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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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for their food value. Besides being refreshing appetizers, they afford a
hostess an opportunity to carry out a certain color scheme in a meal.
Many kinds of fruit may be combined into cocktails, but directions for
the cocktails that are usually made are here given. Fruit cocktails
should always be served ice cold.

116. GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL. - The cocktail here explained may be served in
stemmed glasses or in the shells of the grapefruit. If the fruit shells
are to be used, the grapefruit should be cut into two parts, half way
between the blossom and the stem ends, the fruit removed, and the edges
of the shell then notched. This plan of serving a cocktail should be
adopted only when small grapefruits are used, for if the shells are
large more fruit will have to be used than is agreeable for a cocktail.

GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

2 grapefruits
2 oranges
1 c. diced pineapple, fresh or canned
Powdered sugar

Remove the pulp from the grapefruits and oranges in the manner
previously explained. However, if the grapefruit shells are to be used
for serving the cocktail, the grapefruit should be cut in half and the
pulp then taken out of the skin with a sharp knife. With the sections of
pulp removed, cut each one into several pieces. Add the diced pineapple
to the other fruits, mix together well and set on ice until thoroughly
chilled. Put in cocktail glasses or grapefruit shells, pour a spoonful
or two of orange juice over each serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar,
garnish with a cherry, and serve ice cold.

117. SUMMER COCKTAIL. - As strawberries and pineapples can be obtained
fresh at the same time during the summer, they are often used together
in a cocktail. When sweetened slightly with powdered sugar and allowed
to become ice cold, these fruits make a delicious combination.

SUMMER COCKTAIL
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

2 c. diced fresh pineapple
2 c. sliced strawberries
Powdered sugar

Prepare a fresh pineapple in the manner previously explained, and cut
each slice into small pieces or dice. Wash and hull the strawberries and
slice them into small slices. Mix the two fruits and sprinkle them with
powdered sugar. Place in cocktail glasses and allow to stand on ice a
short time before serving.

118. FRUIT COCKTAIL. - A fruit cocktail proper is made by combining a
number of different kinds of fruit, such as bananas, pineapple, oranges,
and maraschino cherries. As shown in Fig. 20, such a cocktail is served
in a stemmed glass set on a small plate. Nothing more delicious than
this can be prepared for the first course of a dinner or a luncheon that
is to be served daintily. Its advantage is that it can be made at almost
any season of the year with these particular fruits.

[Illustration: FIG. 20]

FRUIT COCKTAIL
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

2 bananas
1 c. canned pineapple
2 oranges
1 doz. maraschino cherries
Lemon juice
Powdered sugar

Peel the bananas and dice them. Dice the pineapple. Remove the pulp from
the oranges in the manner previously explained, and cut each section
into several pieces. Mix these three fruits. Cut the cherries in half
and add to the mixture. Set on ice until thoroughly chilled. To serve,
put into cocktail glasses as shown in the illustration, and add to each
glass 1 tablespoonful of maraschino juice from the cherries and 1
teaspoonful of lemon juice. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

* * * * *

DRIED FRUITS

VARIETIES OF DRIED FRUITS

119. The fruits that have been discussed up to this point are fresh
fruits; that is, they are placed on the markets, and consequently can be
obtained, in their fresh state. However, there are a number of fruits
that are dried before they are put on the market, and as they can be
obtained during all seasons they may be used when fresh fruits are out
of season or as a substitute for canned fruits when the household supply
is low. The chief varieties of dried fruits are dates, figs, prunes,
which are dried plums, and raisins, which are dried grapes. Apples,
apricots, and peaches are also dried in large quantities and are much
used in place of these fruits when they cannot be obtained in their
fresh form. Discussions of the different varieties of dried fruits are
here given, together with recipes showing how some of them may be used.


DATES

120. DATES, which are the fruit of the date palm, are not only very
nutritious but well liked by most persons. They are oblong in shape and
have a single hard seed that is grooved on one side. As dates contain
very little water and a great deal of sugar, their food value is high,
being more than five times that of apples and oranges. They are also
valuable in the diet because of their slightly laxative effect. When
added to other food, such as cakes, hot breads, etc., they provide a
great deal of nutriment.

