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Woman's Institute Library of Cookery Volume 5: Fruit and Fruit Desserts; Canning and Drying; Jelly Making, Preserving and Pickling; Confections; Beverages; the Planning of Meals online

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Online LibraryWoman's Institute of Domestic Arts and SciencesWoman's Institute Library of Cookery Volume 5: Fruit and Fruit Desserts; Canning and Drying; Jelly Making, Preserving and Pickling; Confections; Beverages; the Planning of Meals → online text (page 10 of 27)
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rustless-wire netting, or screening, attached to the bottom. Such a
device may be covered with cheesecloth to keep out dirt. If it is to be
used in the oven or set in the sun, a nail driven part way into each
corner will provide feet and thus keep it from resting on the oven floor
or any other flat surface.

For suspending food that is to be dried over a stove, a rack like that
shown in Fig. 24 may be easily made in the home. As will be observed, it
consists of three trays fastened together. These trays are suspended by
four strings tied to another string that runs over small pulleys. The
pulleys are attached to a wooden brace that is secured to the kitchen
wall. The pulleys and string permit the rack to be raised or lowered, so
that the food may be easily put into and taken out of the trays.

[Illustration: FIG. 24]

112. SUN-DRYING METHOD. - If food is to be dried in the sun, spread it in
a single layer on each tray, cover the trays so that no dirt will fall
into them, and set them out of doors so that the sun's rays will strike
them. Glass covers will help to increase the heat from the sun. As the
sun changes, change the position of the trays or turn them. Food that is
being dried outdoors should be brought into the house when the sun goes
down and put out again the following morning. This procedure should be
kept up until the food is so dry as to be _leathery_; that is, in a
condition that will permit of bending without cracking.

113. STOVE-DRYING METHOD. - If food is to be dried by the stove-drying
method, it may be placed in the oven, on top of the stove, or suspended
above the stove.

114. If the oven is to be used, a device that fits the oven should be
employed. Spread the food on the trays in single layers, and put the
device into the oven. The temperature of the oven demands attention in
this method. Only a very moderate heat may be applied at first, 110
degrees Fahrenheit being considered the ideal temperature for beginning.
As it is difficult to hold an oven at such a low temperature if a fire
is burning, the oven door should be left open to admit air. The
temperature of the oven of a coal stove in which the fire is banked or
is being allowed to go out is usually ideal for drying foods. If
desired, the heat of an oven may be gradually increased to about 180
degrees as the food dries; but the application of greater heat is liable
to scorch the food and injure its flavor. The food must be turned often
to permit it to dry evenly.

115. If food is to be dried on top of the stove, the device shown in
Fig. 23 will prove satisfactory. The same arrangement may be improvised
by placing a metal tray over a large flat vessel of water. Place the
food to be dried in a single layer on the tray over the water. Let the
water boil and keep it boiling, and turn the food frequently so that the
heat will be applied to all sides. Continue this process until the food
is leathery, when it may be stored.

116. If food is to be dried in a rack suspended above the stove, a rack
like that shown in Fig. 24 should be used. Cover the trays in the rack
with a single layer of food, and dry it to the leathery stage, when it
may be removed and stored. In using this device, only a coal or a wood
stove is practical. When the heat coming from the stove is not great,
the rack may be allowed to come close to it, and when the heat is
intense the rack may be drawn up. Regulating the distance of the rack
from the stove will tend to keep the food at a uniform temperature and
allow it to dry evenly, especially when the food is turned from time
to time.

117. ELECTRIC-FAN DRYING METHOD. - If a house is wired for electricity,
drying foods by means of the air-currents generated by a moving electric
fan is a simple matter. Use devices like those required for the sun and
oven-drying methods. Spread the foods to be dried on the trays in a
single thin layer, and arrange them so that the air from the electric
fan will blow over them. Turn the trays as the food dries, so that one
part does not dry sooner than another; also, turn the food frequently so
as to expose all parts alike. If the fan can be placed so as to blow
across a stove and thus blow heated air on the food, it will dry more
quickly. A very warm kitchen is an excellent place in which to do the
work with an electric fan, as the combination of air and heat does the
work more rapidly than either one used alone.

