to make it successful. The result of painstaking
effort is so satisfactory, however, it is well worth all the trouble,
and fruit canning need not be a difficult matter if attention is given
to the following details:--
Select self-sealing glass cans of some good variety. Tin cans give more
trouble filling and sealing, are liable to affect the flavor of the
fruit, and unless manufactured from the best of material, to impair its
wholesomeness. Glass cans may be used more than once, and are thus much
more economical. Those with glass covers, or porcelain-lined covers, are
best. Test the cans to see if they are perfect, with good rubbers and
covers that fit closely, by partly filling them with cold water,
screwing on the tops, and placing bottom upward upon the table for some
time before using. If none of the water leaks out, they may be
considered in good condition. If the cans have been previously used,
examine them with special care to see that both cans and covers have
been carefully cleaned, then thoroughly sterilize them, and fit with new
rubbers when necessary.
Cans and covers should be sterilized by boiling in water for half an
hour, or by baking in an oven, at a temperature sufficient to scorch
paper, for two hours. The cans should be placed in the water or oven
when cold, and the temperature allowed to rise gradually, to avoid
breaking. They should be allowed to cool gradually, for the same
Select only the best of fruit, such as is perfect in flavor and neither
green nor over-ripe. Fruit which has been shipped from a distance, and
which is consequently not perfectly fresh, contains germs in active
growth, and if the least bit musty, it will be almost sure to spoil,
even though the greatest care may be taken in canning.
Poor fruit will not be improved by canning; over-ripe fruit will be
insipid and mushy; and though cooking will soften hard fruit, it cannot
impart to it the delicate flavors which belong to that which is in its
prime. The larger varieties of fruit should not be quite soft enough for
eating. Choose a dry day for gathering, and put up at once, handling as
little as possible. Try to keep it clean enough to avoid washing. If the
fruit is to be pared, use a silver knife for the purpose, as steel is
apt to discolor the fruit. If the fruit is one needing to be divided or
stoned, it will be less likely to become broken if divided before
Cook the fruit slowly in a porcelain-lined or granite-ware kettle, using
as little water as possible. It is better to cook only small quantities
at a time in one kettle. Steaming in the cans is preferable to stewing,
where the fruit is at all soft. To do this, carefully fill the cans with
fresh fruit, packing it quite closely, if the fruit is large, and set
the cans in a boiler partly filled with cold water, with something
underneath them to prevent breaking,--muffin rings, straw, or thick
cloth, or anything to keep them from resting on the bottom of the boiler
(a rack made by nailing together strips of lath is very convenient);
screw the covers on the cans so the water cannot boil into them, but not
so tightly as to prevent the escape of steam; heat the water to boiling,
and steam the fruit until tender. Peaches, pears, crab apples, etc., to
be canned with a syrup, may be advantageously cooked by placing on a
napkin dropped into the boiling syrup.
Fruit for canning should be so thoroughly cooked that every portion of
it will have been subjected to a sufficient degree of heat to destroy
all germs within the fruit, but overcooking should be avoided. The
length of time required for cooking fruits for canning, varies with the
kind and quality of fruit and the manner of cooking. Fruit is more
frequently spoiled by being cooked an insufficient length of time, than
by overcooking. Prolonged cooking at a boiling temperature is necessary
for the destruction of certain kinds of germs capable of inducing
fermentation. Fifteen minutes may be considered as the shortest time for
which even the most delicate fruits should be subjected to the
temperature of boiling water, and thirty minutes will be required by
most fruits. Fruits which are not perfectly fresh, or which have been
shipped some distance, should be cooked not less than thirty minutes.
The boiling should be very slow, however, as hard, rapid boiling will
break up the fruit, and much of its fine flavor will be lost in the
Cooking the sugar with the fruit at the time of canning, is not to be
recommended from an economical standpoint; but fruit thus prepared is
more likely to keep well than when cooked without sugar; not, however,
because of the preservative influence of the sugar, which is too small
in amount to prevent the action of germs, as in the case of preserves,
but because the addition of sugar to the water or fruit juice increases
its specific gravity, and thus raises the boiling point. From
experiments made, I have found that the temperature of the fruit is
ordinarily raised about 5 deg. by the addition of the amount of sugar
needed for sweetening sub-acid fruit. By the aid of this additional
degree of heat, the germs are more certainly destroyed, and the
sterilization of the fruit will be accomplished in a shorter time.
Another advantage gained in cooking sugar with the fruit at the time of
canning, is that the fruit may be cooked for a longer time without
destroying its form, as the sugar abstracts the juice of the fruit, and
thus slightly hardens it and prevents its falling in pieces.
The temperature to which the fruit is subjected may also be increased by
the same method as that elsewhere described for sterilizing milk, the
covers of the cans being screwed down tightly before they are placed in
the sterilizer, or as soon as the boiling point is approached, so that
the steam issues freely from the can. See page 396. If this method is
employed, it must be remembered that the cans should not be removed from
the sterilizer until after they have become cold, or nearly so, by being
allowed to stand over night.
Use the best sugar, two tablespoonfuls to a quart of fruit is
sufficient for most sub-acid fruits, as berries and peaches; plums,
cherries, strawberries, and currants require from five to eight
tablespoonfuls of sugar to a quart. Have the sugar hot, by spreading it
on tins and heating in the oven, stirring occasionally. See that; it
does not scorch. Add it when the fruit is boiling. Pears, peaches,
apples, etc., which contain a much smaller quantity of juice than do
berries, may be canned in a syrup prepared by dissolving a cup of sugar
in two or three cups of water. Perfect fruit, properly canned, will keep
without sugar, and the natural 'flavor of the fruit is more perfectly
retained when the sugar is left out, adding the necessary amount when
opened for use.
If the fruit is to be cooked previous to being put in the cans, the cans
should be heated before the introduction of the fruit, which should be
put in at a boiling temperature. Various methods are employed for this
purpose. Some wrap the can in a towel wrung out of hot water, keeping a
silver spoon inside while it is being filled; others employ dry heat by
keeping the cans in a moderately hot oven while the fruit is cooking.
Another and surer way is to fill a large dishpan nearly full of scalding
(not boiling) water, then gradually introduce each can, previously
baked, into the water, dip it full of water, and set it right side up in
the pan. Repeat the process with other cans until four or five are
ready. Put the covers likewise into boiling water. Have in readiness for
use a granite-ware funnel and dipper, also in boiling water; a cloth for
wiping the outside of the cans, a silver fork or spoon, a dish for
emptyings, and a broad shallow pan on one side of the range, half filled
with boiling water, in which to set the cans while being filled. When
everything is in readiness, the fruit properly cooked, and _at a boiling
temperature,_ turn one of the cans down in the water, roll it over once
or twice, empty it, and set in the shallow pan of hot water; adjust the
funnel, and then place first in the can a quantity of juice, so that
when the fruit is put in, no vacant places will be left for air, which
is sometimes quite troublesome if this precaution is not taken; then
add the fruit. If any bubbles of air chance to be left, work them out
with a fork or spoon handle, which first dip in boiling water, and then
quickly introduce down the sides of the jar and through the fruit in
such a way that not a bubble will remain. Fill the can to overflowing,
remembering that any vacuum invites the air to enter; use boiling water
or syrup when there is not enough juice. Skim all froth from the fruit,
adding more juice if necessary; wipe the juice from the top of the can,
adjust the rubber, put on the top, and screw it down as quickly as
possible. If the fruit is cooked in the cans, as soon as it is
sufficiently heated, fill the can completely full with boiling juice,
syrup, or water; run the handle of a silver spoon around the inside of
the can, to make sure the juice entirely surrounds every portion of
fruit, and that no spaces for air remain, put on the rubbers, wipe off
all juice, and seal quickly.
[Illustration: Canning Utensils.]
As the fruit cools, the cover can be tightened, and this should be
promptly done again and again as the glass contracts, so that no air may
be allowed to enter.
If convenient to fill the cans directly from the stove, the fruit may be
kept at boiling heat by placing the kettle on a lamp stove on the table,
on which the other utensils are in readiness. Many failures in fruit
canning are due to neglect to have the fruit boiling hot when put into
When the cans are filled, set them away from currents of air, and not on
a very cold surface, to avoid danger of cracking. A good way is to set
the cans on a wet towel, and cover with a woolen cloth as a protection
After the cans have cooled, and the tops have been screwed down tightly,
place them in a cool place, bottom upward, and watch closely for a few
days. If the juice begins to leak out, or any appearance of fermentation
is seen, it is a sign that the work has failed, and the only thing to do
is to open the can immediately, boil the fruit, and use as quickly as
possible; recanning will not save it unless boiled a long time. If no
signs of spoiling are observed within two or three weeks, the fruit may
be safely stored away in a dark, cool place. If one has no dark
storeroom, it is an advantage to wrap each can in brown paper, to keep
out the light.
Sometimes the fruit will settle so that a little space appears at the
top. If you are perfectly sure that the can is tight, do not open to
refill, as you will be unable to make it quite as tight again, unless
you reheat the fruit, in which case you would be liable to have the same
thing occur again. Air is dangerous because it is likely to contain
germs, though in itself harmless.
If mold is observed upon the top of a can, it should be opened, and the
fruit boiled and used at once, after carefully skimming out all the
moldy portions. If there is evidence of fermentation, the fruit should
be thrown away, as it contains alcohol.
