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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 7 of 27)
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Blanching is done to reduce the bulk of such foods as spinach and other
greens, to render them partly sterilized, and to improve their flavor.
It consists in dipping the food into boiling water or suspending it over
live steam and allowing it to remain there for a longer period of time
than is necessary for scalding. To blanch food, place it in a wire
basket, a sieve, or a piece of clean cheesecloth and lower it into
boiling water or suspend it above the water in a closely covered vessel.
Allow it to remain there long enough to accomplish the purpose intended.

[Illustration: FIG. 8]

36. COLD DIPPING. - After the food to be canned is scalded or blanched,
it is ready for cold-dipping. Cold-dipping is done partly to improve the
color of the food. It stops the softening process at once, makes the
food more firm and thus easier to handle, and helps to loosen the skin
of foods that have been scalded. It also assists in destroying bacteria
by suddenly shocking the spores after the application of heat.
Cold-dipping, in conjunction with blanching or scalding, replaces the
long process of fractional sterilization, and is what makes the
one-period cold-pack method superior to this other process. To cold-dip
food, simply plunge that which has just been scalded or blanched into
cold water, as in Fig. 9, and then take it out at once.

37. PACKING THE JARS. - Packing the jars immediately follows
cold-dipping, and it is work that should be done as rapidly as possible.
Remove the jars from the hot water as they are needed and fill each with
the cold-dipped fruit or vegetable. Pack the jars in an orderly manner
and as solidly as possible with the aid of a spoon, as in Fig. 10. Just
this little attention to detail not only will help to improve the
appearance of the canned fruit, but will make it possible to put more
food in the jars.

[Illustration: FIG. 9]

When a jar is filled, pour into it whatever liquid is to be used, as in
Fig. 11. As has been stated, hot sirup is added for fruits and boiling
water and salt for vegetables. However, when fruit is to be canned
without sugar, only water is added. With tomatoes and some greens, no
liquid need be used, because they contain a sufficient amount in

[Illustration: FIG. 10]

38. PREPARATION FOR THE WATER BATH. - As the jars are filled, they must
be prepared for the water bath. Therefore, proceed to place the rubber
and cover on the jar. Adjust the rubber, as shown in Fig. 12, so that it
will be flat in place. Then put the cover, or lid, on as in Fig. 13, but
do not tighten it. The cover must be loose enough to allow steam to
escape during the boiling in the water bath and thus prevent the jar
from bursting. If the cover screws on, as in the jar at the left, do not
screw it down tight; merely turn it lightly until it stops without
pressure being put upon it. If glass covers that fasten in place with
the aid of a clamp are to be used, as in the jar at the right, simply
push the wire over the cover and allow the clamp at the side to remain
up. Jars of food so prepared are ready for processing.

[Illustration: FIG 11]

[Illustration: FIG. 12]

39. PROCESSING. - The purpose of the water bath is to _process_ the food
contained in the jars before they are thoroughly sealed. Therefore, when
the jars are filled, proceed to place them in the water bath. The water,
which was placed in the sterilizer during the preparation of the food,
should be boiling, and there should be enough to come 2 inches over the
tops of the jars when they are placed in this large vessel. In putting
the jars of food into the sterilizer, place them upright and allow them
to rest on the rack in the bottom. If the filled jars have cooled, they
should be warmed before placing them in the sterilizer by putting them
in hot water. On account of the boiling water, the jars should be
handled with a jar lifter, as in Fig. 14. However, if the sterilizer is
provided with a perforated part like that in Fig. 15, all the jars may
be placed in it and then lowered in place.

[Illustration: FIG. 13]

When the jars are in place, put the tight-fitting cover on the
sterilizer and allow the water to boil and thus cook and sterilize the
food in the jars. The length of time for boiling varies with the kind of
food and is given later with the directions for canning different foods.
The boiling time should be counted from the instant the water in the
sterilizer begins to bubble violently. A good plan to follow, provided
an alarm clock is at hand, it to set it at this time, so that it will go
off when the jars are to be removed from the sterilizer.