121. The finest dates on the market come from Turkey and the Eastern
countries. They are prepared for sale at the places where they grow,
being put up in packages that weigh from 1/2 to 1 pound, as well as in
large boxes from which they can be sold in bulk. It is very important
that all dates, whether bought in packages or in bulk, be thoroughly
washed before they are eaten. While those contained in packages do not
collect dirt after they are packed, they are contaminated to a certain
extent by the hands of the persons who pack them. To be most
satisfactory, dates should first be washed in hot water and then have
cold water run over them. If they are to be stuffed, they should be
thoroughly dried between towels or placed in a single layer on pans to
allow the water to evaporate. While the washing of dates undoubtedly
causes the loss of a small amount of food material, it is, nevertheless,
a wise procedure.

122. Dates can be put to many valuable uses in the diet. They are much
used in cakes, muffins, and hot breads and in fillings for cakes and
cookies. Several kinds of delicious pastry, as well as salads and
sandwiches, are also made with dates. Their use as a confection is
probably the most important one, as they are very appetizing when
stuffed with nuts, candy, and such foods.


FIGS

123. FIGS are a small pear-shaped fruit grown extensively in Eastern
countries and to some extent in the western part of the United States.
The varieties grown in this country are not especially valuable when
they are dried, but they can be canned fresh in the localities where
they are grown. Fresh figs cannot be shipped, as they are too
perishable, but when dried they can be kept an indefinite length of time
and they are highly nutritious, too. In fact, dried figs are nearly as
high in food value as dates, and they are even more laxative.

124. Dried figs are found on the market both as pressed and pulled figs.
_Pressed figs_ are those which are pressed tightly together when they
are packed and are so crushed down in at least one place that they are
more or less sugary from the juice of the fig. _Pulled figs_ are those
which are dried without being pressed and are suitable for such purposes
as stewing and steaming.

125. STEWED FIGS. - If pulled figs can be secured, they may be stewed to
be served as a sauce. When prepared in this way, they will be found to
make a highly nutritious and delightful breakfast fruit or
winter dessert.

STEWED FIGS
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

2 c. pulled figs
3 c. water

Wash the figs and remove the stems. Put them into a preserving kettle
with the water and allow them to come slowly to the boiling point.
Simmer gently over the fire until the figs become soft. If they are
desired very sweet, sugar may be added before they are removed from the
heat and the juice then cooked until it is as thick as is desirable.
Serve cold.

126. STEAMED FIGS. - When figs are steamed until they are soft and then
served with plain or whipped cream, they make a delightful dessert. To
prepare them in this way, wash the desired number and remove the stems.
Place them in a steamer over boiling water and steam them until they are
soft. Remove from the stove, allow them to cool, and serve with cream.


PRUNES

127. PRUNES are the dried fruit of any one of several varieties of plum
trees and are raised mostly in Southern Europe and California. In their
fresh state, they are purple in color, but they become darker during
their drying. They are priced and purchased according to size, being
graded with a certain number to the pound, just as lemons and oranges
are graded with a certain number to the case. In food value they are
about equal to dates and figs. They contain very little acid, but are
characterized by a large quantity of easily digested sugar. They also
have a laxative quality that makes them valuable in the diet.

128. STEWED PRUNES. - A simple way in which to prepare prunes is to stew
them and then add sugar to sweeten them. Stewed prunes may be served as
a sauce with cake of some kind or they may be used as a breakfast fruit.

STEWED PRUNES
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1 lb. prunes
1 c. sugar

Look the prunes over carefully, wash them thoroughly in hot water, and
soak them in warm water for about 6 hours. Place them on the stove in
the same water in which they were soaked and which should well cover
them. Cook slowly until they can be easily pierced with a fork or until
the seeds separate from the pulp upon being crushed. Add the sugar,
continue to cook until it is completely dissolved, and then remove from
the stove and cool. If desired, more sweetening may be used or a few
slices of lemon or a small amount of lemon peel may be added to give an
agreeable flavor.

