Grace Viall Gray.

Every Step in Canning online

. (page 12 of 17)
Online LibraryGrace Viall GrayEvery Step in Canning → online text (page 12 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


for one or two meals, it will not be necessary to open a container,
the contents of which cannot be consumed in a short time. If a paper
bag is used the upper part should be twisted into a neck, bent over
and tied tightly with a string. A further precaution is to place the
small bags in a tin container with a tightly fitting cover, such as an
ordinary lard can. All bags should bear a label.

Pears and quinces usually are prepared and dried exactly as are
apples. Pears are attractive when cut lengthwise into halves, with the
stem and calyx removed but the core left in. Or they may be quartered.
If sliced like apples the drying period is shortened.

Peaches usually are dried unpeeled, but they are better if peeled
before drying. The first step in the preparation of peaches is to
split them open to remove the pit. To do this, cut completely round
the peach in the line of the suture with a sharp knife. The cut must
be complete, for tearing of the flesh will make the finished product
less attractive. If the fruit is to be peeled the paring should be
done before it is cut open to remove the pit.

To facilitate the removal of the skin, dip the peaches in a kettle of
boiling water for one and a half minutes; then plunge directly into
cold water, after which the skins can be easily slipped off. After the
pit has been removed, lay on drier pit side up. The juice of the fruit
will collect in the pit or "cup" and will add to the flavor and
quality of the dried peaches. The peaches can be cut into smaller
pieces if you wish to lessen the drying period.

Plums and apricots are not peeled, but are cut into halves, the pits
removed and dried in the same way as peaches. Small, thin-fleshed
varieties of plums are not suitable for drying.

When drying cherries always remove the stems. The pits may or may not
be removed. The best product for later cooking or eating has the pit
removed, though large quantities of juices are lost in the pitting
unless you provide some way of saving and utilizing it.

A prune is simply a plum having certain qualities not possessed by all
plums. All prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes. The final
test as to whether a plum is a prune is the ability to dry without
fermenting with the pit still remaining in the fruit. If a plum cannot
dry without fermentation unless the pit is removed, it is not a prune.
Prunes for drying, like other fruits, should be fully ripe.

Prunes are merely washed and then dried without removing the pits. The
fruit is dry when the skin is well shrunken. The texture should be
firm but springy and pliable enough to yield readily when pressed in
the hand. The drying should not be continued until the individual
prunes rattle as they are brought in contact with one another in
handling. Prunes must be conditioned before storing.

In drying, prunes shrink about two-thirds in weight - that is, for
every three pounds of fresh fruit you get one pound of finished
product.

Smaller fruits, such as red and black raspberries, blackberries,
huckleberries, dewberries, strawberries and blueberries, are simply
washed and then put to dry. Berries must not be dried too hard; if
too much moisture is removed they will not resume their original form
when soaked in water. But the material must be dried sufficiently or
it will mold. Haven't you often tasted extremely seedy dried berries?
They were dried until they rattled. Stop the drying as soon as the
berries fail to stain the hand when pressed.

To obtain the most satisfactory results soft fruits should be only one
layer deep on the drying trays.

Fruits contain about 80 to 95 per cent water and when dried
sufficiently still retain from 15 to 20 per cent of water, so it is a
good plan to weigh before and after drying. The product should lose
from two-thirds to four-fifths of its weight.


STEPS IN FRUIT DRYING

1. Thoroughly cleanse the product.

2. Prepare the product by slicing and so on.

3. Spread on trays; put in oven or put on commercial drier.

4. Stir occasionally.

5. Shift trays.

6. Test for completeness of drying.

7. "Condition" for three or four days. Sweet fruits may contain more
moisture without spoiling than those of low sugar content.

8. Heat to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes, to kill all
insects.

9. Pack immediately in available receptacles.

10. Label and store.


FRUIT PASTES

Fruit pastes are delicious and can be dried.

1. Select, wash, prepare fruit.
2. Cook until soft; stir.
3. Add sugar to sweeten.
4. Continue cooking until very thick.
5. Spread out flat by spoonfuls on oiled paper.
6. Dry in slow oven; finish drying over kitchen range.
7. Turn from time to time like griddle cakes.

