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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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to provide the necessary liquid in the diet.

20. TABLE SHOWING COMPOSITION AND FOOD VALUE OF FRUITS. - Just as fruits
vary in their composition, so do they vary in their food value. This
fact is clearly shown in Table I, which gives the percentage of food
substances contained in different fruits and the food value per pound,
in calories, that these fruits contain. As in the table showing the
composition and food value of vegetables given in _Vegetables_, Part 1,
the figures in this table are taken from Atwater's Table of American
Food Materials and refer to the edible part of the material. Reference
to Table I, as progress is made with the study of fruits and their
preparation, will be of much assistance in learning the place that
fruits occupy in the dietary.


FOOD VALUE OF FRUITS

21. EFFECT OF RIPENESS ON FRUITS. - There is a very marked difference
between ripe and green fruits as to their composition, flavor, texture,
palatability, and digestibility. Green fruits, containing more acid than
ripe ones, serve some purposes for which ripe fruits of the same variety
cannot be used so well. For instance, a very much better jelly can be
made from grapes that are not entirely ripe than from those which have
completely ripened. Green fruits contain less sugar than do ripe ones,
and so they are more sour to the taste. In some cases, the carbohydrate
found in green fruits is partly in the form of starch, which in the
process of development is changed to sugar. The cellulose of green
fruits, especially that distributed throughout the pulp of the fruit
itself, is usually tougher and harder than that which is found in the
same fruit after it has ripened.

22. DIGESTIBILITY OF FRUITS. - The ripeness and freshness of fruits
determine their digestibility to a great extent, but the peculiarities
of each person have much to do with this matter. Many times a particular
fruit will agree with almost every one but a few exceptional persons,
and, for no apparent reason except their own peculiarities of digestion,
it disagrees very badly with them. Abnormal conditions of the alimentary
tract, however, cannot be taken into consideration in a general
discussion on the digestibility of foods, for it is a subject that
cannot be treated except from a dietetic standpoint. A safe rule to
follow when a fruit is found to disagree with a person is to omit it
from that person's diet. This need not prove a hardship, for the wide
range, or variety, of fruits makes it possible to find one or more kinds
that will agree with each person.

23. As has been explained, sugar is the food material from which the
nutritive value of fruits is obtained. With the exception of a few
predigested foods, manufactured in such a way that they can be digested
easily, this sugar is probably the most easily digested form of food
that can be obtained. This substance, being held in solution in the
fruit juices, which are encased in a cellulose covering, depends to some
extent for its digestion on the hardness of the cellulose. When this
covering is old and hard or green and tough, as the case may be, it is
difficult for the digestive juices to break through and attack the sugar
contained inside. As this difficulty is not encountered when fruit is
fresh and ripe, its freshness and ripeness become important factors in
digestibility. Cooking is also an important factor because it softens
the cellulose, but there are certain other changes made by cooking that
must be taken into consideration as well.

24. EFFECT OF COOKING ON FRUIT. - Cooking affects fruits in numerous
ways, depending on the condition of the fruit itself, the method used,
and the length of time the heat is applied. When fruits are cooked in
water or in a thin sirup, the cellulose becomes softened. On the other
hand, if they are cooked in a heavy sirup, as, for instance, in the
making of preserves, the cellulose becomes hardened and the fruit,
instead of breaking up, remains whole or nearly so and becomes tough
and hard in texture. The addition of quantities of sugar, as in the
latter case, besides helping to keep the fruit whole, increases its
food value.

25. Another change that usually takes place when fruit is cooked is in
its flavor. This change is due either to an increase in the acid
contained in the fruit or to a decrease in the amount of sugar. Some
authorities believe that cooking increases the amount of acid, while
others hold the view that, when fruit is cooked without removing the
skins and seeds, the acid contained in the seeds and skins and not
noticeable when the fruit is fresh, is released during the cooking. Such
is undoubtedly the case with plums. The change that is brought about in
the sugar by the cooking of fruits consists in changing the cane sugar
into levulose and dextrose, which are not so sweet. This change accounts
for the fact that some cooked fruits are less sweet than others, in
spite of the fact that the acid does not seem to be increased.