If care be taken to provide good cans, thoroughly sterilized, and with
perfectly fitting covers; to use only fruit in good condition; to have
it thoroughly cooked, and at boiling temperature when put into the can;
to have the cans well baked and heated, filled completely and to
overflowing, and sealed at once while the fruit is still near boiling
temperature, there will be little likelihood of failure.
OPENING CANNED FRUIT.--Canned fruit is best opened a short time
before needed, that is may be will aerated; and if it has been canned
without sugar, it should have the necessary quantity added, so that it
may be well dissolved before using.
Fruit purchased in tin cans should be selected with the utmost care,
since unscrupulous dealers sometimes use cans which render the fruit
wholly--unfit for food.
The following rules which we quote from a popular scientific journal
should be 'carefully observed in selecting canned fruit:--
"Reject every can that does not have the name of the manufacturer or
firm upon it, as well as the name of the company and the town where
manufactured. All 'Standards' have this. When the wholesale dealer is
ashamed to have his name on the goods, be shy of him.
"Reject every article of canned goods which does not show the line of
resin around the edge of the solder of the cap, the same as is seen on
the seam at the side of the can.
"Press up the bottom of the can; if decomposition is beginning, the tin
will rattle the same as the bottom of your sewing-machine oil can does.
If the goods are sound, it will be solid, and there will be no rattle to
"Reject every can that show any rust around the cap on the inside of the
head of the can. Old and battered cans should be rejected; as, if they
have been used several times, the contents are liable to contain small
amounts of tin or lead"
TO CAN STRAWBERRIES.--These are generally considered more difficult
to can than most other berries. Use none but sound fruit, and put up the
day they are picked, if possible. Heat the fruit slowly to the boiling
point, and cook fifteen minutes or longer, adding the sugar hot, if any
be used, after the fruit is boiling. Strawberries, while cooking, have a
tendency to rise to the top, and unless they are kept poshed down, will
not be cooked uniformly, which is doubtless one reason they sometimes
fail to keep well. The froth should also be kept skimmed off. Fill the
cans as directed on page 197, taking special care to let out every air
bubble, and to remove every particle of froth from the top of the can
before sealing. If the berries are of good size, the may be cooked in
the cans, adding a boiling syrup prepared with one cup of water and one
of sugar for each quart can of fruit.
If after the cans are cold, the fruit rises to the top, as it frequently
does, take the cans and gently shake until the fruit is well saturated
with the juice and falls by its own weight to the bottom, or low enough
to be entirely covered with the liquid.
TO CAN RASPBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, AND OTHER SMALL FRUITS.--Select
none but good, sound berries; those freshly picked are best; reject any
green, over-ripe, mashed, or worm-eaten fruit. If necessary to wash the
berries, do so by putting a quart at a time in a colander, and dipping
the dish carefully into a pan of clean water, letting it stand for a
moment. If the water is very dirty, repeat the process in a second
water. Drain thoroughly, and if to be cooked previous to putting in the
cans, put into a porcelain kettle with a very small quantity of water,
and heat slowly to boiling. If sugar is to be used, have it hot, but do
not add it until the fruit is boiling; and before doing so, if there is
much juice, dip out the surplus, and leave the berries with only a small
quantity, as the sugar will have a tendency to draw out more juice, thus
furnishing plenty for syrup.
Raspberries are so juicy that they need scarcely more than a pint of
water to two quarts of fruit.
The fruit may be steamed in the cans if preferred. When thoroughly
scalded, if sugar is to be used, fill the can with a boiling syrup made
by dissolving the requisite amount of sugar in water; if to be canned
without sugar, fill up the can with boiling water or juice.
Seal the fruit according to directions previously given.
TO CAN GOOSEBERRIES.--Select such as are smooth and turning red,
but not fully ripe; wash and remove the stems and blossom ends. For
three quarts of fruit allow one quart of water. Heat slowly to boiling;
cook fifteen minutes, add a cupful of sugar which has been heated dry
in the oven: boil two or three minutes longer, and can.
TO CAN PEACHES.--Select fruit which is perfectly ripe and sound,
but not much softened. Free-stone peaches are the best. Put a few at a
time in a wire basket, and dip into boiling water for a moment, and then
into cold water, to cool fruit sufficiently to handle with comfort. The
skins may then be rubbed or peeled off easily, if done quickly, and the
fruit divided into halves; or wipe with a clean cloth to remove all dirt
and the wool, and with a silver knife cut in halves, remove the stone,
and then pare each piece, dropping into cold water at once to prevent
discoloration. Peaches cut before being pared are less likely to break
in pieces while removing the stones. When ready, pour a cupful of water
in the bottom of the kettle, and fill with peaches, scattering sugar
among the layers in the proportion of a heaping tablespoonful to a quart
of fruit. Heat slowly, boil fifteen minutes or longer till a silver fork
can be easily passed through the pieces; can in the usual way and seal;
or, fill the cans with the halved peaches, and place them in a boiler of
warm water with something underneath to avoid breaking; cook until
perfectly tender. Have ready a boiling syrup prepared with one half cup
of sugar and two cups of water, and pour into each can all that it will
hold, remove air bubbles, cover and seal. A few of the pits may be
cooked in the syrup, and removed before adding to the fruit, when their
special flavor is desired.
ANOTHER METHOD.--After paring and halving the fruit, lay a clean napkin
in the bottom of a steamer; fill with fruit. Steam until a fork will
easily penetrate the pieces. Have ready a boiling syrup prepared as
directed above, put a few spoonfuls in the bottom of the hot cans, and
dip each piece of fruit gently in the hot syrup; then as carefully place
it in the jars. Fill with the syrup, and finish in the usual way.
Peaches canned without sugar, retain more nearly their natural flavor.
To prepare in this way, allow one half pint of water to each pound of
fruit. Cook slowly until tender, and can in the usual manner. When
wanted for the table, open an hour before needed, and sprinkle lightly
TO CAN PEARS.--The pears should be perfectly ripened, but not soft.
Pare with a silver knife, halve or quarter, remove the seeds and drop
into a pan of cold water to prevent discoloration. Prepare a syrup,
allowing a cup of sugar and a quart of water to each two quarts of
fruit. When the syrup boils, put the pears into it very carefully, so as
not to bruise or break them, and cook until they look clear and can be
easily pierced with a fork. Have the cans heated, and put in first a
little of the syrup, then pack in the pears very carefully; fill to
overflowing with the scalding syrup, and finish as previously directed.
The tougher and harder varieties of pears must be cooked till nearly
tender in hot water, or steamed over a kettle of boiling water, before
adding to the syrup, and may then be finished as above. If it is
desirable to keep the pears whole, cook only those of a uniform size
together; or if of assorted sizes, put the larger ones into the syrup a
few minutes before the smaller ones. Some prefer boiling the kins of the
pears in the water of which the syrup is to be made, and skimming them
out before putting in the sugar. This is thought to impart a finer
flavor. Pears which are very sweet, or nearly tasteless, may be improved
by using the juice of a large lemon for each quart of syrup. Pears may
be cooked in the cans, if preferred.
TO CAN PLUMS.--Green Gages and Damsons are best for canning. Wipe
clean with a soft cloth. Allow a half cup of water and the same of sugar
to every three quarts of fruit, in preparing a syrup. Pick each plum
with a silver fork to prevent it from bursting, and while the syrup is
heating, turn in the fruit, and boil until thoroughly done. Dip
carefully into hot jars, fill with syrup, and cover immediately.
TO CAN CHERRIES.--These may be put up whole in the same way as
plums, or pitted and treated as directed for berries, allowing about two
quarts of water and a scant pint of sugar to five quarts of solid fruit,
for the tart varieties, and not quite half as much sugar for the sweeter
TO CAN MIXED FRUIT.--There are some fruits with so little flavor
that when cooked they are apt to taste insipid, and are much improved by
canning with some acid or strongly flavored fruits.
Blackberries put up with equal quantities of blue or red plums, or in
the proportion of one to three of the sour fruit, are much better than
either of these fruits canned separately. Black caps are much better if
canned with currants, in the proportion of one part currants to four of
Red and black raspberries, cherries and raspberries, are also excellent
QUINCES WITH APPLES.--Pare and cut an equal quantity of firm sweet
apples and quinces. First stew the quinces till they are tender in
sufficient water to cover. Take them out, and cook the apples in the
same water. Lay the apples and quinces in alternate layers in a
porcelain kettle or crock. Have ready a hot syrup made with one part
sugar to two and a half parts water, pour over the fruit, and let it
stand all night. The next day reheat to boiling, and can.
Quinces and sweet apples may be canned in the same way as directed below
for plums and sweet apples, using equal parts of apples and quinces, and
adding sugar when opened.
PLUMS WITH SWEET APPLES.--Prepare the plums, and stew in water
enough to cover. When tender, skim out, add to the juice an equal
quantity of quartered sweet apples, and stew until nearly tender. Add
the plumbs again, boil together for a few minutes, and can. When wanted
for the table, open, sprinkle with sugar if any seems needed, let stand
awhile and serve.