129. STUFFED PRUNES. - After prunes have been stewed, they may have the
seeds removed and then be filled with peanut butter. Stuffed in this way
and served with whipped cream, as shown in Fig. 21, or merely the prune
juice, they make an excellent dessert.

[Illustration: FIG. 21, Stewed prunes stuffed with peanut butter.]

Select prunes of good size and stew them according to the directions
just given, but remove them from the fire before they have become very
soft. Cool and then cut a slit in each one and remove the seed. Fill the
cavity with peanut butter and press together again. Serve with some of
the prune juice or with whipped cream.

130. PRUNE WHIP. - A very dainty prune dessert can be made from stewed
prunes by reducing the prunes to a pulp and then adding the whites of
eggs. Directions for this dessert follow:

PRUNE WHIP
(Sufficient to Serve Six)

1 c. prune pulp
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 egg whites
Whipped cream

Make the prune pulp by removing the seeds from stewed prunes and forcing
the prunes through a sieve or a ricer. Mix the powdered sugar with the
pulp. Beat the whites of the eggs until they are stiff and then
carefully fold them into the prune pulp. Chill and serve with
whipped cream.


RAISINS

131. RAISINS are the dried fruit of various kinds of grapes that contain
considerable sugar and are cured in the sun or in an oven. They come
principally from the Mediterranean region and from California. They have
an extensive use in cookery, both as a confection and an ingredient in
cakes, puddings, and pastry. In food value, raisins are very high and
contain sugar in the form of glucose; however, their skins are coarse
cellulose and for this reason are likely to be injurious to children if
taken in too large quantities. They are also valuable as a laxative and
in adding variety to the diet if they are well cooked before they
are served.

Like other dried fruits, raisins should be washed thoroughly before they
are used. They may then be soaked in warm water and stewed in exactly
the same way as prunes. Sugar may or may not be added, as desired.
Sultana raisins, which are the seedless variety, are especially
desirable for stewing, although they may be used for any of the other
purposes for which raisins are used.


DRIED APPLES, APRICOTS, AND PEACHES

132. Apples, apricots, and peaches are fruits that are used extensively
in their dried form. They enable the housewife to supply her family with
fruit during seasons when it is impossible to obtain fresh fruit. They
may also be used to take the place of canned fruit, especially when the
supply is low or has been exhausted. Besides their use as a sauce, they
may be used for pies and various desserts.

133. These fruits, which may all be used in just the same way, should be
soaked before stewing and should be stewed according to the directions
for the preparation and cooking of prunes. Then sufficient sugar to make
them sweet should be added. If they are desired for sauce, they may be
used without any further preparation. However, they may be substituted
for fresh fruit in recipes that call for any of them or for prunes. For
instance, dried apricots, after being stewed, may be passed through a
sieve to make a puree and may then be used to make apricot whip or
souffle according to the directions given for other similar desserts.
The flavor of apricots is very strong and a small amount of the pulp
will flavor a large quantity of ice cream, sherbet, or water ice.

* * * * *

FRUIT AND FRUIT DESSERTS

EXAMINATION QUESTIONS

(1) To what are the flavors and odors of fruits chiefly due?

(2) What food substances are found in only very small amounts in fruits?

(3) Mention the kinds of carbohydrate to which the food value of fruits
is chiefly due.

(4) What parts of fruits make up the cellulose they contain?

(5) Discuss the value of minerals in fruits.

(6) Of what value in cookery are fruits containing large quantities of
acid?

(7) What qualities of fruits are affected as they ripen?

(8) Discuss the digestibility of fruits.

(9) What are the effects of cooking on fruit?

(10) What sanitary precautions concerning fruits should be observed?

(11) (_a_) How do weather conditions affect the quality of berries?
(_b_) What is the most important use of berries in cookery?

(12) Name some varieties of apples that can be purchased in your
locality that are best for: (_a_) cookery; (_b_) eating.

(13) How can peach juice be utilized to advantage?