26. In addition to producing certain changes in fruit, cooking, if done
thoroughly, renders fruits sterile, as it does other foods; that is, it
kills any bacteria that the fruits may contain. Advantage of this fact
is taken when fruits are canned for future use. Although most persons
prefer raw fruit to that which is cooked, there are some who object to
eating this food raw, but who are not always certain as to the reason
for their objection. Like other raw foods, fruits in their fresh state
contain _vitamines_; that is, a substance that helps to keep the body in
a healthy, normal condition. These are found to some extent in cooked
fruits, but not in the same quantity as in raw ones; consequently, as
much use as possible should be made of raw fruits in the diet.

* * * * *

FRUITS AND THEIR PREPARATION AS FOOD

PREPARING AND SERVING

27. REQUIRED SANITARY CONDITIONS. - Since large quantities of fruits are
eaten raw, it is necessary that they be handled in the most sanitary
manner if disease from their use be prevented. However, they are often
in an unsanitary condition when they reach the housewife. For instance,
they become contaminated from the soiled hands of the persons who handle
them, from the dirt deposited on them during their growth, from the
fertilizer that may be used on the soil, from flies and other insects
that may crawl over them, and from being stored, displayed, or sold in
surroundings where they may be exposed to the dirt from streets and
other contaminating sources. Because of the possibility of all these
sources of contamination, it is essential that fruits that are not to be
cooked be thoroughly washed before they are eaten. It is true that a
certain amount of flavor or food material may be lost from the washing,
but this is of little importance compared with the possibility of
preventing disease.

28. WASHING FRUITS. - The manner of washing fruits depends largely on the
nature of the fruit. Fruits that have a sticky surface, such as raisins,
figs, and dates, usually have to be washed in several waters. Hard
fruits, such as pears, apples, plums, etc., should be washed with
running water. Berries and softer fruits require more careful procedure,
it usually being advisable to pour them into a pan containing water and
then, after stirring them around in the water until all dirt is removed,
take them from the water, rather than pour the water from them. In any
event, all fruits eaten raw should be properly washed.

29. SERVING FRUITS. - While the serving of fruits is a simple matter, it
should be done in as dainty a way as possible, so as not to detract from
their natural attractiveness. If the skins are to remain on the fruits
while serving, a knife, preferably a fruit knife, should be served with
them, and nothing smaller than a salad plate should be used. The
carefully washed leaves of the fruit served make an attractive garnish.
For instance, large, perfect strawberries with the stems on, when heaped
on a plate garnished with strawberry leaves and served with a small dish
of powdered sugar, are always attractive. Likewise, a bunch of grapes
served on grape leaves never fails to attract.

A mixture of a number of fruits, such as peaches, pears, and plums, or,
in winter, oranges, bananas, and apples, piled in a large bowl and
passed after salad plates have been distributed, not only makes an
excellent dessert, but permits the persons served to take their choice.

Fresh berries, sliced peaches, bananas, oranges, etc. may be served in
sauce dishes, which should be placed on a service plate. They may be
passed or served from a bowl by the hostess. Canned or stewed fruits may
be served in the same way.

* * * * *

BERRIES

NATURE AND CARE

30. BERRIES are among the most perishable fruits and begin to come into
market early in the summer season. In most localities, the berry season
begins with strawberries and ends with blackberries. Because the
numerous varieties are somewhat juicy and soft and therefore extremely
perishable, they will not stand shipping and storage for long periods of
time. The quality of berries depends much on the nature of the season,
as well as on the locality in which the berries are grown. If there is a
good supply of rain, the berries will be very moist, containing a large
amount of pulp in proportion to seeds and skins; but if the season is
very dry, the berries are likely to be less moist and consequently less
palatable. A general use of berries, and to almost every one the most
important, is the making of jams, jellies, and preserves.

In the preparation of berries for the table, they should be handled as
little as possible in order to prevent them from breaking up and losing
their shape. After being purchased, they should be kept where it is cool
until they are to be used. It is advisable not to wash them until just
before serving, as the extra handling usually bruises them and causes
them to spoil.

The different varieties of berries are here taken up in alphabetical
order so as to make the matter easy for reference. Those of which
extensive use is made contain one or more recipes that may be followed
without any hesitation. In a few instances, as in the case of currants,
recipes are not included, as the fruits are limited to only a few uses
and directions for these occur elsewhere.