[Illustration: FIG. 14]

[Illustration: FIG. 15]

40. SEALING THE JARS. - After processing the food in this manner, the
jars must be completely sealed. Therefore, after the boiling has
continued for the required length of time, remove the jars from the
water with the aid of the jar lifter or the tray and seal them at once
by clamping or screwing the covers, or lids, in place, as in Fig. 16.
Sometimes, the food inside the jars shrinks so much in this process that
the jars are not full when they are ready to be sealed. This is
illustrated in Fig. 17. Such shrinkage is usually the result of
insufficient blanching, or poor packing or both. However, it will not
prevent the food from keeping perfectly. Therefore, the covers of such
jars of food must not be removed and the jars refilled; rather, seal the
jars tight immediately, just as if the food entirely filled them. If, in
sealing jars removed from the water bath, it is found that a rubber has
worked loose, shove it back carefully with the point of a clean knife,
but do not remove the cover.

[Illustration: FIG. 15]

As the jars are sealed, place them on their sides or stand them upside
down, as in Fig. 18, to test for leaks, in a place where a draft will
not strike them and cause them to break. If a leak is found in any jar,
a new rubber and cover must be provided and the food then reprocessed
for a few minutes. This may seem to be a great inconvenience, but it is
the only way in which to be certain that the food will not be wasted
by spoiling.

[Illustration: FIG. 17]

[Illustration: FIG. 18]

[Illustration: FIG. 19]

41. WRAPPING AND LABELING. - When the jars of food have stood long
enough to cool, usually overnight, they are ready for wrapping and
labeling. Wrapping is advisable for practically all foods that are
canned, so as to prevent bleaching, and, of course, labeling is
necessary when canned food is wrapped, so as to enable it to be
distinguished readily when it is in storage. To wrap canned foods,
proceed as in Fig. 19. Use ordinary wrapping paper cut to a size that
will be suitable for the jar, and secure it in place with a rubber band,
as shown, or by pasting the label over the free edge.


procedure is much the same as in the one-period cold-pack method. In
fact, the only difference between the two is that blanching and
cold-dipping are omitted, and in their stead the food in the jars is
subjected to three periods of cooking. When the jars of food are made
ready for processing in the sterilizer, they are put in the water bath,
boiled for a short time, and then allowed to cool. After 24 hours, they
are again boiled for the same length of time and allowed to cool. After
another 24 hours, they are subjected to boiling for a third time. Then
the jars of food are removed and sealed as in the one-period cold-pack
method. By the fractional-sterilization method, the spores of bacteria
contained in the food packed in the jars are given a chance to develop
during the 24-hour periods after the first and second cookings, those
which become active being destroyed by cooking the second and third
times. Although some canners prefer this method to those already
mentioned, the majority look on it with disfavor, owing to the length of
time it requires.


43. For canning foods by steam pressure, special equipment is necessary.
In one of the steam-pressure methods, what is known as a _water-seal
outfit_ is required, and in the other a device called a _pressure
cooker_ is employed. The work of getting the containers ready, preparing
the food for canning, packing it into the jars, and sealing and testing
the jars is practically the same in the steam pressure methods as in the
cold-pack methods. The difference lies in the cooking and sterilization
of the foods after they are in the jars and partly sealed and in the
rapidity with which it may be done.

44. CANNING WITH A WATER-SEAL OUTFIT. - A water-seal outfit, which may be
purchased in stores that sell canning supplies, consists of a large
metal vessel into which fits a perforated metal basket designed to hold
jars of food. This vessel is also provided with a tight-fitting cover
having an edge that passes down through the water, which is placed in
the bottom of the vessel. When heat is applied to the bottom of the
vessel, the water inside of it is changed into steam. The cover prevents
the steam from passing out, and it collects in and around the metal
basket supporting the jars of food. Enough steam is generated in this
outfit to raise the temperature about 4 to 6 degrees above the boiling
point. Thus, the water-seal outfit will cook the food in the cans in
about one-fourth less time than will the water bath of the one-period
cold-pack canning method.