118. COMBINATION DRYING METHODS. - A combination of any of the drying
methods mentioned may be used effectively. Drying may be started in the
sun and completed in the oven, or it may be started with an electric fan
and completed in the sun or the oven. Any means whereby the time
required for drying may be shortened is advantageous.


DIRECTIONS FOR DRYING VEGETABLES AND FRUITS

119. PREPARATION OF FOODS FOR DRYING. - The correct preparation of the
foods before drying is very important. The thinner and smaller the
pieces to be dried are cut, the more quickly may the process be
completed. Any skins or hulls that would prevent the rapid evaporation
of moisture from the food must be removed or broken, and every raw food
that is to be dried must first be immersed in salt water made in the
proportion of 1 teaspoonful of salt to each quart of water, as this
prevents discoloring to a great extent.

120. STRING BEANS. - Beans for drying should be selected while they are
young and tender. Wash them and remove the strings if this is necessary.
Cut them in half, lengthwise, with a sharp knife. Drop them into salt
water, remove, and spread on the drying trays. Dry by any
method selected.

121. CORN. - Corn that is to be dried should be at the dough stage;
younger corn contains too much water for good results. Prepare the corn
by husking it and removing the silk. Then blanch it in boiling water for
5 minutes, after which cut off the grains close to the cob with a sharp
knife. Spread these on the drying trays and proceed according to the
method desired.

122. GREENS. - Wash the greens thoroughly. Cut across the leaves several
times. Drop them into salt water, remove, and spread on the drying
trays. Dry by any method selected.

123. TUBER AND ROOT VEGETABLES. - Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes,
carrots, parsnips, and even onions may be successfully dried. First peel
or scrape them. Then slice or cut them into small pieces. Drop them into
salt water, remove from the water, and spread them on the drying trays.
Dry them by the method selected.

124. SMALL FRUITS. - Berries, cherries, and other small fruits may be
dried, but since they contain considerable water, the drying is not
accomplished very rapidly. Ripe, firm fruit should be selected and
cleaned. Cherries should have the seeds, or pits, removed. Such fruits
must be dried as quickly as possible, or they will spoil in the process.

125. APPLES, QUINCES, AND PEARS. - In order to dry apples, quinces, and
pears, wash, peel, core, and cut the fruit into eighths. Put the peeled
fruit into the salt water and keep it there until all are peeled and cut
and ready to dry. Then spread the cut pieces in a thin layer on the
drying trays and proceed according to the method desired.

126. PEACHES AND APRICOTS. - Peaches and apricots are most easily dried
with the skin on. Wash them thoroughly and, in the case of peaches, rub
the fuzz off the skins. Cut the fruit into halves, remove the seeds, or
stones, and drop the halves into salt water and keep them there until
they are ready to be placed on the drying trays. Dry by any
process desired.


STORING AND COOKING DRIED FOODS

127. When foods are taken from the various drying devices to be stored,
they still contain a very small quantity of moisture. This moisture,
however, is not distributed evenly, because some of the pieces of food
are larger than others, or some have been exposed more than others to
heat or air in drying. To offset this unequal drying, the containers in
which the foods are to be stored should not be closed permanently as
soon as the food is put into them. Rather, once a day, for about 3 days,
the food should be poured from one container into another and back again
several times. This will mix all the food and distribute the
moisture equally.

128. The object in storing dried foods is to keep them as dry as
possible; that is, not to allow them to absorb moisture from the air.
The best containers in which they may be placed are those coated with
paraffin. Paper bags or boxes may be prepared in the home by dipping
them into paraffin, although heavy paper containers already covered with
paraffin may be bought in supply stores. Heavy paper or cloth bags may
be used, provided they are stored in a dry place where there is no
danger from rats and mice. Containers of any kind should be securely
tied before storing them permanently. Bags and boxes of dried food are
preferably suspended from rafters in an attic, but if this is not
possible a rack or a bin located in a place that is not damp
will answer.

It is well, in storing dried foods, to use containers that will hold
only a small quantity of food, so that when some is taken out to be
cooked a large amount will not be exposed. It is best to store just
enough for a meal or two in each container.