Nuts of all kinds can be dried in these cakes, which may be left whole
or cut in strips with scissors.


CANDIED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

1. Select product of uniform size and ripeness.

2. Wash; prepare in usual way.

3. Cut fruit in halves, quarters or smaller sections; cut vegetables
in narrow strips two and a half inches long.

4. Drop in a sirup cooked until it spins a thread. To prepare ginger
sirup, add a few roots of ginger to the sirup.

5. Cook until transparent.

6. Drain.

7. Dry in slow oven; Finish drying over kitchen range.

8. Roll in granulated sugar. (May be omitted for fruits.)


This method is recommended especially for candied apples, peaches,
pears and carrots.

In a properly constructed sun drier, all fruits will dry in from 3 to
12 hours, under normal summer conditions. Time depends on dryness of
atmosphere, sunshine and wind. Products dried in a sun drier, no
matter how crude, are superior to those dried in the open without
protection of some kind. Products dry more rapidly in high altitudes
than at sea level.

Racks in oven can be used. Plates or platters can be used in oven. A
stove drier hung over the stove can be used. A water-bath or other
commercial drier can be used with the stove.


TIME-TABLE FOR DRYING FRUITS

[A] ARTIFICIAL HEAT TIME IN HOURS TEMPERATURE 110° TO 130° F.

[B] FAN - NO HEAT APPROXIMATE TIME IN HOURS

PRODUCT | PREPARATION | [A] | [B]
| | |
Apples | Peel, core, trim and slice ¼" | 4-6 | 24-36
| thick. Drop in salt solution, 3 | |
|level teaspoonfuls to 1 gallon of | |
| water to prevent discoloration. | |
| | |
Apricots |Remove pits, but do not peel. Cut | 4-6 | 24-36
| into halves and dry, "cup" side | |
| up. | |
Berries, All| | |
Kinds | Wash; stem or hull. | 4-5 | 24-36
| | |
Cherries | Remove stems. Pit or not, as | 2-4 | 24-36
| desired. If pitted, save and | |
| utilize juice. | |
| | |
Pears | Peel, core, trim and slice ¼" | 4-6 | 24-36
| thick. Or peel, cut in halves | |
| lengthwise; remove stems and | |
| calyx. | |
| | |
Peaches |Peel, remove stones; cut in halves| 4-6 | 24-36
| or smaller pieces. If in halves, | |
|lay pit or "cup" side up to retain| |
| juice. | |
| | |
Plums |Do not peel, but remove pits. Cut | 4-6 | 24-36
|in halves and dry, "cup" side up. | |
| | |
Prunes | Wash; do not pit. | 5-7 | 24-36
| | |
Quinces | Peel, core, trim and slice ¼" | 4-6 | 24-36
| thick. | |
| | |
Rhubarb | Select young stems. Wash and cut | 6-8 | 24-36
| into ½" pieces, using very sharp | |
|knife. Do not remove skins, so the| |
| rhubarb will retain pink color. | |
| | |
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




CHAPTER XIV

HOW TO DRY VEGETABLES


Vegetable drying is a little more complicated than fruit drying, just
as vegetable canning is more complicated than fruit canning. Blanching
is an important part of the operation. It makes vegetable drying
satisfactory as well as easy and simple, just as it makes vegetable
canning possible.

However, there is one difference between blanching vegetables for
canning and blanching them for drying. After repeated experiments it
has been found that for drying purposes it is best to blanch all
vegetables in steam rather than in boiling water. In vegetable canning
we blanch almost all vegetables in boiling water, usually steaming
only the members of the "green" family.

So remember that for drying all vegetables are blanched in steam. To
do this steaming you can use your ordinary household steamer, such as
you use for steaming brown breads and suet puddings, or you can simply
place a colander over boiling water in a kettle. Do not allow the
colander to touch the water. If you are fortunate enough to possess a
pressure cooker, steam the vegetables for drying in it.