[Illustration: FIG. 20]

45. CANNING WITH A PRESSURE COOKER. - For canning by steam pressure, a
number of different kinds of pressure cookers are to be had, but in
principle they are all alike and they are always made of heavy material,
so as to withstand the severe steam pressure generated in them. In Fig.
20 is shown one type of pressure cooker. It is provided with a bail, or
handle, for carrying it and with clamps that hold the cover firmly in
place. Attached to the cover is a steam gauge, which indicates the steam
pressure inside the cooker, and a pet-cock, which is used to regulate
the pressure. On some cookers, a thermometer is also attached to the
cover. Also, inside of some, resting on the bottom, is an elevated rack
for supporting the jars of food that are to be sterilized and cooked. In
operating a pressure cooker, water for generating steam is poured in
until it reaches the top of this rack, but it should not be allowed to
cover any part of the jars of food. Steam is generated by applying heat
to the bottom of the cooker, and the longer the heat is applied the
higher the steam pressure will go.

It is possible to secure a steam pressure of 5 to 25 pounds per square
inch in a cooker of this kind. This means that the temperature reached
will vary from a few degrees above boiling to about 275 degrees
Fahrenheit. At a pressure of 20 pounds, the temperature will be about
260 degrees. The heavier the material used for a cooker and the more
solid the construction, the higher may go the steam pressure, and, of
course, the temperature. Some cookers of light construction will not
permit of a pressure greater than 5 pounds, but even such cookers are
very satisfactory. It is the high temperature that may be developed in a
pressure cooker that greatly shortens the time required for cooking jars
of food and making them sterile.


46. For canning food in some tin cans, it is necessary to have a
soldering outfit for properly closing them. This consists of a capping
steel, a tipping iron, solder in small strips and in powder form, a
small can of sal ammoniac, and a bottle of flux, which is a fluid that
makes solder stick to tin.

47. Prepare the food that is to be canned in tin cans in the same way as
for canning in jars by the cold-pack method; likewise, pack the cans in
the same way, but allow the liquid and fruit or vegetables to come to
within only 1/4 inch of the top. Then proceed to close the cans. Apply
the flux to the groove in the top of each can where the solder is to be
melted, using for this purpose a small brush or a small stick having a
piece of cloth wrapped around one end. Heat the capping steel, which
should be thoroughly clean, until it is almost red hot, dip it quickly
into a little of the flux, and then put it into a mixture consisting of
equal parts of sal ammoniac and powdered solder until it is covered with
bright solder. Put the cap on the can and apply the hot capping steel
covered with the solder. Hold this device firmly, press it downwards,
and turn it slowly as the solder melts and thus joins the cap to
the can.

48. After the caps are soldered in place, the air inside the cans must
be driven out through the small vent, or opening, usually in the center
of the cap, and the cans made air-tight. Therefore, place the cans into
boiling water to within 1/2 inch of the top and let them remain there
for a few minutes. Usually, 3 minutes in boiling water is sufficient.
Immediately after _exhausting_, as this process is called, apply a
little of the flux as in capping, and, with the tipping iron well heated
and a strip of solder, seal the hole in the caps. After this is done,
test each can for leaks by submerging it in water. If bubbles arise, it
is an indication that the cover is not tight and must be resoldered.

49. The next step consists in processing the cans of food. This may be
done either in a water bath or in a pressure cooker. If the cans are to
be processed in a water bath, keep them in the boiling water just as
long as glass jars of food would be kept there. If a pressure cooker is
to be used, keep the cans in it for 6 to 40 minutes, depending on the
steam pressure employed, the ripeness of the food or the necessity for
cooking it, and the size of the cans employed. For canning meat or fish,
processing in a pressure cooker is the most successful, as the high
temperature reached in it kills bacteria, which are difficult to destroy
at the boiling point.

As soon as the cans of food are removed from the water bath or the
pressure cooker, plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking and
prevent the food from getting soft and mushy. Then label the cans, so
that no mistake will be made as to their contents.

50. In another method, the tin cans may be closed without soldering the
caps on. The caps used in this case are different from those which must
be soldered. They are forced in place by a hand-pressure machine that
may be attached to a table. Otherwise the procedure is the same as that
just given.