TO CAN GRAPES.--Grapes have so many seeds that they do not form a
very palatable sauce when canned entire. Pick carefully from the stems,
wash in a colander the same as directed for berries, and drain. Remove
the skins, dropping them into one earthen crock and the pulp into
another. Place both crocks in kettles of hot water over the stove, and
heat slowly, stirring the pulp occasionally until the seeds will come
Then rub the pulp through a colander, add the skins to it, and a cupful
of sugar for each quart of pulp. Return to the fire, boil twenty minutes
until the skins are tender, and can; or, if preferred, the whole grapes
may be heated, and when well scalded so that the seeds are loosened,
pressed through a colander, thus rejecting both seeds and skins, boiled,
then sweetened if desired, and canned.
TO CAN CRAB APPLES.--These may be cooked whole, and canned the same
way as plums.
TO CAN APPLES.--Prepare and can the same as pears, when fresh and
fine in flavor. If old and rather tasteless, the following is a good
way:--several thin slices of the yellow part of the rind, four cups of
sugar, and three pints of boiling water. Pare and quarter the apples, or
if small, only halve them, and cook gently in a broad-bottomed
closely-covered saucepan, with as little water as possible, till tender,
but not broken; then pour the syrup over them, heat all to boiling, and
can at once. The apples may be cooked by steaming over a kettle of hot
water, if preferred. Care must be taken to cook those of the same degree
of hardness together. The slices of lemon rind should be removed from
the syrup before using.
TO CAN PINEAPPLES.--The writer has had no experience in canning
this fruit, but the following method is given on good authority: Pare
very carefully with a silver knife, remove all the "eyes" and black
specks; then cut the sections in which the "eyes" were, in solid pieces
clear down to the core. By doing this all the valuable part of the fruit
is saved, leaving its hard, woody center. As, however, this contains
considerable juice, it should be taken in the hands and wrung as one
wrings a cloth, till the juice is extracted, then thrown away. Prepare a
syrup with one part sugar and two parts water, using what juice has been
obtained in place of so much water. Let it boil up, skim clean, then add
the fruit. Boil just as little as possible and have the fruit tender, as
pineapples loses its flavor by overcooking more readily than any other
fruit. Put into hot cans, and seal.
The excess of sugar commonly employed in preparing jellies often renders
them the least wholesome of fruit preparations, and we cannot recommend
our readers to spend a great amount of time in putting up a large stock
of such articles.
The juice of some fruits taken at the right stage of maturity may be
evaporated to a jelly without sugar, but the process is a more lengthy
one, and requires a much larger quantity of juice than when sugar is
Success in the preparation of fruit jellies depends chiefly upon the
amount of pectose contained in the fruit. Such fruits as peaches,
cherries, and others containing but a small proportion of pectose,
cannot be made into a firm jelly. All fruit for jelly should, if
possible, be freshly picked, and before it is over-ripe, as it has then
a much better flavor. The pectose, the jelly-producing element,
deteriorates with age, so that jelly made from over-ripe fruit is less
certain to "form." If the fruit is under-ripe, it will be too acid to
give a pleasant flavor. Examine carefully, as for canning, rejecting all
wormy, knotty, unripe, or partially decayed fruit. If necessary to wash,
drain very thoroughly.
Apples, quinces, and similar fruits may require to be first cooked in a
small amount of water. The juice of berries, currants, and grapes, may
be best extracted by putting the fruit in a granite-ware double boiler,
or a covered earthen crock placed inside a kettle of boiling water,
mashing as much as possible with a spoon, and steaming without the
addition of water until the fruit is well scalded and broken.
For straining the juice, have a funnel-shaped bag made of coarse flannel
or strong, coarse linen crash. The bag will be found more handy if a
small hoop of wire is sewn around the top and two tapes attached to hang
it by while the hot juice is draining, or a wooden frame to support the
bag may be easily constructed like the one shown on page 74. A dish to
receive the juice should be placed underneath the bag, which should
first be wrung out of hot water, and the scalded fruit, a small quantity
at a time, turned in; then with two large spoons press the sides of the
bag well, moving the fruit around in the bag to get out all the juice,
and removing the pressed pulp and skins each time before putting in a
fresh supply of the hot fruit. If a very clear jelly is desired, the
juice must be allowed to drain out without pressing or squeezing. The
juice of berries, grapes, and currants may be extracted without the
fruit being first scalded, if preferred, by putting the fruit into an
earthen or granite-ware dish, and mashing well with a wooden potato
masher, then putting into a jelly bag and allowing the juice to drain
off for several hours.
When strained, if the jelly is to be prepared with sugar, measure the
juice and pour it into a granite or porcelain fruit kettle with a very
broad bottom, so that as much surface can be on the stove possible. It
is better to boil the juice in quantities of not more than two or three
quarts at a time, unless one has some utensil in which a larger quantity
can be cooked with no greater depth of liquid than the above quantity
would give in a common fruit kettle. The purpose of the boiling is to
evaporate the water from the juice, and this can best be accomplished
before the sugar is added. The sugar, if boiled with the juice, also
darkens the jelly.
The average length of time required for boiling the juice of most
berries, currants, and grapes, extracted as previously directed, before
adding the sugar, is twenty minutes from the time it begins to bubble
all over its surface. It is well to test the jelly occasionally,
however, by dropping a small quantity on a plate to cool, since the
quantity of juice and the rapidity with which it is boiled, may
necessitate some variation in time. In wet season, fruits of all kinds
absorb more moisture and a little longer boiling may be necessary. The
same is true of the juice of fruits gathered after a heavy rain. Jellies
prepared with sugar are generally made of equal measures of juice,
measured before boiling, and sugar; but a very scant measure of sugar is
sufficient, and a less amount will suffice for many fruits. White
granulated sugar is best for all jellies. While the juice is heating,
spread the sugar evenly on shallow tins, and heat in the oven, stirring
occasionally to keep it from scorching. If portions melt, no great harm
will be done, as the melted portions will form in lumps when turned into
the juice, and can be removed with a spoon. When the juice has boiled
twenty minutes, turn in the sugar, which should be so hot that the hand
cannot be borne in it with comfort, stirring rapidly until it is all
dissolved. Let the syrup boil again for three or four minutes, then take
immediately from the fire. Heat the jelly glasses (those with glass
covers are best), by rolling in hot water, and place them in a shallow
pan partially filled with hot water, or stand them on a wet, folded
towel while filling. If it is desired to have the jelly exceptionally
clear and nice, it may be turned through a bag of cheese cloth,
previously wrung out of hot water, into the jelly glasses. If the covers
of the glasses are not tight fitting, a piece of firm paper should be
fitted over the top before putting on the cover, to make it air tight.
Pint self-sealing fruit cans are excellent for storing jelly, and if it
is sealed in them in the same manner as canned fruit, will keep
perfectly, and obviate any supposed necessity for the use of brandied
paper as a preservative measure. Label each variety, and keep in some
cool, dry place. If the jelly is not sufficiently firm when first made,
set the glasses in the sunshine for several days, until the jelly
becomes more firm. This is better than reheating and boiling again, as
it destroys less of the flavor of the fruit.
APPLE JELLY.--Cut nice tart apples in quarters, but unless wormy,
do not peel or core. Put into a porcelain kettle with a cup of water for
each six pounds of fruit, and simmer very slowly until the apples are
thoroughly cooked. Turn into a jelly-bag, and drain off the juice. If
very tart, allow three fourths of a pound of sugar to each pint of
juice. If sub-acid, one half pound will be sufficient. Put the sugar
into the oven to heat. Clean the kettle, and boil the juice therein
twenty minutes after it begins to boil thoroughly. Add the sugar,
stirring until well dissolved, let it boil up once again, and remove
from the fire. The juice of one lemon may be used with the apples, and a
few bits of lemon rind, the yellow portion only, cooked with them to
give them a flavor, if liked. One third cranberry juice makes a pleasing
APPLE JELLY WITHOUT SUGAR.--Select juicy, white fleshed, sub-acid
fruit, perfectly sound and mature but not mellow. The snow apple is one
of the best varieties for this purpose. Wash well, slice, and core
without removing the skins, and cook as directed in the preceding
recipe. Drain off the juice, and if a very clear jelly is desired,
filter it through a piece of cheese cloth previously wrung out of hot
water. Boil the juice,--rapidly at first, but more gently as it becomes
thickened,--until of the desired consistency. The time required will
vary with the quantity of juice, the shallowness of the dish in which it
is boiled, and the heat employed. One hour at least, will be required
for one or two quarts of juice. When the juice has become considerably
evaporated, test it frequently by dipping a few drops on a plate to
cool; and when it jellies sufficiently, remove at once from the fire. A
much larger quantity of juice will be needed for jelly prepared in this
manner than when sugar is used, about two quarts of juice being required
for one half pint of jelly. Such jelly, however, has a most delicious
flavor, and is excellent served with grains. Diluted with water, it
forms a most pleasing beverage.
BERRY AND CURRANT JELLIES.--Express the juice according to the
directions already given. For strawberries, red raspberries, and
currants, allow three fourths of a pound of sugar to a pint of juice.
Black raspberries, if used alone, need less sugar. Strawberry and black
raspberry juice make better jelly if a little lemon juice is used. The
juice of one lemon to each pint of fruit juice will be needed for black
raspberries. Two parts red or black raspberries with one part currants,
make a better jelly than either alone. Boil the juice of strawberries,
red raspberries, and currants twenty minutes, add the sugar, and finish,
as previously directed. Black raspberry juice is much thicker, and
requires less boiling.
CHERRY JELLY.--Jelly may be prepared from cherries by using with
the juice of cherries an equal amount of apple juice, which gives an
additional amount of pectose to the juice and does not perceptibly
change the flavor.