BLACKBERRIES

31. BLACKBERRIES come late in the summer season. Good varieties of
cultivated blackberries, which are large in size and contain
comparatively few seeds, are the best for use. However, in some
localities, uncultivated blackberries grow in sufficient quantities to
be useful for food. Blackberries are used extensively for jam, as they
make an excellent kind that appeals to most persons. Their juice may be
used for jelly, but if the berries are to be utilized most successfully
in this way they must be picked before they are thoroughly ripe or some
fruit that will supply an additional quantity of pectin may have to be
combined with them. Fresh blackberries may be served for dessert with
sugar and cream. Otherwise, the use of this fruit in desserts is not
very extensive, except where the canned berries are used for pastry or
pie or are eaten for sauce or where the jam is used in making up various
dessert dishes.

Very little preparation is necessary in getting blackberries ready to
serve. They should simply be looked over carefully, so that all
imperfect ones and all foreign matter may be removed, and then washed in
cold water.

32. BLACKBERRY SPONGE. - One of the few desserts made from fresh
blackberries is that explained in the accompanying recipe and known as
blackberry sponge. This is very delicious, for the berries are combined
with cake and the combination then served with whipped cream.

BLACKBERRY SPONGE
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1 qt. blackberries
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. water
4 pieces plain loaf or sponge cake
Whipped cream

Heat half of the berries with the sugar and the water until they are
mushy. Then force the whole through a sieve. Cut the cake into cubes and
put them into a bowl. Pour the juice and the blackberry pulp on the
cake. Press the mixture down with a spoon until it is quite solid and
set in the refrigerator or some other cold place to cool. Turn out of
the bowl on a large plate, garnish with the remaining berries, heap with
the whipped cream, and serve.


BLUEBERRIES

33. BLUEBERRIES, which are not cultivated, but grow in the wild state,
are a many-seeded berry, blue or bluish-black in color. _Huckleberries_,
although belonging to a different class, are commonly regarded as
blueberries by many persons. Berries of this kind occur in many
varieties. Some grow on low bushes close to the ground, others are found
on taller bushes, and still others grow on very tall bushes. Again, some
grow in dry ground in a mountainous region, others grow in a level,
sandy soil, and other varieties succeed better on swampy soil. Berries
of this class are not so perishable as most other berries, but in many
localities they cannot be purchased at all, for, as a rule, they are
used only in the immediate vicinity in which they grow.

Blueberries have small seeds and coarse, tough skins. They contain very
little acid, but are excellent for pies and sauce. However, they will
make jelly very well if there are a few partly ripe berries among them,
and their flavor is improved if some fruit containing acid is added to
them. To prepare them for use, whether they are to be served raw or
cooked, look them over carefully in order that all green or spoiled ones
are removed and then wash them well in cold water.

34. PRESSED BLUEBERRY PUDDING. - A delicious pudding can be made by
combining blueberries with slices of bread. The accompanying recipe
gives directions for pudding of this kind.

PRESSED BLUEBERRY PUDDING
(Sufficient to Serve Eight)

1 qt. blueberries
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
8 slices bread
Whipped cream

Put the blueberries, water, and sugar into a saucepan and boil for a
few minutes. Put four of the slices of bread, which should be cut about
1/2 inch thick, in the bottom of a square pan. Pour one-half of the
blueberries and the juice over the bread, and put the four remaining
slices of bread on top of the berries. Pour the rest of the blueberries
and juice over the bread. Place another square pan over the top and
weight it down so as to press the pudding. Then set the pudding in the
refrigerator until it is cool. Cut into squares, remove from the pan,
and serve with sweetened whipped cream.

35. BLUEBERRY PUDDING. - A baking-powder-biscuit dough baked with
blueberries makes a very appetizing dessert. To serve with a pudding of
this kind, a cream or a hard sauce should be made.

BLUEBERRY PUDDING
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

Baking-powder-biscuit dough
1 qt. blueberries
1/2 c. sugar

Make a rather thin baking-powder-biscuit mixture. Spread a layer of this
in the bottom of a square pan and cover it with a layer of the
blueberries. Pour 1/4 cupful of the sugar over the berries and then
cover with another layer of the dough. Over this, pour the remainder of
the berries and sprinkle the rest of the sugar over all. Place in the
oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into
squares, and serve with cream or hard sauce.