51. The OVEN METHOD oven method of canning is thought to be very
satisfactory by many housewives, but, as it is necessary to remove the
covers after cooking the contents of the jars, food canned in this way
is subjected to contamination, just as in the open-kettle method. In
addition, the jars are difficult to handle in the oven, owing to the
extreme heat that is required to cook the food in the jars.

52. In canning by the oven method, proceed by preparing the food as for
the cold-pack canning method; also, fill the jars with fruit or
vegetables and with liquid or sirup as in this method. Put the covers on
the jars loosely, omitting the jar rubbers. Place the jars in a shallow
pan of water, as in Fig. 21, and set the pan containing the jars into a
stove oven, which should be only slightly warm. At the same time place
the jar rubbers in a pan of boiling water, so that they may be
sterilized as the food cooks. When the jars are in the oven, increase
the heat gradually until the food in them boils. Then keep up a
temperature that will allow the food to boil quietly for a period long
enough to cook it soft and sterilize it. Usually, 30 to 45 minutes after
boiling has begun will be sufficient. During the cooking some of the
liquid in the jars evaporates. Therefore, when the jars of food are
ready to be removed from the oven, have boiling water or sirup ready,
remove the cover of each jar in turn, and fill the jar brimful with the
liquid. Then place a sterilized rubber in place and fasten the cover
down tight. The procedure from this point on is the same as in the other
canning methods.

[Illustration: FIG. 21]

* * * * *



53. In canning, as in all other tasks related to cookery, the
housewife's aim should be to do the greatest amount of work, and do it
well, with the least effort on her part. The results she gets in
canning, then, will depend considerably on the orderly arrangement of
the utensils and materials with which she is to do the work. But of
greater importance is the preparation she makes to eliminate as much as
she can the possibilities of contamination, for, as has been repeatedly
pointed out, success in canning depends on the absence of
dangerous bacteria.

54. From what has just been mentioned, it is essential that everything
about the person who is to do the work and the place in which the work
is to done should be clean. Clean dresses and aprons should be worn, and
the hands and finger nails should be scrupulously clean. The kitchen
floor should be scrubbed and the furniture dusted with a damp cloth. Any
unnecessary utensils and kitchen equipment should be put out of the way
and those required for canning assembled and made ready for the work.
The jars should be washed and the covers tested by fitting them on
without the rubbers. If a glass cover rocks, it does not fit correctly;
and if a screw cover will not screw down tight, it should be discarded.
Without the rubber, there should be just enough space between the cover
and the jar to permit the thumb nail to be inserted as is shown in Fig.
3. The edge of each jar and each glass cover should be carefully
examined every time it is used, so that none with pieces chipped off
will be used, as these will admit air. This examination is made by
running the finger over the edge of the jar and the cover, as is shown
in Fig. 4. The jars, covers, and rubbers should be put into pans of cold
water, and the water should be brought to the boiling point and allowed
to boil for 15 minutes or more while the fruit or vegetables are being
prepared for canning. They should be kept in the hot water until the
food is ready to be placed in them. In the one-period cold-pack method,
it is not necessary to boil the jars, rubbers, and covers, but this may
be done if desired.

To produce good-looking jars of food, the fruit or vegetables to be
canned should be graded to some extent; that is, the finest of the
fruits or vegetables should be separated and used by themselves, as
should also those of medium quality. Often it is wise to use the poorest
foods for purposes other than canning. The food may then be canned
according to the chosen method, but by no means should methods be mixed.
In handling the product after it has been cooked by the open-kettle
method, any spoon, funnel, or other utensil must be thoroughly
sterilized in the same way as the jars and their covers and rubbers;
indeed, no unsterile utensil should ever be allowed to touch the food
when a jar is being filled.

[Illustration: FIG. 22]

55. It is by the observance of such precautions as these, some of them
seemingly unimportant, that the housewife will be repaid for her efforts
in canning and be able to produce canned fruits and vegetables like
those shown in color in Fig. 22. This illustration shows, with a few
exceptions, such foods canned by the one-period cold-pack method, and
merits close inspection. As will be observed, the jars are full and well
packed and the color of each food is retained. Each can of food
indicates careful work and serves to show the housewife what she may
expect if she performs her work under the right conditions and in the
right way. This illustration likewise serves to demonstrate that any
food may be successfully canned by the one-period cold-pack method, a
claim that cannot be made for the other canning methods. In fact, some
of the foods illustrated, as, for instance, peas and corn, cannot be
canned successfully by any other method.