(14) Mention the citrus fruits.

(15) Describe a method of preparing grapefruit for the table.

(16) Describe the preparation of oranges for salads and desserts.

(17) Describe the appearance of bananas in the best condition for
serving.

(18) (_a_) Give a test for the ripeness of pineapples. (_b_) Describe
the most convenient method of preparing pineapples.

(19) Discuss the use of fruit cocktails.

(20) Describe the general preparation of dried fruits that are to be
stewed.

* * * * *


CANNING AND DRYING

* * * * *

NECESSITY FOR PRESERVING FOODS

1. The various methods of preserving perishable foods in the home for
winter use originated because of necessity. In localities where the
seasons for fruits and vegetables are short, the available supply in
early times was limited to its particular season. Then foods had to be
preserved in some way to provide for the season of scarcity. It was not
possible, as it is now, to obtain foods in all parts of the country from
localities that produce abundantly or have long seasons, because there
were no means of rapid transportation, no cold storage, nor no
commercial canning industries.

2. In the small towns and farming communities, the first preservation
methods for meats, as well as for fruits and vegetables, were pickling,
curing, drying, and preserving. Not until later was canning known. It
was this preserving of foodstuffs in the home that led to the
manufacture and commercial canning of many kinds of edible materials.
These industries, however, are of comparatively recent origin, the first
canning of foods commercially having been done in France about a hundred
years ago. At that time glass jars were utilized, but it was not until
tin cans came into use later in England that commercial canning met with
much favor.

3. Both canning in the home and commercial canning have had many
drawbacks, chief among which was spoiling. It was believed that the
spoiling of canned foods was due to the presence of air in the jars or
cans, and it is only within the last 50 years that the true cause of
spoiling, namely, the presence of bacteria, has been understood. Since
that time methods of canning that are much more successful have been
originated, and the present methods are the result of the study of
bacteria and their functions in nature. It is now definitely known that
on this knowledge depends the success of the various canning methods.

4. Since commercial canning provides nearly every kind of foodstuff, and
since cold storage and rapid transportation make it possible to supply
almost every locality with foods that are out of season, it has not been
deemed so necessary to preserve foods in the home. Nevertheless, the
present day brings forth a new problem and a new attitude toward the
home preservation of foods. There are three distinct reasons why foods
should be preserved in the home. The first is to bring about _economy_.
If fruits, vegetables, and other foods can be procured at a price that
will make it possible to preserve them in the home at a lower cost than
that of the same foods prepared commercially, it will pay from an
economical standpoint. The second is to promote _conservation_; that is,
to prevent the wasting of food. When fruits and vegetables are
plentiful, the supply is often greater than the demand for immediate
consumption. Then, unless the surplus food is preserved in some way for
later use, there will be a serious loss of food material. The third is
to produce _quality_. If the home-canned product can be made superior to
that commercially preserved, then, even at an equal or a slightly higher
cost, it will pay to preserve food in the home.

5. Of the methods of preserving perishable foods, only two, namely,
canning and drying, are considered in this Section. Before satisfactory
methods of canning came into use, drying was a common method of
preserving both fruits and vegetables, and while it has fallen into
disuse to a great extent in the home, much may be said for its value.
Drying consists merely in evaporating the water contained in the food,
and, with the exception of keeping it dry and protected from vermin, no
care need be given to the food in storage. In the preparation of dried
food for the table, it is transformed into its original composition by
the addition of water, in which it is usually soaked and then cooked.

The drying of food is simple, and no elaborate equipment is required for
carrying out the process. Dried food requires less space and care in
storage than food preserved in any other way, and both paper and cloth
containers may be used in storing it. When storage space is limited, or
when there is a very large quantity of some such food as apples or
string beans that cannot be used or canned at once, it is advisable to
dry at least a part of them. When used in combination with canning,
drying offers an excellent means of preserving foods and thus adding to
their variety.