CRAB APPLE JELLY.--Choose the best Siberian crab apples; cut into
pieces, but do not pare or remove seeds. Place in a porcelain-lined or
granite-ware double boiler, with a cup of water for each six pounds of
fruit, and let them remain on the back of the range, with the water
slowly boiling, seven or eight hours. Leave in the boiler or turn into a
large china bowl, and keep well covered, all night. In the morning drain
off the juice and proceed as for apple jelly, using from one half to
three fourths of a pound of sugar to one of juice.
CRANBERRY JELLY.--Scald the berries and express the juice for other
jellies. Measure the juice, and allow three fourths of a pound of sugar
to one of juice. Boil twenty minutes, add the sugar hot, and finish as
directed for other jellies.
GRAPE JELLY.--Jelly from ripe grapes may be prepared in the same
manner as that made from the juice of berries. Jelly from green grapes
needs one half measure more of sugar.
ORANGE JELLY.--Express the juice of rather tart oranges, and use
with it an equal quantity of the juice of sub-acid apples, prepared in
the manner directed for apple jelly. For each pint of the mixed juice,
use one half pound of sugar and proceed as for other jellies.
PEACH JELLY.--Stone, pare, and slice the peaches, and steam them in
a double boiler. Express the juice, and add for each pint of peach juice
the juice of one lemon. Measure the juice and sugar, using three fourths
of a pound of sugar for each pint of juice, and proceed as already
directed. Jelly prepared from peaches will not be so firm as many fruit
jellies, owing to the small amount of pectose contained in their
A mixture of apples and peaches, in the proportion of one third of the
former to two thirds of the latter, makes a firmer jelly than peaches
alone. The apples should be pared and cored, so that their flavor will
not interfere with that of the peaches.
QUINCE JELLY.--Clean thoroughly good sound fruit, and slice thin.
Put into a double boiler with one cup of water for each five pounds of
fruit, and cook until softened. Express the juice, and proceed as with
other jellies, allowing three fourths of a pound of sugar to each pint
of juice. Tart or sweet apples may be used with quinces, in equal
proportions, and make a jelly of more pleasant flavor than quinces used
alone. The seeds of quinces contain considerable gelatinous substance,
and should be cooked with the quince for jelly making.
PLUM JELLY.--Use Damsons or Green Gages. Stone, and make in the
same way as for berry and other small fruit jellies.
FRUIT IN JELLY.--Prepare some apple jelly without sugar. When
boiled sufficiently to form, add to it, as it begins to cool, some nice,
stoned dates or seeded raisins. Orange jelly may be used instead of the
apple jelly, if preferred.
As sauces for desserts and for summer beverages for sick or well, the
pure juices of fruits are most wholesome and delicious. So useful are
they and so little trouble to prepare, that no housewife should allow
the fruit season to pass by without putting up a full stock.
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, grapes, and cherries
are especially desirable. In preparing them, select only the best fruit,
ripe, but not over-ripe. Extract the juice by mashing the fruit and
slowly heating in the inner cup of a double boiler, till the fruit is
well scalded; too long heating will injure its color. Strain through a
jelly bag and let it drain slowly for a long time, but do not squeeze,
else some of the pulp will be forced through. Reheat slowly to boiling
and can the same as fruit. It may be put up with or without sugar. If
sugar is to be used, add it hot as for jelly, after the juice is
strained and reheated to boiling. For strawberries and currants,
raspberries and cherries, use one cup of sugar to a quart of juice.
Black raspberries and grapes require less sugar, while blueberries and
blackberries require none at all, or not more than a tablespoonful to
the quart. A mixed juice, of one part currants and two parts red or
black raspberries, has a very superior flavor.
GRAPE JUICE, OR UNFERMENTED WINE.--Take twenty-five pounds of some
well ripened very juicy variety of grapes, like the Concord. Pick them
from the stems, wash thoroughly, and scald without the addition of
water, in double boilers until the grapes burst open; cool, turn into
stout jelly bags, and drain off the juice without squeezing. Let the
juice stand and settle; turn off the top, leaving any sediment there may
be. Add to the juice about four pounds of best granulated sugar, reheat
to boiling, skim carefully, and can the same as fruit. Keep in a cool,
dark place. The wine, if to be sealed in bottles, will require a corker,
and the corks should first be boiled in hot water and the bottles well
GRAPE JUICE NO. 2.--Take grapes of the best quality, picked fresh
from the vines. Wash well after stripping from the stems, rejecting any
imperfect fruit. Put them in a porcelain or granite fruit kettle with
one pint of water to every three quarts of grapes, heat to boiling, and
cook slowly for fifteen minutes or longer, skimming as needed. Turn off
the juice and carefully filter it through a jelly bag, putting the seeds
and skins into a separate bag to drain, as the juice from them will be
less clear. Heat again to boiling, add one cupful of hot sugar to each
quart of juice, and seal in sterilized cans or bottles. The juice from
the skins and seeds should be canned separately.
ANOTHER METHOD.--Wash the grapes, and express the juice without
scalding the fruit. Strain the juice three or four times through muslin
or cheese cloth, allowing it to stand and settle for some time between
each filtering. To every three pints of juice add one of water and two
cupfuls of sugar. Heat to boiling, and keep at that temperature for
fifteen minutes, skim carefully, and bottle while at boiling heat. Set
away in a cool, dark place.
FRUIT SYRUP.--Prepare the juice expressed from strawberries,
raspberries, currants, or grapes, as directed above for fruit juices.
After it has come to a boil, add one pound of sugar to every quart of
juice. Seal in pint cans. It may be diluted with water to form a
pleasing beverage, and is especially useful in flavoring puddings and
CURRANT SYRUP.--Boil together a pint of pure currant juice and one
half pound of best white sugar for ten minutes, and can or bottle while
at boiling temperature. One or two spoonfuls of the syrup in a glass of
water makes a most refreshing drink. Two parts currants and one of red
raspberries may be used in place of all currants, if preferred.
ORANGE SYRUP.--Select ripe and thin-skinned fruit. To every pint of
the juice add one pound of sugar, the juice of one lemon, and a little
of the grated rind. Boil for fifteen minutes, removing all scum as it
rises. If the syrup is not clear, strain through a piece of cheese
cloth, and reheat. Can and seal while boiling hot.
LEMON SYRUP.--Grate the yellow portion of the rind of six lemons,
and mix with three pounds of best granulated white sugar. Add one quart
of water and boil until it thickens. Strain, add the juice of the six
lemons, carefully leaving out the pulp and seeds; boil ten minutes, and
bottle. Diluted with two thirds cold water, it forms a delicious and
quickly prepared lemonade.
LEMON SYRUP NO. 2.--To every pint of lemon juice add one pound of
sugar; boil, skim, and seal in cans like fruit.
BLACKBERRY SYRUP.--Crush fresh, well-ripened blackberries, and add
to them one fourth as much boiling water as berries; let them stand for
twenty-four hours, stirring frequently. Strain, add a cup of sugar to
each quart of juice, boil slowly for fifteen minutes, and can.
FRUIT ICES.--Express the juice from a pint of stoned red cherries,
add the juice of two lemons, one cup of sugar and a quart of cold water.
Stir well for five minutes, an freeze in an ice cream freezer. Equal
parts currant and red raspberry juice may be used instead of cherry, if
This method of preserving fruit, except in large establishments where it
is dried by steam, is but little used, since canning is quicker and
superior in every way. Success in drying fruits is dependent upon the
quickness with which, they can be dried, without subjecting them to so
violent a heat as to burn them or injure their flavor.
Pulpy fruits, such as berries, cherries, plums, etc., should be spread
on some convenient flat surface without contact with each other, and
dried in the sun under glass, or in a moderate oven. They should be
turned daily. They will dry more quickly if first scalded in a hot oven.
Cherries should be first stoned and cooked until well heated through and
tender, then spread on plates, and the juice (boiled down to a syrup)
poured over them. When dried, they will be moist. Pack in jars. Large
fruit, such as apples, pears, and peaches, should be pared, divided, and
the seeds or stones removed. If one has but a small quantity, the best
plan is to dry by mean of artificial heat; setting it first in a hot
oven until heated through, which process starts the juice and forms a
film or crust over the cut surfaces, thus holding the remaining:
quantity of juice inside until it becomes absorbed in the tissues. The
drying process may be finished in a warming oven or some place about the
range where the fruit will get only moderate heat. If a larger quantity
of fruit is to be dried, after being heated in the oven, it may be
placed in the hot sun out of doors, under fine wire screens, to keep off
the flies; or may be suspended for the ceiling in some way, or placed
upon a frame made to stand directly over the stove. As the drying
proceeds, the fruit should be turned occasionally, and when dry enough,
it should be thoroughly heated before it is packed away, to prevent it
from getting wormy.
The nuts, or shell fruits, as they are sometimes termed, form a class of
food differing greatly from the succulent fruits. They are more properly
seeds, containing, in general, no starch, but are rich in fat and
nitrogenous elements in the form of vegetable albumen and casein. In
composition, the nuts rank high in nutritive value, but owing to the
oily matter which they contain, are difficult of digestion, unless
reduced to a very minutely divided state before or during mastication.