Blanching is necessary for many reasons. It removes the strong
flavors, objectionable to many people. Beans, cabbage, turnips and
onions have too strong a flavor if dried without blanching.
Furthermore, it starts the color to flowing, just as it does in
canning. It removes the sticky coating round vegetables. Most
vegetables have a protective covering to prevent evaporation. The
removal of this covering by blanching facilitates drying. Blanching
also relaxes the tissues, drives out the air and improves the
capillary attraction, and as a result the drying is done in a much
shorter period. Products dry less rapidly when the texture is firm and
the tissue contains air.

Blanching checks the ripening processes. The ripening process is
destroyed by heating and this is to be desired for drying purposes.

Blanching kills the cells and thus prevents the hay-like flavor so
often noticed in unblanched products. It prevents changes after
drying, which otherwise will occur unless the water content is reduced
to about five per cent.

Thorough blanching makes the product absolutely sanitary; no insect
eggs exist after blanching and cold-dipping.

There is one precaution that must be followed: Do not blanch too long.
Blanching too long seems to break down the cell structure, so that the
product cannot be restored to its original color, shape or size.
Follow the blanching time-table for drying just as carefully as you
follow the blanching time-table for canning.

After the blanching comes the cold-dip. For the benefit of new canning
and drying enthusiasts, let me explain that by "cold-dip" we mean
plunging the product immediately into a pan of very cold water or
holding it under the cold-water faucet until the product is thoroughly
cooled. Do not let the product stand in cold water, as it would then
lose more food value and absorb too much water.

You can cold-dip the product without removing it from the colander,
strainer or steamer in which it is steamed. Plunge the vessel
containing the product into the cold water.

The cold-dipping checks the cooking, sets the coloring matter which
was started to flowing in the blanching process, and it makes the
product much easier to handle.

Let us now see just exactly what we must do when we want to dry sweet
corn, more of which is dried than of any other vegetable. All other
vegetables are dried in the same way as is corn, the only difference
being in the length of the blanching and drying period.

All vegetables are prepared for drying just as they are prepared for
table use. When drying corn select ears that are young and tender, and
if possible freshly gathered. Products for drying should be in the
same perfect condition as you have them for table use. If wilted and
old it is not worth while drying them.

Remove the husks and the silk, and steam - on the cob - for fifteen
minutes. This sets the milk, besides doing many other things which
blanching by steam always does. After the steaming, cold-dip the corn,
and then cut it from the cob, using a very sharp and flexible knife.
Cut the grains fine, but only halfway down to the cob; scrape out the
remainder of the grains, being careful not to scrape off any of the
chaff next to the cob.

When field corn is used, the good, plump cooking stage is the proper
degree of ripeness for satisfactory drying.

The corn should be thoroughly drained as this facilitates drying. You
can easily remove all surface moisture by placing the corn between
two towels and patting them.

It is now ready for drying. The corn may be dried in the sun, but if
so, it is advisable first to dry it in the oven for ten or fifteen
minutes and then finish the drying in the sun. Never attempt sun
drying in moist weather. The corn may be dried by artificial heat,
either on top of the stove or in the oven, using either plates,
oven-racks properly covered, or any commercial dryer.

Work quickly after the blanching and cold-dipping and get the corn
heated as quickly as possible in order to prevent souring. You get
"flat-sour" often when canning if you do not work quickly enough, and
you will get sour vegetables in drying if you work too slowly.

Where artificial heat is used begin at a lower temperature and
gradually increase it. As the corn is drying, stir it from time to
time and readjust the trays if necessary.

After the drying comes the test to determine whether or not the corn
is sufficiently dry. Vegetables at this point differ from fruits.
Fruits are dried only until leathery, whereas vegetables are dried
until they are bone-dry. They must crackle and snap.

This test is sometimes used to see if the product is sufficiently dry:
Put some of it in a covered glass jar with a crisp soda cracker and
keep them there for a few hours. If the cracker loses its crispness
and becomes soft and damp there is still too much moisture in the
product and it should be dried a little longer to obtain the degree of
dryness required.

After the corn is bone-dry it should, like all other vegetables and
fruits, be conditioned. This means to pour them from one bag or box
to another, once a day for three or four days. This enables you to
notice any moisture that may be left in the dried food. Foods that
show any traces of moisture should be returned to the drying tray for
a short time.

