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Drying Fruit

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



I. APPLES-Dried and Evaporated, How to Cook.—A lady in one of the Rural* becomes enthusiastic over dried apples, and tells us how to cook them, with which the author so fully agrees that he gladly gives it a place. She also covers the ground of cooking the evaporated apples prepared by the manufactories, but they sell so high I am glad to be able to give a plan, in the next recipe, of drying at home so they shall be nearly if not quite equal to those of the manufactories. This lady says: "After the apples are well washed and rinsed in at least two waters, place them in a porcelain kettle or tin pan; fill the vessel nearly full of cold water; this, however, must depend on the size of the vessel and the quality of the apples. Let them very gradually come Io boiling, keeping them covered tightly. As soon as they are boiling put in as much sugar as you think will be required. I generally the a tea-cupful to 1 qt. of apples, measured before being washed. Keep a tea-kettle full of boiling water always ready when you are cooking, and while the apples are stewing add boiling water from time to time, as it is needed. Boil them slowly and steadily until tender, but not until they seem to shrink up and turn dark. If you use white or brown sugar, and don't add spices, and don't mash the apples into an unsightly mass, and have plenty of juice, with sugar enough to make it rich, but not to deaden its taste of the apple, and serve up while fresh, you can have a dish good enough for anybody to eat, and something better than half the, canned fruit in use.

" The evaporated apples are better than the dried. They should be cov ered with cold water and only let simmer 10 minutes. They are not in general use, and are of high price. I must not omit to mention that the juice of nicely stewed dried apples is a delicious beverage for the sick, and possesses a flavor peculiarly refreshing and grateful, especially where there is fever."

Remarks.—This lady is perfectly correct in the idea that plenty of juice is the important part of cooking dried apples. They should also be covered, as she says, while cooking, and although they ought to be cooked tender, yet they should not be done to pieces nor mashed. In this manner, as the girls say now-a-days, "They are just splendid,"-no better sauce made, for me.

2. Drying Fruit at the Manufactories, and Home-Drying.--At a recent meeting of the Ohio State Horticultural Society, at Canton, Mr. James Edgerton read a paper upon the modern methods of drying or evaporating fruits. Mr. S. B. Mann, of Adrian, Mich., in response to requests from the members, gave an account of a fruit-drying establishment in his town, in which five large Alden machines were used. It had cost $10,000, and had paid for itself in five years. Its capacity was 400 bushels every 24 hours. It gave employment to 50 or 60 hands, chiefly girls, working in 2 sets, day and night, , paring and cutting the fruit. The benefit to the community from the establish-ment was great, and the neighboring farmers would be sorry to lose it from among them. Mr Mann said, for the benefit of the ladies, that if they would slice fruit across, in thin slices, place it on trays in the sun, covered with thin muslin cloth, they could dry fruit which would closely resemble that prepared by the Alden process, Mosquito netting was not so good for covering as thin cloth. In the Alden process, the white color was obtained by driving the fumes of sulphur through the dryer. (See "Evaporated Fruit.")

These thin sliced apples ought to be dried on wooden trays, not on old tin, by any means. Wooden trays might be easily made about 2 feet long and 15 to 20 inches wide, by nailing pieces of lath, slit up to 3' or % square, nail d on end cleats, with a lath of full width on the ends of the cleats running the whole length, to form sides, to prevent the apples from slipping off—the square bits of lath forming the bottom, nailed about inch apart, to allow air to pass up through; the side lath going down a little, say 1/4 inch below the bottom ones, which would thus allow the free passage of air under and up through the bottom. The thin, or cheap muslin covering preventing the sun from turning the fruit dark colored, and the wood has no tendency, either, to darken the shade of the apples, or other fruit. When once made they last for years, with proper care.

Remarks.—The plan of preparing fruit for canning is so well understood, generally, it is not deemed necessary to give any more instruction than is found in the tables. The sugar and the juices are calculated to make syrup enough to fill the crevices. If there is no juice, in any case, a very little water must be put in to start the juice and prevent the sugar from burning at the first.

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