The fat of nuts is similar in character to cream, and needs to be
reduced to the consistency of cream to be easily digested. Those nuts,
such as almonds, filberts, and pecans, which do not contain an excess of
fat, are the most wholesome. Nuts should be eaten, in moderation, at the
regular mealtime, and not partaken of as a tidbit between meals. It is
likewise well to eat them in connection with some hard food, to insure
their thorough mastication. Almonds and cream crisps thus used make a
Most of the edible nuts have long been known and used as food. The
_Almond_ was highly esteemed by the ancient nations of the East, its
native habitat, and is frequently referred to in sacred history. It is
grown extensively in the warm, temperate regions of the Old World. There
are two varieties, known as the bitter and the sweet almond. The kernel
of the almond yields a fixed oil; that produced from the bitter almond
is much esteemed for flavoring purposes, but it is by no means a safe
article to use, at it possesses marked poisonous qualities. Fresh, sweet
almonds are a nutritive, and, when properly eaten, wholesome food. The
outer brown skin of the kernel is somewhat bitter, rough, and irritating
to the stomach but it can be easily removed by blanching.
Blanched almonds, if baked for a short time, become quite brittle, and
may be easily pulverized, and are then more easily digested. Bread made
from almonds thus baked and pulverized, is considered an excellent food
for persons suffering with diabetes.
_Brazil Nuts_ are the seeds of a gigantic tree which grows wild in the
valleys of the Amazon, and throughout tropical America. The case
containing these seeds is a hard, woody shell, globular in form, and
about the size of a man's head. It is divided into four cells, in each
of which are closely packed the seeds which constitute the so-called
nuts, of commerce. These seeds are exceedingly rich in oil, one pound of
them producing about nine ounces of oil.
The _Cocoanut_ is perhaps the most important of all the shell fruits, if
we may judge by the variety of uses to which the nut and the tree which
bears it can be put. It has been said that nature seldom produces a tree
so variously useful to man as the cocoanut palm. In tropical countries,
where it grows abundantly, its leaves are employed for thatching, its
fibers for manufacturing many useful articles, while its ashes produce
potash in abundance. The fruit is eaten raw, and in many ways is
prepared for food; it also yields an oil which forms an important
article of commerce. The milk of the fruit is a cooling beverage, and
the woody shell of the nut answers very well for a cup from which to
drink it. The saccharine juice of the tree also affords an excellent
drink; and from the fresh young stems is prepared a farinaceous
substance similar to sago.
The cocoanuts grow in clusters drooping from the tuft of long, fringed
leaves which crown the branchless trunk of the stately palm. The
cocoanut as found in commerce is the nut divested of its outer sheath,
and is much smaller in size than when seen upon the tree. Picked fresh
from the tree, the cocoanut consists first of a green outer covering;
next of a fibrous coat, which, if the nut is mature, is hairy-like in
appearance; and then of the woody shell, inside of which is the meat and
milk. For household purposes the nuts are gathered while green, and
before the inner shell has become solidified; the flesh is then soft
like custard, and can be easily eaten with a teaspoon, while a large
quantity of delicious, milk-like fluid is obtainable from each nut.
As found in our Northern markets, the cocoanut is difficult of
digestion, as is likewise the prepared or desiccated cocoanut. The
cocoanut contains about seventy per cent of oil.
The _Chestnut_ is an exception to most nuts in its composition. It
contains starch, and about fifteen per cent of sugar. No oil can be
extracted from the chestnut. In Italy, and other parts of Southern
Europe, the chestnut forms an important article of food. It is sometimes
dried and ground into flour, from which bread is prepared. The chestnut
is a nutritious food, but owing to the starch it contains, is more
digestible when cooked. The same is true of the _Acorn_, which is
similar in character to the chestnut. In the early ages, acorns were
largely used for food, and are still used as a substitute for bread in
The _Hazelnut_, with the _Filbert_ and _Cobnut_, varieties of the same
nut obtained by cultivation, are among the most desirable nuts for
The _Walnut_, probably a native of Persia, where in ancient times it was
so highly valued as to be considered suited only for the table of the
king, is now found very commonly with other species of the same family,
the _Butternut_ and _Hickory nut_, in most temperate climates.
The _Pecan_, a nut allied to the hickory nut, and grown extensively in
the Mississippi Valley and Texas, is one of the most easily digested
The _Peanut_ or _Groundnut_ is the seed of an annual, cultivated
extensively in most tropical and sub-tropical countries. After the plant
has blossomed, the stalk which produced the flower has the peculiarity
of bending down and forcing itself under ground so that the seeds mature
some depth beneath the surface. When ripened, the pods containing the
seeds are dug up and dried. In tropical countries the fresh nuts are
largely consumed, and are thought greatly to resemble almonds in flavor.
In this country they are more commonly roasted. They are less easily
digested than many other nuts because of the large amount of oily matter
which they contain.
TO BLANCH ALMONDS.--Shell fresh, sweet almonds, and pour boiling
water over them; let them stand for two or three minutes, skim out, and
drop into cold water. Press between the thumb and finger, and the
kernels will readily slip out of the brown covering. Dry between clean
towels. Blanched almonds served with raisins make an excellent dessert.
BOILED CHESTNUTS.--The large variety, knows as the Italian
chestnut, is best for this purpose. Remove the shells, drop into boiling
water, and boil for ten minutes, take out, drop into cold water, and rub
off the brown skin. Have some clean water boiling, turn the blanched
nuts into it, and cook until they can be pierced with a fork. Drain
thoroughly, put into a hot dish, dry in the oven for a few minutes, and
serve. A cream sauce or tomato sauce may be served with them if liked.
MASHED CHESTNUTS.--Prepare and boil the chestnuts as in the
preceding recipe. When tender, mash through a colander with a potato
masher. Season with cream and salt if desired. Serve hot.
TO KEEP NUTS FRESH.--Chestnuts and other thin-shelled nuts may be
kept from becoming too dry by mixing with an equal bulk of dry sand and
storing in a box or barrel in some cool place.
Who lives to eat, will die by eating.--_Sel._
Fruit bears the closest relation to light. The sun pours a
continuous flood of light into the fruits, and they furnish the best
portion of food a human being requires for the sustenance of mind
The famous Dr. John Hunter, one of the most eminent physicians of
his time, and himself a sufferer from gout, found in apples a remedy
for this very obstinate and distressing malady. He insisted that all
of his patients should discard wine and roast beef, and make a free
use of apples.
Do not too much for your stomach, or it will abandon you.--_Sel._
The purest food is fruit, next the cereals, then the vegetables. All
pure poets have abstained almost entirely from animal food.
Especially should a minister take less meat when he has to write a
sermon. The less meat the better sermon.--_A. Bronson Alcott._
There is much false economy: those who are too poor to have
seasonable fruits and vegetables, will yet have pie and pickles all
the year. They cannot afford oranges, yet can afford tea and coffee
What plant we in the apple tree?
Fruits that shall dwell in sunny June,
And redden in the August moon,
And drop, when gentle airs come by,
That fan the blue September sky,
While children come, with cries of glee,
And seek there when the fragrant grass
Betrays their bed to those who pass
At the foot of the apple tree.
The legumes, to which belong peas, beans, and lentils, are usually
classed among vegetables; but in composition they differ greatly from
all other vegetable foods, being characterized by a very large
percentage of the nitrogenous elements, by virtue of which they possess
the highest nutritive value. Indeed, when mature, they contain a larger
proportion of nitrogenous matter than any other food, either animal or
vegetable. In their immature state, they more nearly resemble the
vegetables. On account of the excess of nitrogenous elements in their
composition, the mature legumes are well adapted to serve as a
substitute for animal foods, and for use in association with articles in
which starch or other non-nitrogenous elements are predominant; as, for
example, beans or lentils with rice, which combinations constitute the
staple food of large populations in India.
The nitrogenous matter of legumes is termed _legumin_, or vegetable
casein, and its resemblance to the animal casein of milk is very marked.
The Chinese make use of this fact, and manufacture cheese from peas and
beans. The legumes were largely used as food by the ancient nations of
the East. They were the "pulse" upon which the Hebrew children grew so
fair and strong. According to Josephus, legumes also formed the chief
diet of the builders of the pyramids. They are particularly valuable as
strength producers, and frequently form a considerable portion of the
diet of persons in training as athletes, at the present day. Being foods
possessed of such high nutritive value, the legumes are deserving of a
more extended use than is generally accorded them in this country. In
their mature state they are, with the exception of beans, seldom found
upon the ordinary bill of fare, and beans are too generally served in a
form quite difficult of digestion, being combined with large quantities
of fat, or otherwise improperly prepared. Peas and lentils are in some
respects superior to beans, being less liable to disagree with persons
of weak digestion, and for this reason better suited to form a staple
article of diet.
All the legumes are covered with a tough skin, which is in itself
indigestible, and which if not broken by the cooking process or by
thorough mastication afterward, renders the entire seed liable to pass
through the digestive tract undigested, since the digestive fluids
cannot act upon the hard skin. Even when the skins are broken, if served
with the pulp, much of the nutritive material of the legume is wasted,
because it is impossible for the digestive processes to free it from the
cellulose material of which the skins are composed. If, then, it be
desirable to obtain from the legumes the largest amount of nutriment and
in the most digestible form, they must be prepared in some manner so as
to reject the skins. Persons unable to use the legumes when cooked in
the ordinary way, usually experience no difficulty whatever in digesting
them when divested of their skins. The hindrance which even the
partially broken skins are to the complete digestion of the legume, is
well illustrated by the personal experiments of Prof. Struempell, a
German scientist, who found that of beans boiled with the skins on he
was able to digest only 60 per cent of the nitrogenous material they
contained. When, however, he reduced the same quantity of beans to a
fine powder previous to cooking, he was enabled to digest 91.8 per cent
The fact that the mature legumes are more digestible when prepared in
some manner in which the skins are rejected, was doubtless understood in
early times, for we find in a recipe of the fourteenth century,
directions given "to dry legumes in an oven and remove the skins away
before using them."
