Preserving Vegetables & Fruits
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
TURNIPS, BEETS, ETC.—To Keep Nicely in Cellars for Winter Use. Applicable to all Kinds of Roots and Large Fruits.
—All kinds of roots keep better in the cellar by throwing fresh dirt over them; but turnips and beets especially keep much better for this, as they soon wilt and lose their freshness without it. Put in barrels, if it is too unhandy to thus cover them on the floor, by putting dirt in the bottom, and a layer every few inches, the roots not to come out to the sides by an inch at least, and then 5 or 6 inches of dirt on top. Large casks or boxes will do as well, and be less trouble. Some people do not put any earth in until the barrel is filled to within
6 inches of the top, then shake in dry sand, or dry road-dust, and cover with the same, or fresh earth. Only such as are wanted for winter use are treated in this way, the others stand in root-pits, ventilated as seen under that head.
"A cellar," says a writer " that is cool dry, dark and well ventilated, is the best place for preserving potatoes in large quantities. When smaller quantities are to be preserved there is nothing like dry sand. The same may be said of fruits and roots of all sorts." See below.
This is fully confirmed by the next item, so far as lemons and oranges are concerned, from a California paper.
2. Fruit Packing, Lemons, Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, etc., by Sand, Effectual for, as Done at Los Angeles, Cal.-" The citrus, or lemon men, of Los Angeles," says the correspondent, " have made a discovery of great value to Florida." [Then why not to every place, or man who desired to keep fruit, sweet potatoes, etc., any considerable time, for any purpose?] " dry sand," he goes on to say, " is the best packing for lemons and oranges. The fruit must touch the sand. Experience (is our best teacher) warrants keeping for 5 months at least. The dry sand has absorbing power that apparently takes up all exudations subject to decomposition, the rind being very porous. Naturally the thoughtful mind suggests that, on the same principle, dry sand must have similar preservative effect on other fruits, such as pears, plums, nectarines, apples, and other smooth-skinned varieties."
Remarks.—Yes, that is just what the principle does teach. If dry sand will keep lemons and oranges for 5 months, it will do the same with apples and the other fruits he names, and sweet potatoes as well, and every other fruit which perishes from the outside from natural dampness or from dampness arising from the rotting of the skin, which is the way most fruits, sweet potatoes, etc., do decay, as well as from slight bruising, which everyone must be careful not to do.
Root Pits, To Ventilate.—A gentleman of Oswego county, New York, "J. T.," writes to Farm and Fireside, of Springfield, O., of the importance of ventilating root pits. He says: "I have found, by costly experience, that it is not safe to pile a great quantity of roots together and cover with earth, unless some means of ventilation is provided, such as by carrying one or more pipes, made of drain tile set on end, or narrow boards nailed together, from the -center of the heap to the surface. These pipes may be loosely plugged with -straw, which will prevent the entrance of frost. I once lost several wagon loads of beets, during a December thaw, by neglecting this precaution."
Remarks.—This accounts for many " holes" of potatoes and other roots I have seen rotted, undoubtedly, for want of ventilation, I should prefer the small board box, in place of pipes, to run down well into the heap and have holes bored into the sides, to carry off the moisture clear up to the top of the heap, because if there is moisture at the top, the rotting will begin, and thus run downwards, by dripping from the rotting ones, and spoil all.
FRUIT, EGGS, Etc.-Kept well by Cold Storage.-The Science Of American. gives us the following practical fact upon this important point. It says the increasing use of cold storage for perishable food stuffs, which are-apt to be scarce at certain seasons, is one of the characteristics of the time. Last summer when fresh eggs were plentiful and cheap, a gentleman in Chenango county, N. Y., stored in a mammoth cooler some 5,000 barrels of eggs. Now they sell in this city as "fresh laid" eggs, at a large profit. As the eggs. are removed, the cooler is filled up with ducks and other fowl to be sold next spring.
Remarks.—This plan is certainly practicable, and has been done for some time past. It is done by means of ice. I think there is a patent on some forms of the coolers, but I have no doubt a good mechanic can get up a plan with an ice house that would be effectual, and not be an infringement. See other Plans of Preserving Eggs also.
STORING CELERY— For Spring Use.—The Germantown Telegraph says: " We have tried most ways, but prefer this one, followed for many years. A trench is dug from 12 to 15 inches in depth and as long as may be suitable. Place the roots in this singly, side by side, at an angle— that is, leaning somewhat ; three inches of soil are packed against them then another line of stalks, until the bed is as large as may be convenient for covering, when another, if required, can be made. The soil should be added until within 6 inches of the top of the stalks; then a layer of straw, then a layer of dry leaves; the whole to have a good board covering, to keep out water. Of course, rather high ground for the bed, or beds, should be selected, and a trench dug around the bed deeper than the bottom of the celery trenches, so ruade as to be sure to carry off all the water. If this plan is followed strictly, all others may be abandoned, as the celery will keep not only till spring, but as long in spring as may be desired, if it is not all eaten beforehand."