Notice Lima beans particularly, as they require a longer conditioning
period than most vegetables.

After the conditioning, in order to kill all insects and destroy all
eggs, it is advisable to place the vegetables on trays and heat them
in an oven for half an hour at a temperature of 140 degrees
Fahrenheit. Store directly from the oven.

Dried vegetables are stored just as are dried fruits - in cans, cracked
jars that cannot be used for canning, fiber containers, cheesecloth,
paper bags or paraffin containers.

In storing your dried products keep in mind these things: Protection
from moisture, insects, rats, mice, dust and light. If you observe all
these things it is unnecessary to have air-tight containers.

All varieties of string beans can be dried, but only those fit for
table use should be used. Old, stringy, tough beans will remain the
same kind of beans when dried. There are two ways of preparing string,
wax or snap beans for drying:

1. Wash; remove stem, tip and string. Cut or break into pieces
one-half to one inch long; blanch three to ten minutes, according to
age and freshness, in steam; cold-dip. Place on trays or dryer. If you
have a vegetable slicer it can be used for slicing the beans.

2. Prepare as above, then blanch the whole beans. After cold-dipping,
thread them on coarse, strong thread, making long "necklaces" of
them; hang them above the stove or out of doors until dry.

Lima beans should be shelled from the pod and then blanched two to
five minutes if young and tender. If larger and more mature blanch
five to ten minutes.

Okra is blanched for three minutes. If the pods are young and small,
dry them whole. Older pods should be cut into quarter-inch slices.
Small tender pods are sometimes strung on stout thread and hung up to
dry.

Peppers may be dried by splitting on one side, removing the seed,
drying in the air, and finishing the drying in the dryer at 130
degrees Fahrenheit. A more satisfactory method is to place peppers in
a biscuit pan in the oven and heat until the skins blister; or to
steam them until the skin softens, peel, split in half, take out seed,
and dry at 110 to 130 degrees. In drying thick-fleshed peppers like
the pimento, do not increase heat too quickly, but dry slowly and
evenly.

Small varieties of red peppers may be spread in the sun until wilted
and the drying finished in the dryer, or they may be dried entirely in
the sun.

Peppers often are dried whole. If large they can be strung on thread;
if small the whole plant can be hung up to dry.

Shell full-grown peas and blanch three to five minutes; cold-dip and
then spread in a single layer on trays to dry.

When drying the very tender young sugar peas, use the pod also. Wash
and cut in quarter-inch pieces. Blanch six minutes, cold-dip and
remove surplus moisture before drying. When drying beets always select
young, quickly grown, tender beets. Steam twenty to thirty minutes, or
until the skin cracks. Dip in cold water, peel and slice into
one-eighth to one-quarter inch slices. Then dry.

Carrots having a large, woody core should not be dried. Blanch six
minutes; cold-dip. Carrots are often sliced lengthwise into pieces
about one-eighth inch thick. Parsnips, kohl-rabi, celeriac and salsify
are prepared in the same way as are carrots.

Onions should be held under water while peeling and slicing to avoid
smarting of the eyes. They should be sliced into one-eighth to
one-quarter inch slices. Blanch five minutes, cold-dip, remove
superfluous moisture and dry. Leeks are handled as are onions.

Select well-developed heads of cabbage and remove all loose outside
leaves. Split the cabbage, remove the hard, woody core and slice the
remainder of the head with a kraut slicer or cutter or with a large,
sharp knife. Blanch five to ten minutes and cold-dip; dry.

Spinach and parsley should be carefully washed. Steam, cold-dip and
dry. If the spinach is sliced the drying will be greatly facilitated.
Beet tops, Swiss chard and celery are prepared like spinach.

Select sound, well-matured Irish potatoes. Wash and boil or steam
until nearly done. Peel and pass through a meat grinder or a potato
ricer. Collect the shred in layers on a tray and dry until brittle. If
toasted slightly in an oven when dry, the flavor is improved somewhat;
or boil or steam until nearly done, peel, cut into quarter-inch
slices, spread on trays, and dry until brittle. Peeling may be
omitted, but the product will be very much inferior in flavor. Irish
potatoes cannot be satisfactorily dried unless they are first cooked;
otherwise they will discolor.