The green legumes which are more like a succulent vegetable are easily
digested with the skins on, if the hulls are broken before being
swallowed. There are also some kinds of beans which, in their mature
state, from having thinner skins, are more readily digested, as the
SUGGESTIONS FOR COOKING.--The legumes are best cooked by stewing or
boiling, and when mature, require prolonged cooking to render them
tender and digestible. Slow cooking, when practicable, is preferable.
Dry beans and peas are more readily softened by cooking if first soaked
for a time in cold water. The soaking also has a tendency to loosen the
skins, so that when boiled or stewed, a considerable portion of them
slip off whole, and being lighter, rise to the top during the cooking,
and can be removed with a spoon; it likewise aids in removing the strong
flavor characteristic of these foods, which is considered objectionable
by some persons. The length of time required for soaking will depend
upon the age of the seed, those from the last harvest needing only a few
hours, while such as have been kept for two or more years require to be
soaked twelve or twenty-four hours. For cooking, soft water is best. The
mineral elements in hard water have a tendency to harden the casein, of
which the legumes a largely composed, thus rendering it often very
difficult to soften them.
The dry, unsoaked legumes are generally best put to cook in cold water,
and after the boiling point is reached, allowed to simmer gently until
done. Boiling water may be used for legumes which have been previously
soaked. The amount of water required will vary somewhat with the heat
employed and the age and condition of the legume, as will also the time
required for cooking, but as a general rule two quarts of soft water
for one pint of seeds will be quite sufficient. Salt should not be added
until the seeds are nearly done, as it hinders the cooking process.
DESCRIPTION.--The common garden pea is probably a native of
countries bordering on the Black Sea. A variety known as the gray pea
(_pois chiche_) has been used since a very remote period. The common
people of Greece and Rome, in ancient times made it an ordinary article
of diet. It is said that peas were considered such a delicacy by the
Romans that those who coveted public favor distributed them gratuitously
to the people in order to buy votes.
Peas were introduced into England from Holland in the time of Elizabeth,
and were then considered a great delicacy. History tells us that when
the queen was released from her confinement in the tower, May 19, 1554,
she went to Staining to perform her devotions in the church of
Allhallows, after which she dined at a neighboring inn upon a meal of
which the principal dish was boiled peas. A dinner of the same kind,
commemorative of the event, was for a long time given annually at the
Peas, when young, are tender and sweet, containing a considerable
quantity of sugar. The nitrogenous matter entering into their
composition, although less in quantity when unripe, is much more easily
digested than when the seeds are mature.
When quite ripe, like other leguminous seeds, they require long cooking.
When very old, no amount of boiling will soften them. When green, peas
are usually cooked and served as a vegetable; in their dried state, they
are put to almost every variety of use in the different countries where
they are cultivated.
In the southeast of Scotland, a favorite food is made of ground peas
prepared in thick cakes and called peas-bainocks.
In India and southern Europe, a variety of the pea is eaten parched or
lightly roasted, or made into cakes, puddings, and sweetmeats. In
Germany, in combination with other ingredients, peas are compounded into
sausages, which, during the Franco-Prussian war, served as rations for
Dried peas for culinary use are obtainable in two forms; the split peas,
which have had the tough envelope of the seed removed, and the green or
The time required for cooking will vary from five to eight hours,
depending upon the age of the seed and the length of time it has been
soaked previous to cooking.
STEWED SPLIT PEAS.--Carefully examine and wash the peas, rejecting
any imperfect or worm-eaten ones. Put into cold water and let them come
to a boil; then place the stewpan back on the range and simmer gently
until tender, but not mushy. Season with salt and a little cream if
PEAS PUREE.--Soak a quart of Scotch peas in cold water over night.
In the morning, drain and put them to cook in boiling water. Cook slowly
until perfectly tender, allowing them to simmer very gently toward the
last until they become as dry as possible. Put through a colander to
render them homogeneous and remove the skins. Many of the skins will be
loosened and rise to the top during the cooking, and it is well to
remove these with a spoon so as to make the process of rubbing through
the colander less laborious. Season with salt if desired, and a cup of
thin cream. Serve hot.
MASHED PEAS.--Soak and cook a quart of peas as for Peas _Puree_
When well done, if the Scotch peas, rub through a colander to remove the
skins. If the split peas are used, mash perfectly smooth with a potato
masher. Season with a teaspoonful of salt and a half cup of sweet cream,
if desired. Beat well together, turn into an earthen or granite-ware
pudding dish, smooth the top, and bake in a moderate oven until dry and
mealy throughout, and nicely browned on top. Serve hot like mashed
potato, or with a tomato sauce prepared as follows: Heat a pint of
strained, stewed tomato, season lightly with salt, and when boiling,
thicken with a tablespoonful of flour rubbed smooth in a little cold
PEAS CAKES.--Cut cold mashed peas in slices half an inch in
thickness, brush lightly with cream, place on perforated tins, and brown
in the oven. If the peas crumble too much to slice, form them into small
cakes with a spoon or knife, and brown as directed. Serve hot with or
without a tomato sauce. A celery sauce prepared as directed in the
chapter on Sauces, is also excellent.
DRIED GREEN PEAS.--Gather peas while young and tender and carefully
dry them. When needed for use, rinse well, and put to cook in cold
water. Let them simmer until tender. Season with cream the same as fresh
DESCRIPTION.--Some variety of the bean family has been cultivated
and used for culinary purposes from time immemorial. It is frequently
mentioned in Scripture; King David considered it worthy of a place in
his dietary, and the prophet Ezekiel was instructed to mix it with the
various grains and seeds of which he made his bread.
Among some ancient nations the bean was regarded as a type of death, and
the priests of Jupiter were forbidden to eat it, touch it, or even
pronounce its name. The believer in the doctrine of transmigration of
souls carefully avoided this article of food, in the fear of submitting
beloved friends to the ordeal of mastication.
At the present day there is scarcely a country in hot or temperate
climates where the bean is not cultivated and universally appreciated,
both as a green vegetable and when mature and dried.
The time required to digest boiled beans is two and one half hours, and
In their immature state, beans are prepared and cooked like other green
vegetables. Dry beans may be either boiled, stewed, or baked, but
whatever the method employed, it must be very slow and prolonged. Beans
to be baked should first be parboiled until tender. We mention this as a
precautionary measure lest some amateur cook, misled by the term "bake,"
should repeat the experiment of the little English maid whom we employed
as cook while living in London, a few years ago. In ordering our dinner,
we had quite overlooked the fact that baked beans are almost wholly an
American dish, and failed to give any suggestions as to the best manner
of preparing it. Left to her own resources, the poor girl did the best
she knew how, but her face was full of perplexity as she placed the
beans upon the table at dinner, with, "Well, ma'am, here are the beans,
but I don't see how you are going to eat them." Nor did we, for she had
actually baked the dry beans, and they lay there in the dish, as brown
as roasted coffee berries, and as hard as bullets.
Beans to be boiled or stewed do not need parboiling, although many cooks
prefer to parboil them, to lessen the strong flavor which to some
persons is quite objectionable.
From one to eight hours are required to cook beans, varying with the age
and variety of the seed, whether it has been soaked, and the rapidity of
the cooking process.
BAKED BEANS.--Pick over a quart of best white beans and soak in
cold water over night. Put them to cook in fresh water, and simmer
gently till they are tender, but not broken. Let them be quite juicy
when taken from the kettle. Season with salt and a teaspoonful of
molasses. Put them in a deep crock in a slow oven. Let them bake two or
three hours, or until they assume a reddish brown tinge, adding boiling
water occasionally to prevent their becoming dry. Turn, into a shallow
dish, and brown nicely before sending to the table.
BOILED BEANS.--Pick over some fresh, dry beans carefully, and wash
thoroughly. Put into boiling water and cook gently and slowly until
tender, but not broken. They should be moderately juicy when done. Serve
with lemon juice, or season with salt and a little cream as preferred.
The colored varieties, which are usually quite strong in flavor, are
made less so by parboiling for fifteen or twenty minutes and then
pouring the water off, adding more of boiling temperature, and cooking
slowly until tender.
BEANS BOILED IN A BAG.--Soak a pint of white beans over night. When
ready to cook, put them into a clean bag, tie up tightly, as the beans
have already swelled, and if given space to move about with the boiling
of the water will become broken and mushy. Boil three or four hours.
SCALLOPED BEANS.--Soak a pint of white beans over night in cold
water. When ready to cook, put into an earthen baking dish, cover well
with new milk, and bake in a slow oven for eight or nine hours;
refilling the dish with milk as it boils away, and taking care that the
beans do not at any time get dry enough to brown over the top till they
are tender. When nearly done, add salt to taste, and a half cup of
cream. They may be allowed to bake till the milk is quite absorbed, and
the beans dry, or may be served when rich with juice, according to
taste. The beans may be parboiled in water for a half hour before
beginning to bake, and the length of time thereby lessened. They should
be well drained before adding the milk, however.