6. Canning has a greater range of possibilities than drying. A larger
number of foods can be preserved in this way, and, besides, the foods
require very little preparation, in some cases none at all, when they
are removed from the cans. Practically every food that may be desired
for use at some future time may be canned and kept if the process is
carried out properly. These include the perishable vegetables and fruits
of the summer season, as well as any winter vegetables that are not
likely to keep in the usual way or that are gathered while they
are immature.

Many ready-to-serve dishes may be made up when the ingredients are the
most plentiful and canned to keep them for the time when they are
difficult or impossible to obtain otherwise. Such foods are very
convenient in any emergency. Often, too, when something is being cooked
for the table, an extra supply may be made with no greater use of fuel
and very little extra labor, and if the excess is canned it will save
labor and fuel for another day. In the same way, left-over foods from
the table may be preserved by reheating and canning them. Many foods and
combinations of foods may be made ready for pies and desserts and then
canned, it being often possible to use fruits that are inferior in
appearance for such purposes.

Soup may be canned. It may be made especially for canning, or it may be
made in larger quantity than is required for a meal and the surplus
canned. For canning, it is an excellent plan to make soup more
concentrated than that which would be served immediately, as such soup
will require fewer jars and will keep better. Water or milk or the
liquid from cooked vegetables or cereals may be added to dilute it when
it is to be served.

Meat and fish also may be canned, and many times it is advisable to do
this, especially in the case of varieties that cannot be preserved to
advantage by such methods as salting, pickling, or curing.

7. The preservation of foods by canning and drying should not be looked
at as an old-fashioned idea; rather, it is a matter in which the
housewife should be vitally interested. In fact, it is the duty of every
housewife to learn all she can about the best methods to employ. Canning
methods have been greatly improved within the last few years, and it is
a wise plan to adopt the newer methods and follow directions closely.
Especially should this be done if foods canned by the older methods have
spoiled or if mold has formed on top of the food in the jars.

In order to preserve foods successfully and with ease, the housewife
should realize the importance of carrying out details with precision and
care. The exactness with which the ingredients are measured, the choice
and care of utensils, the selection and preparation of the food to be
canned - all have a direct bearing on whether her results will be
successful or not.

By observing such points and exercising a little ingenuity, the
economical housewife may provide both a supply and a convenient variety
of practical foods for winter use. For example, one single fruit or
vegetable may be preserved in a number of ways. Thus, if there is a very
large supply of apples that will not keep, some may be canned in large
pieces, some may be put through a sieve, seasoned differently, and
canned as apple sauce, and some may be cut into small pieces and canned
for use in making pies. Apple butter and various kinds of jams and
marmalades may be made of all or part apples, or the apples may be
spiced and used as a relish. Combining fruits of different flavor in
canning also adds variety. In fact, neither quinces nor apples canned
alone are so delicious as the two properly combined and canned together.

In the same way, if the housewife will watch the markets closely and
make good use of materials at hand, she may provide canned foods at
comparatively little cost. Of course, the woman who has a garden of her
own has a decided advantage over the one who must depend on the market
for foods to can. The woman with access to a garden may can foods as
soon as they have been gathered, and for this reason she runs less risk
of losing them after they have been canned. Nevertheless, as has been
pointed out, it is really the duty of every housewife to preserve food
in the home for the use of her family.

* * * * *

CANNING

PRINCIPLES OF CANNING

8. CANNING consists in sealing foods in receptacles, such as cans or
jars, in such a way that they will remain sterile for an indefinite
period of time. Several methods of canning are in use, and the one to
adopt will depend considerably on personal preference and the money that
can be expended for the equipment. In any case, successful results in
canning depend on the care that is given to every detail that enters
into the work. This means, then, that from the selection of the food to
be canned to the final operation in canning not one thing that has to do
with good results should be overlooked.

9. SELECTION OF FOOD FOR CANNING. - A careful selection of the food that
is to be canned is of great importance. If it is in good condition at
the time of canning, it is much more likely to remain good when canned
than food that is not. The flavor of the finished product also depends a
great deal on the condition of the food. Fruits have the best flavor
when they are ripe, but they are in the best condition for canning just
before they have completely ripened. Immediately following perfect



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 5 of 27)