All root vegetables must be thoroughly cleaned, otherwise an earthy
flavor may cling to them. One decayed root may seriously affect
several pots of vegetable soup.


GENERAL SUGGESTIONS

1. All vegetables should be completely dried in from two to
twenty-four hours.

2. Materials should be turned or stirred several times to secure a
uniform product.

3. If heat is used guard against scorching. The door is left open if
an oven is used; the temperature should be about 110 degrees at the
beginning and usually should not exceed 130 degrees. Onions, string
beans and peas will yellow at more than 140 degrees.

4. A thermometer is essential to successful drying by artificial heat.

5. It is impossible to give definite lengths of times for the
completion of sun drying, as this varies not only with different
products but with the weather. A sultry, rainy day is the worst for
drying.

6. Vegetables should be stone dry.

7. Succulent vegetables and fruits contain from 80 to 95 per cent of
water, and when dried sufficiently still retain from 15 to 20 per
cent; so it is a good plan to weigh before and after drying as a
check. The product should lose from two-thirds to four-fifths of its
weight.

8. Work rapidly to prevent souring of vegetables.

9. Small vegetables, mature beans and peas and small onions may be
dried whole. Larger vegetables should be cut up so as to expose more
surface for drying.

10. The slicing, cutting and shredding should be done before
blanching, with the exception of corn, which is cut from the cob after
blanching.


TIME-TABLE FOR DRYING VEGETABLES


[A] BLANCHING BY STEAM, TIME ON MINUTES

[B] ARTIFICIAL HEAT TEMPERATURE 110° TO 130° F. APPROXIMATE TIME IN HOURS

[C] FAN - NO HEAT APPROXIMATE TIME IN HOURS

PRODUCT | PREPARATION | [A] | [B] | [C]
| |
ASPARAGUS |Wash and cut into pieces| 2 to 4 | 4 to 8 |12 to 24
| | | |
BEANS, | | | |
GREEN | Wash; remove stem, tip | | |
STRING | and string | 3 to 10 | 2½ to 3 |20 to 24
| | | |
BEANS, WAX | Wash; remove stem, tip | | |
| and string; cut into | | |
| pieces or dry whole | 3 to 10 | 2 to 4 | 5 to 8
| | | |
BEETS | Leave skin on while |[1]20 to 30| 2½ to 3 |12 to 16
| steaming | | |
BRUSSELS | | | |
SPROUTS |Divide into small pieces| 6 | 3 to 5 |12 to 16
| | | |
CABBAGE |Remove all loose outside| | |
| leaves; split cabbage | | |
| and remove woody core; | 5 to 10 | 3 to 5 |12 to 24
| slice or shred | | |
| | | |
CARROTS | Wash; slice lengthwise | | |
| into pieces 1/8-inch | 6 | 2½ to 3 |20 to 24
| thick | | |
| | | |
CAULIFLOWER|Clean; divide into small| | |
| bunches | 6 | 2 to 3 |12 to 16
| | | |
CELERY | Wash carefully and | | |
| remove leaves; slice | 3 | 3 to 4 |12 to 16
| | | |
CELERIAC |Clean; pare; slice into | | |
| 1/8-inch pieces | 6 | 2½ to 3 |20 to 24
| | | |
CORN, SWEET| Blanch on cob. From 12 | | |
|ears of corn you should | | |
| obtain 1 pound dried | 15 | 3 to 4 | 2 days
| corn | | |
| | | |
KOHL-RABI |Clean; pare; slice into | | |
| 1/8-inch pieces | 6 | 2½ to 3 | 8 to 12
| | | |
LEEKS | Cut into ½-inch strips | 5 | 2½ to 3 | 8 to 12
| | | |
LIMA BEANS | | | |
(YOUNG) | Shell | 2 to 5 | 3 to 3½ |12 to 20
| | | |
LIMA BEANS | | | |


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryGrace Viall GrayEvery Step in Canning → online text (page 12 of 17)