STEWED BEANS.--Soak a quart of white beans in water over night. In
the morning drain, turn hot water over them an inch deep or more, cover,
and place on the range where they will only just simmer, adding boiling
water if needed. When nearly tender, add salt to taste, a tablespoonful
of sugar if desired, and half a cup of good sweet cream. Cook slowly an
hour or more longer, but let them be full of juice when taken up, never
cooked down dry and mealy.
MASHED BEANS.--Soak over night in cold water, a quart of nice white
beans. When ready to cook, drain, put into boiling water, and boil till
perfectly tender, and the water nearly evaporated. Take up, rub through
a colander to remove the skins, season with salt and a half cup of
cream, put in a shallow pudding dish, smooth the top with a spoon, and
brown in the oven.
STEWED LIMA BEANS.--Put the beans into boiling water, and cook till
tender, but not till they fall to pieces. Fresh beans should cook an
hour or more, and dry ones require from two to three hours unless
previously soaked. They are much better to simmer slowly than to boil
hard. They should be cooked nearly dry. Season with salt, and a cup of
thin cream, to each pint of beans. Simmer for a few minutes after the
cream is turned in. Should it happen that the beans become tender before
the water is sufficiently evaporated, do not drain off the water, but
add a little thicker cream, and thicken the whole with a little flour. A
little flour stirred in with the cream, even when the water is nearly
evaporated may be preferred by some.
SUCCOTASH.--Boil one part Lima beans and two parts sweet corn
separately until both are nearly tender. Put them together, and simmer
gently till done. Season with salt and sweet cream. Fresh corn and beans
may be combined in the same proportions, but as the beans will be likely
to require the most time for cooking, they should be put to boil first,
and the corn added when the beans are about half done, unless it is
exceptionally hard, in which case it must be added sooner.
PULP SUCCOTASH.--Score the kernels of some fresh green corn with a
sharp knife blade, then with the back of a knife scrape out all the
pulp, leaving the hulls on the cob. Boil the pulp in milk ten or fifteen
minutes, or until well done. Cook some fresh shelled beans until tender,
and rub them through a colander. Put together an equal quantity of the
beans thus prepared and the cooked corn pulp, season with salt and
sweet cream, boil together for a few minutes, and serve. Kornlet and
dried Lima beans may be made into succotash in a similar manner.
DESCRIPTION.--Several varieties of the lentil are cultivated for
food, but all are nearly alike in composition and nutritive value. They
have long been esteemed as an article of diet. That they were in
ordinary use among the Hebrews is shown by the frequent mention of them
in Scripture. It is thought that the red pottage of Esau was made from
the red variety of this legume.
The ancient Egyptians believed that a diet of lentils would tend to make
their children good tempered, cheerful, and wise, and for this reason
constituted it their principal food. A gravy made of lentils is largely
used with their rice by the natives of India, at the present day.
The meal which lentils yield is of great richness, and generally
contains more casein than either beans or peas. The skin, however, is
tough and indigestible, and being much smaller than peas, when served
without rejecting the skins, they appear to be almost wholly of tough,
fibrous material; hence they are of little value except for soups,
_purees_, toasts, and other such dishes as require the rejection of the
skin. Lentils have a stronger flavor than any of the other legumes, and
their taste is not so generally liked until one has become accustomed to
Lentils are prepared and cooked in the same manner as dried peas, though
they require somewhat less time for cooking.
The large dark variety is better soaked for a time previous to cooking,
or parboiled for a half hour and then put into new water, to make them
less strong in flavor and less dark in color.
LENTIL PUREE.--Cook the lentils and rub through a colander as for
peas _puree_. Season, and serve in the same manner.
LENTILS MASHED WITH BEANS.--Lentils may be cooked and prepared in
the same manner as directed for mashed peas, but they are less strong in
flavor if about one third to one half cooked white beans are used with
LENTIL GRAVY WITH RICE.--Rub a cupful of cooked lentils through a
colander to remove the skins, add one cup of rich milk, part cream if it
can be afforded, and salt if desired. Heat to boiling, and thicken with
a teaspoonful of flour rubbed smooth in a little cold milk. Serve hot on
nicely steamed or boiled rice, or with well cooked macaroni.
The men who kept alive the flame of learning and piety in the Middle
Ages were mainly vegetarians.--_Sir William Axon._
According to Xenophon, Cyrus, king of Persia, was brought up on a
diet of water, bread, and cresses, till his fifteenth year, when
honey and raisins were added; and the family names of Fabii and
Lentuli were derived from their customary diet.
Thomson, in his poem, "The Seasons," written one hundred and sixty
years ago, pays the following tribute to a diet composed of seeds
"With such a liberal hand has Nature flung
These seeds abroad, blown them about in winds-- ...
But who their virtues can declare? who pierce,
With vision pure, into those secret stores
Of health and life and joy--the food of man,
While yet he lived in innocence and told
A length of golden years, unfleshed in blood?
A stranger to the savage arts of life--
Death, rapine, carnage, surfeit, and disease--
The _lord_, and not the _tyrant_ of the world."
Most assuredly I do believe that body and mind are much influenced
by the kind of food habitually depended upon. I can never stray
among the village people of our windy capes without now and then
coming upon a human being who looks as if he had been split, salted,
and dried, like the salt fish which has built up his arid organism.
If the body is modified by the food which nourishes it, the mind and
character very certainly will be modified by it also. We know enough
of their close connection with each other to be sure of what without
any statistical observation to prove it.--_Oliver Wendell Holmes._
The thoughts and feelings which the food we partake of provokes, are
not remarked in common life, but they, nevertheless, have their
significance. A man who daily sees cows and calves slaughtered, or
who kills them himself, hogs "stuck," hens "plucked," etc., cannot
possibly retain any true feeling for the sufferings of his own
species....Doubtless, the majority of flesh-eaters do not reflect
upon the manner in which this food comes to them, but this
thoughtlessness, far from being a virtue, is the parent of many
vices....How very different are the thoughts and sentiments produced
by the non-flesh diet!--_Gustav Von Struve._
That the popular idea that beef is necessary for strength is not a
correct one, is well illustrated by Xenophon's description of the
outfit of a Spartan soldier, whose dietary consisted of the very
plainest and simplest vegetable fare. The complete accoutrements of
the Spartan soldier, in what we would call heavy marching order,
weighed seventy-five pounds, exclusive of the camp, mining, and
bridge-building tools and the rations of bread and dried fruit which
were issued in weekly installments, and increased the burden of the
infantry soldier to ninety, ninety-five, or even to a full hundred
pounds. This load was often carried at the rate of four miles an
hour for twelve hours _per diem_, day after day, and only when in
the burning deserts of southern Syria did the commander of the
Grecian auxiliaries think prudent to shorten the usual length of the
DIET OF TRAINERS.--The following are a few of the restrictions and
rules laid down by experienced trainers:--
Little salt. No course vegetables. No pork or veal. Two meals a day;
breakfast at eight and dinner at two. No fat meat is allowed, no
butter or cheese, pies or pastry.
Vegetables used for culinary purposes comprise roots and tubers, as
potatoes, turnips, etc.; shoots and stems, as asparagus and sea-kale;
leaves and inflorescence, as spinach and cabbage; immature seeds,
grains, and seed receptacles, as green peas, corn, and string-beans; and
a few of the fruity products, as the tomato and the squash. Of these the
tubers rank the highest in nutritive value.
Vegetables are by no means the most nutritious diet, as water enters
largely into their composition; but food to supply perfectly the needs
of the vital economy, must contain water and indigestible as well as
nutritive elements. Thus they are dietetically of great value, since
they furnish a large quantity of organic fluids. Vegetables are rich in
mineral elements, and are also of service in giving bulk to food. An
exclusive diet of vegetables, however, would give too great bulk, and at
the same time fail to supply the proper amount of food elements. To
furnish the requisite amount of nitrogenous material for one day, if
potatoes alone were depended upon as food, a person would need to
consume about nine pounds; of turnips, sixteen pounds; of parsnips,
eighteen pounds; of cabbage, twenty-two pounds. Hence it is wise to use
them in combination with other articles of diet--grains, whole-wheat
bread, etc.--that supplement the qualities lacking in the vegetables.
TO SELECT VEGETABLES.--All roots and tubers should be plump, free
from decay, bruises, and disease, and with fresh, unshriveled skins.
They are good from the time of maturing until they begin to germinate.
Sprouted vegetables are unfit for food. Potato sprouts contain a poison
allied to belladonna. All vegetables beginning to decay are unfit for
Green vegetables to be wholesome should be freshly gathered, crisp, and
juicy; those which have lain long in the market are very questionable
food. In Paris, a law forbids a market-man to offer for sale any green
vegetable kept more than one day. The use of stale vegetables is known
to have been the cause of serious illness.
KEEPING VEGETABLES.--If necessary to keep green vegetables for any
length of time, do not put them in water, as that will dissolve and
destroy some of their juices; but lay them in a cool, dark place,--on a
stone floor is best,--and do not remove their outer leaves until needed.