129. Before dried foods are cooked, as much as possible of the water
evaporated in drying should be restored. In order to do this, soaking is
necessary. The dried food should be put into cold salt water made in the
proportion of 1 teaspoonful of salt to 1 quart of water and soaked for
at least 1/2 hour. The salt water seems to help restore the original
color of the food. When dried vegetables are to be cooked, they should
be cooked in the salt water in which they are soaked; when dried fruits
are to be cooked, the salt water should be poured off and fresh water
used. Long, slow cooking at a low temperature is better for all kinds of
dried foods than rapid cooking. The fireless cooker will be found
valuable for cooking dried foods.

* * * * *

CANNING AND DRYING

EXAMINATION QUESTIONS

(1) Give three reasons for canning food.

(2) What foods may be canned?

(3) (_a_) How may satisfactory canning equipment be provided at little
or no cost? (_b_) What metals are not good for canning or
preserving kettles?

(4) (_a_) What are the requirements for satisfactory types of jars?
(_b_) What are the qualities of good jar rubbers?

(5) What kind of tin cans should be used for canning fruits or
vegetables that contain acid?

(6) (_a_) Why should care be exercised in the selection of foods to be
canned? (_b_) What points must be considered in the selection of foods
for canning?

(7) Why do canned foods spoil?

(8) How may canned foods be prevented from spoiling?

(9) (_a_) What are spores? (_b_) What connection have spores with the
spoiling of canned food?

(10) Mention three things that assist in the keeping of canned foods.

(11) (_a_) How should jar covers and rubbers be treated in the
open-kettle canning method? (_b_) Describe the filling and closing of
jars in this method.

(12) (_a_) Describe the utensil used for processing in the one-period
cold-pack canning method. (_b_) How should jars, covers, and rubbers be
treated in this method?

(13) (_a_) How are foods blanched and scalded, and why are blanching and
scalding done? (_b_) How are foods cold-dipped, and why is
cold-dipping done?

(14) (_a_) How should foods be packed in jars in the cold-pack canning
method? (_b_) How should the rubber and cover be adjusted before
processing? (_c_) When should you begin to count the boiling time for
food that is being processed in the water bath?

(15) (_a_) How and when should jars be closed in the cold-pack method?
(_b_) How should jars of food be cooled?

(16) (_a_) How should jars of food be treated for storage? (_b_) How
should they be stored?

(17) Mention some advantages of dried foods over fresh or canned ones.

(18) What important points should be considered in the process of drying
food?

(19) What are the proportions of salt and water into which foods that
discolor are placed before they are canned or dried?

(20) What precautions should be observed in the storing of dried foods?

* * * * *


JELLY MAKING, PRESERVING, AND PICKLING

* * * * *

VALUE OF JELLIES, PRESERVES, AND PICKLES

1. Like canning and drying, JELLY MAKING, PRESERVING, and PICKLING are
methods of preparing perishable foods to resist decomposition and
change. When treated by any of these three processes, fruits and
vegetables will keep for long periods of time and will thus be ready for
use during the seasons when they cannot be obtained fresh. The
preservation of food by making it into jellies, preserves, and pickles
does not, as in the case of canning, depend on the sterilization of the
product, but rather on the use of certain ingredients that act as
preservatives. These include sugar, spices, salt, and vinegar, all of
which are considered harmless preservatives in both the home and the
commercial preparation of foods.

2. The making of jelly, preserves, and pickles may seem like an
extravagance in the expenditure of money for materials, as well as of
time and energy on the part of the housewife. Whether this is the case
or not is a matter that must be decided by the housewife herself. If
these foods are not of enough value to her in the preparation of meals
and the feeding of her family to make it worth her while to use her time
and materials in storing them for winter use, then it is not wise for
her to prepare them. But foods so preserved usually have sufficient
merit to warrant the expenditure of the time and the money required in
their making.

3. In the first place, it will often be necessary to throw away material
that would make excellent jelly or jam unless the sugar can be supplied
and the time given to make this material into something that is edible
and at the same time attractive. As is well known, all through the
canning season, there is some material, which may have been intended
for canning, but which, for some reason, cannot be used in that way.
Such material should be utilized in the preparation of these foods. For
instance, some of the berries and other fruits bought for canning may be
found to be too ripe to make a good-looking product, but may be very
satisfactory for the making of jars or jellies. Then, too, if the
open-kettle method of canning is used, there is almost certain to be a
superfluous amount of juice that would be wasted if it were not used in
the making of jelly. Such material need not necessarily be used at the
time, for it may be canned and then made up later at some more
convenient time.