CRANBERRIES

36. CRANBERRIES grow wild in many localities, but most persons who use
them buy them in the market as a cultivated fruit. Their season begins
in the fall and lasts until early spring, and during this time they can
usually be obtained in the market. They contain considerable acid and
consequently require a great deal of sugar to make them sufficiently
sweet to be palatable. They are more often served as an accompaniment to
a dinner course, especially with turkey or other poultry, than eaten as
a sauce. At times they are used in the making of muffins, pudding, and
various kinds of pastry.

One of the advantages of cranberries is that they keep very well in the
raw state. However, before they are cooked, they should be looked over
carefully, freed of any stems, foreign material, and spoiled berries,
and then washed thoroughly in cold water.

37. CRANBERRY SAUCE. - One can hardly imagine a turkey dinner without
cranberry sauce as one of the accompaniments; but it may be served when
meats other than turkey are used. In fact, because of its tart flavor,
it forms a most appetizing addition to any meal.

CRANBERRY SAUCE
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1-1/2 c. water
2 c. sugar
4 c. cranberries

Add the water to the cranberries and place over the fire to cook in a
closely covered kettle. As soon as the skins of the berries have
cracked, add the sugar. Cook slowly for a few minutes or until the sugar
is completely dissolved. Remove from the fire and cool before serving.

38. CRANBERRY JELLY. - If the cranberries are preferred without the
skins, cranberry jelly should be tried. When cool, this solidifies and
may be served in attractive ways.

CRANBERRY JELLY
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

2 c. water
1 qt. cranberries
2 c. sugar

Pour the water over the cranberries and cook them for 10 or 15 minutes.
Then mash them through a sieve or a colander with a wooden potato
masher. Add the sugar to the mashed cranberries. Return to the heat and
cook for 5 to 8 minutes longer. Turn into a mold and cool.


RASPBERRIES

39. RASPBERRIES come in two general varieties, which are commonly known
as _red_ and _black_. There are many species of each kind, and all of
them are much favored, as they are delicious fruit. As a raw fruit,
raspberries have their most satisfactory use, but they may be made into
several excellent desserts and they are also much used for canning and
preserving. They are a perishable fruit and so do not keep well. Because
of their softness, they have to be washed very carefully to prevent
them from breaking or becoming mushy.

40. RED-RASPBERRY WHIP. - No more dainty dessert can be made than
raspberry whip, which is explained in the accompanying recipe. Cake that
is not very rich, such as ladyfingers or sponge cake, makes a very good
accompaniment for this dessert.

RED-RASPBERRY WHIP
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1 qt. raspberries
1 c. powdered sugar
2 egg whites

Put the raspberries, sugar, and egg whites into a bowl. Mash the berries
before starting to whip. Beat the mixture with an egg whip until it is
reduced to a pulpy mass and is stiff and fluffy. Pile lightly into a
bowl, chill, and serve with ladyfingers or sponge cake.

41. RASPBERRY SHORTCAKE. - Either black or red raspberries make a
delicious shortcake when combined with a cake or a biscuit mixture.
Directions for making such a shortcake are given in the
accompanying recipe.

RASPBERRY SHORTCAKE
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1 qt. raspberries
1 c. sugar
Biscuit or plain-cake dough

Mash or chop the berries, as preferred, and add the sugar to them. Bake
the biscuit or plain-cake dough in a single, thick layer, and when it
has been removed from the pan split it into halves with a sharp knife.
Spread half the berries between the two pieces of biscuit or cake and
the remaining half on top. Cut into pieces of the desired size and serve
with plain or whipped cream.


STRAWBERRIES

42. STRAWBERRIES are perhaps more popular than any other kind of berry.
They are reddish in color, have a somewhat acid flavor, and range in
size from 1/2 inch to 2 inches in diameter. Strawberries are much used
for jams and preserves; they may also be used for making a delicious
jelly, but as they lack pectin this ingredient must be supplied. These
berries are eaten fresh to a great extent, but are also much used for
pastry making and for various kinds of dessert; in fact, there is
practically no limit to the number of recipes that may be given for
strawberries. Before they are used in any way, they should be washed
thoroughly in cold water and then their hulls should be removed.