They should be cooked the day they are gathered, if possible. The best
way to freshen those with the stems when withered is to cut off a bit of
the stem or stem-end, and set only the cut part in water. The vegetables
will then absorb enough water to replace what has been lost by
Peas and beans should not be shelled until wanted. If, however, they are
not used as soon as shelled, cover them with pods and put in a cool
Winter vegetables can be best kept wholesome by storing in a cool, dry
place of even temperature, and where neither warmth, moisture, nor light
is present to induce decay or germination. They should be well sorted,
the bruised or decayed, rejected, and the rest put into clean bins or
boxes; and should be dry and clean when stored. Vegetables soon absorb
bad flavors if left near anything odorous or decomposing, and are thus
rendered unwholesome. They should be looked over often, and decayed ones
removed. Vegetables, to be kept fit for food, should on no account be
stored in a cellar with barrels of fermenting pickle brine, soft soap,
heaps of decomposing rubbish, and other similar things frequently found
in the dark, damp vegetable cellars of modern houses.
PREPARATION AND COOKING.--Most vegetables need thorough washing
before cooking. Roots and tubers should be well cleaned before paring. A
vegetable brush or a small whisk broom is especially serviceable for
this purpose. If necessary to wash shelled beans and peas, it can best
be accomplished by putting them in a colander and dipping in and out of
large pans of water until clean. Spinach, lettuce, and other leaves may
be cleaned the same way.
Vegetables admit of much variety in preparation for the table, and are
commonly held to require the least culinary skill of any article of
diet. This is a mistake. Though the usual processes employed to make
vegetables palatable are simple, yet many cooks, from carelessness or
lack of knowledge of their nature and composition, convert some of the
most nutritious vegetables into dishes almost worthless as food or
almost impossible of digestion. It requires no little care and skill to
cook vegetables so that they will neither be underdone nor overdone, and
so that they will retain their natural flavors.
A general rule, applicable to all vegetables to be boiled or stewed, is
to cook them in as little water as may be without burning. The salts and
nutrient juices are largely lost in the water; and if this needs to be
drained off, much of the nutriment is apt to be wasted. Many cooks throw
away the true richness, while they serve the "husks" only. Condiments
and seasonings may cover insipid taste, but they cannot restore lost
elements. Vegetables contain so much water in their composition that it
is not necessary to add large quantities for cooking, as in the case of
the grains and legumes, which have lost nearly all their moisture in the
ripening process. Some vegetables are much better cooked without the
addition of water.
Vegetables to be cooked by boiling should be put into boiling water; and
since water loses its goodness by boiling, vegetables should be put in
as soon as the boiling begins. The process of cooking should be
continuous, and in general gentle heat is best. Remember that when water
is boiling, the temperature is not increased by violent bubbling. Keep
the cooking utensil closely covered. If water is added, let it also be
Vegetables not of uniform size should be so assorted that those of the
same size may be cooked together, or large ones may be divided. Green
vegetables retain their color best if cook rapidly. Soda is sometimes
added to the water in which the vegetables are cooked, for the purpose
of preserving their colors, but this practice is very harmful.
Vegetables should be cooked until they are perfectly tender but not
overdone. Many cooks spoil their vegetables by cooking them too long,
while quite as many more serve them in an underdone state to preserve
their form. Either plan makes them less palatable, and likely to be
Steaming or baking is preferable for most vegetables, because their
finer flavors are more easily retained, and their food value suffers
less diminution. Particularly is this true of tubers.
The time required for cooking depends much upon the age and freshness of
the vegetables, as well as the method of cooking employed. Wilted
vegetables require a longer time for cooking than fresh ones.
TIME REQUIRED FOR COOKING.--The following is the approximate length
of time required for cooking some of the more commonly used
Potatoes, baked, 30 to 45 minutes.
Potatoes, steamed, 20 to 40 minutes.
Potatoes, boiled (in jackets), 20 to 25 minutes after the water is
Potatoes, pared, about 20 minutes if of medium size; if very large, they
will require from 25 to 45 minutes.
Green corn, young, from 15 to 20 minutes.
Peas, 25 to 30 minutes.
Asparagus, 15 to 20 minutes, young; 30 to 50 if old.
Tomatoes, 1 to 2 hours.
String beans and shelled beans, 45 to 60 minutes or longer.
Beets, boiled, 1 hour if young; old, 3 to 5 hours.
Beets, baked, 3 to 6 hours. Carrots, 1 to 2 hours.
Parsnips, 45 minutes, young; old, 1 to 2 hours.
Turnips, young, 45 minutes; old, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Winter squash, 1 hour. Cabbage, young, 1 hour; old, 2 to 3 hours.
Vegetable oysters, 1 to 2 hours.
Celery, 20 to 30 minutes.
Spinach, 20 to 60 minutes or more.
Cauliflower, 20 to 40 minutes.
Summer squash, 20 to 60 minutes.
If vegetables after being cooked cannot be served at once, dish them up
as soon as done, and place the dishes in a _bain marie_ or in pans of
hot water, where they will keep of even temperature, but not boil.
Vegetables are never so good after standing, but they spoil less kept in
this way than any other. The water in the pans should be of equal depth
with the food in the dishes. Stewed vegetables and others prepared with
a sauce, may, when cold, be reheated in a similar manner.
[Illustration: Bain Marie.]
If salt is to be used to season, one third of a teaspoonful for each
pint of cooked vegetables is an ample quantity.
THE IRISH POTATO.
DESCRIPTION.--The potato, a plant of the order _Solanaceae_, is
supposed to be indigenous to South America. Probably it was introduced
into Europe by the Spaniards early in the sixteenth century, but
cultivated only as a curiosity. To Sir Walter Raleigh, however, is
usually given the credit of its introduction as a food, he having
imported it from Virginia to Ireland in 1586, where its valuable
nutritive qualities were first appreciated. The potato has so long
constituted the staple article of diet in Ireland, that it has come to
be commonly, though incorrectly, known as the Irish potato.
The edible portion of the plant is the tuber, a thick, fleshy mass or
enlarged portion of an underground stem, having upon its surface a
number of little buds, or "eyes," each capable of independent growth.
The tuber is made up of little cells filled with starch granules,
surrounded and permeated with a watery fluid containing a small
percentage of the albuminous or nitrogenous elements. In cooking, heat
coagulates the albumen within and between the cells, while the starch
granules absorb the watery portion, swell, and distend the cells. The
cohesion between these is also destroyed, and they easily separate. When
these changes are complete, the potato becomes a loose, farinaceous
mass, or "mealy." When, however, the liquid portion is not wholly
absorbed, and the cells are but imperfectly separated, the potato
appears waxen, watery, or soggy. In a mealy state the potato is easily
digested; but when waxy or water-soaked, it is exceedingly trying to the
It is obvious, then, that the great _desideratum_ in cooking the potato,
is to promote the expansion and separation of its cells; in other words,
to render it mealy. Young potatoes are always waxy, and consequently
less wholesome than ripe ones. Potatoes which have been frozen and
allowed to thaw quickly are much sweeter and more watery, because in
thawing the starch changes into sugar. Frozen potatoes should be thawed
in cold water and cooked at once, or kept frozen until ready for use.
PREPARATION AND COOKING.--Always pare potatoes very thin. Much of
the most nutritious part of the tuber lies next its outer covering; so
care should be taken to waste as little as possible. Potatoes cooked
with the skins on are undoubtedly better than those pared. The chief
mineral element contained in the potato is potash, an important
constituent of the blood. Potash salts are freely soluble in water, and
when the skin is removed, there is nothing to prevent these salts from
escaping into the water in which the potato is boiled. If the potato is
cooked in its "jacket," the skin, which does not in general burst open
until the potato is nearly done, serves to keep this valuable element
largely inside the potato while cooking. For the same reason it is
better not to pare potatoes and put them in water to soak over night, as
many cooks are in the habit of doing, to have them in readiness for
cooking for breakfast.
Potatoes to be pared should be first washed and dried. It is a good plan
to wash quite a quantity at one time, to be used as needed. After
paring, drop at once into cold water and rinse them thoroughly. It is a
careless habit to allow pared potatoes to fall among the skins, as in
this way they become stained, and appear black and discolored after
cooking. Scrubbing with a vegetable brush is by far the best means for
cleaning potatoes to be cooked with the skins on.
When boiled in their skins, the waste, according to Letheby, is about
three per cent, while without them it is not less than fourteen per
cent, or more than two ounces in every pound. Potatoes boiled without
skins should be cooked very gently.
Steaming, roasting, and baking are much better methods for cooking
potatoes than boiling, for reasons already given. Very old potatoes are
best stewed or mashed. When withered or wilted, they are freshened by
standing in cold water for an hour or so before cooking. If diseased or
badly sprouted, potatoes are wholly unfit for food.
BOILED POTATOES (IN JACKETS).--Choose potatoes of uniform size,
free from specks. Wash and scrub them well with a coarse cloth or brush;
dig out all eyes and rinse in cold water; cook in just enough water to
prevent burning, till easily pierced with a fork, not till they have
burst the skin and fallen in pieces. Drain thoroughly, take out the
potatoes, and place them in the oven for five minutes, or place the
kettle back on the range; remove the skins, and cover with a cloth to
absorb all moisture, and let them steam three or four minutes. By either
method they will be dry and mealy. In removing the skins, draw them off
without cutting the potatoes.
BOILED POTATOES (WITHOUT SKINS).--Pare very thin, and wash clean.
If not of an equal size, cut the larger potatoes in two. Cook in only
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