In addition to material of this kind, there is often a surplus of
vegetables and fruits on hand, particularly if one has access to a
garden. Much of this can be canned and dried, but what is not desired
for these purposes might be wasted if it were not made up into
appetizing jellies, preserves, and pickles.

4. Even though it were not necessary to consider the matter of waste and
the utilizing of surplus fruits and vegetables, there would still be
sufficient reason for the making of jellies, preserves, and pickles,
because these foods, when properly prepared, have great value in the
meal. Jellies and preserves, because of the large quantity of sugar used
in them, are foods high in carbohydrate. In view of this fact, they
should be considered as a part of the meal in which they are served,
instead of being used extravagantly or regarded as something extra in an
already sufficiently large menu.

Besides their importance in food value, they should have a place in the
diet because they stimulate the appetite through their attractive colors
and delicious flavors. The familiar fact that a child will refuse to eat
plain bread and butter, but will accept the same piece when it has been
made attractive by the addition of a little jam, argues much for the use
of foods of this sort in children's diet. As it is with children, so it
is to a large extent with adults. During the winter months, when fruits
and fresh vegetables are scarce and expensive, practically every one
finds jellies and preserves appetizing, for these things, in a measure,
take the place of the foods that are difficult to procure.

5. Not so much can be said of the various kinds of pickles, as they are
not so valuable in the diet from the standpoint of food values. They are
made from fruits and vegetables, as are jellies and preserves, but the
preservatives used in their preparation are vinegar and spices. In
addition to having no food value, such ingredients produce
overstimulation and irritation in the alimentary tract, toughen the
cellulose in the foods used, and consequently often cause indigestion
and various gastric disturbances. For these reasons, pickles should not
be included in the diet of children. However, because of the stimulation
they produce in the stomach, foods of this kind, if taken in small
quantities, are properly served as appetizers, and can be eaten by
normal adults without fear of digestive disturbances. Then, too, as
every one who has meals to prepare knows, they are valuable for
relieving monotony in the diet, a point that should not be overlooked.

6. Because the preservation of food in jellies, preserves, and pickles
is accomplished by the use of certain preservatives instead of by the
sterilization of the food, as in canning, these preparations do not mold
or spoil readily. Therefore, containers of a different nature from those
used in canning may be used to store these foods. Jars having tightly
sealed covers are not required, but such containers as wide-necked
bottles, stone jars or crocks, glasses, etc. may be utilized for this
purpose. In fact, containers of almost any description may be used for
jellies, preserves, and pickles. They should, of course, be sealed in
some way to prevent the entrance of bacteria, and various methods of
accomplishing this have been devised. A very satisfactory way consists
in pouring melted paraffin over the top of the food and then covering
the container with a piece of heavy paper and tying this on securely
with cord.

7. Since jellies, preserves, and pickles occupy a place of importance in
the diet and at the same time provide an opportunity to utilize material
that might otherwise be wasted, they are entitled to a certain amount of
attention from the housewife. To equip her with the knowledge she needs
for this work and give her practice in jelly making, preserving, and
pickling, the details of these processes are taken up, step by step, in
this Section.

* * * * *

JELLY MAKING

PRINCIPLES OF JELLY MAKING

8. JELLY MAKING consists in cooking fruit juice with sugar until, upon
cooling, it will solidify, or jell. While this is not a difficult nor a
complicated process, there are some housewives who do not have success
with it. Often the result may be very good when a certain fruit is used,
whereas it may be entirely unsatisfactory at another time, even though
the same fruit is used and practically the same procedure is followed.
If the best results are to be assured in jelly making, the principles
that are involved in this process must first be thoroughly understood
and then the correct procedure must be painstakingly followed out.

9. To solidify properly and thus become a desirable jelly, the fruit
juice that is used for this purpose must have the following
characteristics and treatment: (1) it must contain certain jelly-making
properties; (2) it must be extracted properly; (3) it must be combined
with the correct proportion of sugar; and (4) it must be cooked the
proper length of time. There are, of course, numerous degrees of
solidity of jelly, varying from that which will barely retain its shape
to that which is very tough and hard, but neither extreme is desirable.
To be right, the jelly should be firm enough to stand up well, but
should be tender and soft when a spoon is cut into it.