56. CLASSIFICATION OF VEGETABLES. - To simplify the directions here given
for the canning of vegetables, this food is divided into four groups,
as follows:

1. _Greens_, which include all wild and cultivated edible greens, such
as beet greens, collards, cress, dandelion, endive, horseradish greens,
kale, mustard greens, spinach, New Zealand spinach, and Swiss chard.

2. _Pod and related vegetables_, which include asparagus, beans, both
string and wax, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, okra,
peppers, both green and ripe, summer squash, and vegetable marrow.

3. _Root and tuber vegetables_, which include beets, carrots, kohlrabi,
parsnips, rutabagas, salsify, sweet potatoes, and turnips.

4. _Special vegetables_, which include beans, both Lima and shell, corn,
mushrooms, peas, pumpkin, sauerkraut, squash, succotash and other
vegetable combinations, and tomatoes.

The convenience of this plan will be readily seen when it is understood
that, with the exception of the special vegetables, the same method of
preparation and the time given for the various steps in the canning
process apply to all vegetables of the same class. Thus, if directions
for a vegetable belonging to a certain class are not definitely stated
in the text, it may be taken for granted that this vegetable may be
canned in the manner given for another vegetable of the same class.

57. GENERAL DIRECTIONS. - The canning of vegetables may be most
successfully done by the one-period cold-pack method. Tomatoes,
however, because of the large quantity of acid they contain, may be
canned and kept with little difficulty by the open-kettle method, but
they will be found to keep their shape better if the cold-pack method
is employed.

The time required for cooking any vegetable after it is packed in jars
depends on the kind and the age. Therefore, if a vegetable is hard or
likely to be tough, it may be necessary to increase the time given in
the directions; whereas, if it is young and tender or very ripe, as in
the case of tomatoes, the time for cooking may perhaps have to be
decreased. Because, in altitudes higher than sea level, the boiling
point of water is lower than 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the length of time
for boiling foods in the water bath must be increased after an altitude
of 500 feet is reached. Therefore, for every additional 500 feet over
the first 500 feet, 10 per cent. should be added to the time given for
the boiling in water. In case a pressure cooker is used, however, this
is not necessary.

The canning directions here given are for 1-quart jars. If pint jars are
to be used, decrease the salt proportionately; also, decrease the time
for cooking in each case one-fifth of the time, or 20 per cent. If
2-quart jars are to be used, double the amount of salt and add to the
length of time for cooking one-fifth, or 20 per cent. For instance, if a
1-quart jar of food requires 90 minutes, a pint jar of the same food
would require 72 minutes and a 2-quart jar, 108 minutes.


58. In canning greens, or vegetables belonging to the first group,
select those which are fresh and tender. Greens that are old and
inclined to be strong and tough may require longer blanching and
cooking. Look the greens over carefully, rejecting all leaves that are
wilted or otherwise spoiled. Cut off the roots and drop the leaves into
a pan of cold water. Wash these thoroughly a number of times, using
fresh water each time, in order to remove all sand and dirt that may be
clinging to them. Then proceed to blanch them for 10 to 15 minutes in
steam, suspending the greens over boiling water in a piece of
cheesecloth, a colander, or the top of a steamer. After blanching, dip
them quickly into cold water. Then pack the greens tightly into jars and
add 1 teaspoonful of salt to each jarful. No water has to be added to
greens, because the leaves themselves contain sufficient water. When the
jars are thus packed, adjust the covers and proceed to sterilize and
cook the greens according to the directions previously given. If the
water bath is to be used, boil them in it for 1-1/2 to 2 hours; but if
the pressure cooker is to be employed for this purpose, cook them at a
5-pound pressure for 60 minutes or at a 10-pound pressure for
40 minutes.


59. The best results in canning vegetables belonging to the second group
will be derived when those which are fresh and tender are selected. As

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 7 of 27)