[Illustration: FIG. 1]

43. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE. - For strawberry shortcake, either a biscuit or
a plain-cake mixture may be used, some persons preferring the one and
other persons the other. This may be made in a large cake, as shown in
Fig. 1, and then cut into pieces, or it may be made into individual
cakes, as Fig. 2 shows. Whichever plan is followed, the cakes are split
in the same way and the crushed berries inserted between the halves.
This dish may be made more attractive in appearance if a few of the
finest berries are saved and used as a garniture.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1 qt. strawberries
1 c. sugar
Biscuit or plain cake dough

Mash or chop the berries, add the sugar to them, and let them stand
until the sugar has dissolved. Bake the biscuit or plain-cake dough in a
single thick layer or, if desired, bake it in individual cakes, cutting
the biscuit dough with a cookie cutter and putting the cake mixture in
muffin pans. Remove from the pan, cut in two with a sharp knife, and
spread half of the berries over the lower piece. Set the upper piece on
the berries. In the case of the large cake, sprinkle powdered sugar over
the top and then on this arrange a number of the largest and finest of
the berries, as Fig. 1 shows, as a garniture. Cut in pieces of the
desired size and serve with or without either plain or whipped cream. In
preparing the individual cakes, spread a spoonful or two of the crushed
berries over the top, as Fig. 2 shows, and serve with whipped cream.

44. STRAWBERRY WHIP. - Strawberries may be used instead of raspberries in
the recipe for red-raspberry whip. When prepared in this way and served
with fresh cake, strawberries make a very appetizing dessert.

45. OTHER STRAWBERRY DESSERTS. - If it is desired to serve strawberries
just with sugar, they can be made attractive with very little effort.
Garnish a plate with some of the strawberry leaves and on them place a
few fine large strawberries that have been washed but have not had the
hulls removed. Serve a small dish of powdered sugar with the
strawberries, so that they may be dipped into the sugar and eaten by
holding the hull of the berry in the fingers. Strawberries crushed with
sugar and served with blanc mange or custard also make a very
delicious dessert.

[Illustration: FIG. 2]


MISCELLANEOUS BERRIES

46. CURRANTS come in three varieties - red, white, and black. They are
not often eaten fresh, but are generally utilized for making jellies,
jams, and preserves, or for pastry and pies. When they are to be used
for jelly, it is not necessary to pick them from the stems, as they may
be washed and cooked on their stems. Some varieties of currants are
dried and these are used extensively in the making of cakes, cookies,
etc. The usefulness of this fruit as a food is not so great as many
others. No recipes are given for it because of its little use in the
fresh form.

47. GOOSEBERRIES, like currants, are somewhat limited in their variety
of uses, being seldom used except for jelly, preserves, and pies. Before
gooseberries are ripe they are light green in color and rather sour in
taste, but as they ripen the amount of acid they contain decreases, so
that they become sweet in flavor and change to brownish-purple. Green
gooseberries are often canned for pies, and when in this state or when
partly ripe they are also made up into many kinds of preserves and
jelly. In their preparation for these uses, both the stems and the
blossom ends should be removed. As a rule, berries of this kind keep
very well and stand considerable handling because their outside skin is
very tough.

48. LOGANBERRIES are a fruit produced by crossing a variety of red
raspberries with a species of blackberry. They are not very common, but
are an excellent berry and are well liked by those who can obtain them.
They may be used for any purpose for which either raspberries or
blackberries are used. Therefore, in the recipes given for these two
kinds of berries, loganberries may be substituted whenever they can
be obtained.

* * * * *


NON-TROPICAL FRUITS

NATURE AND USE

49. Besides the berries that have just been described, there are a large
number of fruits that are grown in temperate climates and are therefore
regarded as NON-TROPICAL FRUITS. Extensive use is made of these fruits
in the regions in which they are grown or in places that are within easy
shipping distances of the source of supply. All of them have a
protective covering, or skin, and consequently keep for long periods of
time if they are not too ripe when picked. Those which contain the
highest percentage of water are the most perishable.



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 2 of 27)