10. Fruit is the principal ingredient in the making of jelly, as it is
the source from which the juice is obtained. Such imperfections in
fruits as poor shape or unattractive appearance do not count in this
matter, since only the juice is used; but they must contain jelly-making
properties in order that jelly can be made from them.

Green or slightly unripe fruits are better for jelly making than fruits
that have become ripe. In fact, when in this immature state, fruits may
be used to make jelly, whereas the same fruits, when perfectly ripe,
often will not make jelly at all, or, if they do, will produce a jelly
that is inferior in quality.

11. The chief requirement of fruits that are to be used for jelly
making is that they contain acid and pectin. _Pectin_ is the real
jelly-making property of fruits. When it is in the presence of acid and
combined with the correct proportion of sugar and the combination is
properly boiled, a desirable jelly is the result. Without pectin,
however, it is impossible to make the juice solidify, or jell. Pectin is
closely related to the carbohydrates, but as it does not yield heat
energy nor build tissue, its food value is not considered. In this
respect, it is like the cellulose of fruits and vegetables.

It is because green fruits contain more pectin than do ripe fruits that
they are more suitable for jelly making. The lack of either acid or
pectin need not, however, prevent the making of jelly from fruits, such
as sweet fruits, that contain other jelly-making properties, for either
or both may be supplied from some other source. In other words, jelly
may be made from any fruit that will yield juice and flavor.


EQUIPMENT FOR JELLY MAKING

[Illustration: FIG. 1]

12. NECESSARY EQUIPMENT. - In the making of jelly, as in the preparation
of many other foods, numerous utensils will be found convenient and may,
if desired, be supplied to make the work easier. However, the necessary
ones are comparatively few in number and, for the most part, are found
in almost every kitchen. In Fig. 1 are shown assembled practically all
the equipment used in the making of jelly, and if a housewife is
provided with these things or substitutes for them, she will be well
equipped for her work.

13. KETTLES. - As will be observed, two kettles are required in jelly
making. The larger one is used for cooking the fruit, and the smaller
one, to cook the juice and the sugar. These should have a perfectly
smooth surface, and may be made of almost any material used for such
utensils, except tin or iron. These two metals are undesirable, as they
are liable to lend to the jelly a disagreeable flavor and in all
probability an unattractive color. The one used to cook the fruit should
generally be a little larger than the other. As about 6 glassfuls of
jelly may be cooked at one time, the kettle in which the juice is boiled
should be of adequate size to cook this amount without danger of its
boiling over. When fruit juice and sugar are boiled together, the
mixture often boils up and runs over if the vessel is not large enough.

14. JELLY BAG. - The jelly bag, which is used for straining the boiled
fruit and thus obtaining the juice, may be a home-made one or, as shown
in the illustration, one that is purchased for the purpose. If the bag
is made at home, a heavy, closely woven material, such as flannel,
should be selected, so as to prevent the tiny particles of fruit from
passing through with the juice. A liquid strained in this manner will be
much clearer and will make better looking jelly than that which has been
run through a coarse material, such as cheesecloth. The juice can be
strained very conveniently if the bag is attached to a wire arrangement,
like the one shown, or to an upright standard that can be fastened to a
chair or a table, for then the bag is held securely over the vessel into
which the juice drips. Sometimes, especially when more than one
extraction of the juice is to be made, the first extraction is made by
means of a strainer or a colander and the juice thus obtained is then
strained through the bag.

15. ADDITIONAL UTENSILS. - As accurate measurements are absolutely
essential in jelly making, a measuring cup should be included in the
equipment. Then, too, a quart measure will be found very convenient,
especially if large quantities of materials are to be cooked at one
time. A large spoon or two for stirring, skimming, and testing should
also be provided. The spoon used for skimming will produce better


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Online LibraryWoman's Institute of Domestic Arts and SciencesWoman's Institute Library of Cookery Volume 5: Fruit and Fruit Desserts; Canning and Drying; Jelly Making, Preserving and Pickling; Confections; Beverages; the Planning of Meals → online text (page 10 of 27)