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Fruits And Vegetables

( Originally Published 1918 )

Food value add use of fruits. Reasons and rules for canning. How to can and use such vegetables as beets, beans, tomatoes, and carrots, and such fruits as figs, grapes, apples, and peaches. The drying of fruits and vegetables.

SUBJECT MATTER

Fruits impart palatability and flavour to other foods and exercise a favourable influence upon the digestive organs, though their food value is low. They contain a high percentage of water and only a small percentage of nutrients. Most fruits are eaten raw and are exceedingly valuable to the body because of the fresh acids they contain. Cooking softens the cellulose of the fruit and, there-fore, renders some fruits more easy of digestion. The cooking of fruit is of value chiefly for the purpose of preservation.

The drying of fruits.--Fruits are dried so that they may be preserved for use. Bacteria and moulds, which cause the decay of fruits, need moisture for development and growth. If the moisture is evaporated, the fruits will keep almost indefinitely. Fruits and vegetables can be easily and inexpensively dried. When dried fruits are to be used for the table, they must he washed thoroughly and soaked for several hours, or overnight, in water, so as to restore to them as much water as possible. They should be cooked, until soft, in the same water in which they are soaked.

Canning and preserving.- Other methods of preservation are desirable, in order that vegetables and fruits be made of value for a longer period of time than through their ripening season. Canning is one of the methods most commonly employed in the home, being both easy and satisfactory. Fruit which is to he canned is first sterilized by boiling or steaming, in order to destroy all germs and spores. This can be adequately accomplished by boiling for twenty minutes, hut a shorter time is sometimes sufficient, In order to ensure complete success, all germs must also be destroyed on the cans and on every-thing which comes in contact with the food. This will be effected by boiling or steaming for twenty minutes. The jars, covers, dipper, and funnel should all be placed in cold water, heated until the water comes to the boiling-point, boiled five minutes, and left in the water until just before sealing. As for the rubbers, it will be sufficient to dip them into the boiling water. After the fruit has been put into the can, it must be sealed so that it is perfectly air-tight. In order to do this, it is necessary to have good covers, with new, pliable rubbers, and to see to it that they fit tightly.

When the jar is to be filled, it should he placed on a board or wooden table, or on a cloth wrung out of hot water, and should he filled to overflowing.

Sugar is not essential to sterilization and is used only to improve the flavour. Both fruits and vegetables can be canned without sugar. However, fruits canned with a large amount of sugar do not spoil readily, for germs develop slowly in a thick syrup.

Methods of canning.—The simplest method of canning is the " Open-kettle Method" employed for small, watery fruits, such as berries, grapes, tomatoes, etc. The fruit is boiled in an open kettle (which permits of the evaporation of some of the water in the fruit) and transferred at once to a sterilized jar, which is immediately sealed.

Another and safer method, which secures more complete sterilization without serious change of flavour in the fruit, is that known as the " Cold-pack Method ". After being transferred to the cans, the vegetable or fruit is subjected to an additional period of heating of consider-able length, or to three periods of briefer length on three successive days. If the three periods of sterilization are used, the process is known as the " Intermittent. Method".

The Single Process Method is described in the recipe for canned beets. The Intermittent Process proves more satisfactory for canned beans.

PRELIMINARY PLAN

The teacher should ascertain what fruits and vegetables are most abundant and select for canning those that the class can provide.

Each pupil should be asked to bring some vegetable or fruit, some granulated sugar, and a jar in which to can her fruit. If the school does not possess enough kettles or saucepans in which to do the cooking, they may he borrowed from the homes.

Only one fruit or one vegetable should he taken up at a time, for the preparation necessarily varies slightly, and the different methods will prove confusing. It is not necessary to confine the choice of fruits and vegetables to those mentioned in the recipes included here. The teacher will find it Letter to base her instruction on the products of the particular time and place. The principles of canning should be taken up at some other period, if possible, iii order that the cooking lesson may be devoted entirely to the practical work.

RECIPES

Canned Tomatoes

(Open-kettle Method)

Scald and peel the tomatoes. Boil gently for 20 minutes. Sterilize the jars, covers, and rubbers. Stand the jars on a cloth in a pan of hot water or on a board or wooden table. Fill the jars with hot tomatoes, being careful to fill to overflowing and to expel all air bubbles from the jar. Adjust the rubbers and covers. Seal and allow to cool. Test, label, and set away in a cool, dry, dark place.

(Cold-pack Method)

Scald in water hot enough to loosen the skins. Plunge quickly in cold water and remove the skins. Pack whole or in pieces in the jars. Fill the jars with tomatoes only. Add 1 level tea-spoonful of salt to each quart. Place the rubber and cover in position. Partially seal, but not tightly. Place the jars on a rack in a boiler. Pour sufficient warm water into the boiler to come half-way up the jars. Place the filled jars on the rack so as not to touch one another, and pack the spaces between them with cotton, to prevent the jars striking when the water boils. Sterilize for 22 minutes after the water begins to boil. Remove the jars from the boiler. Tighten the covers. Invert to cool, and test the joints. Wrap the jars in paper to prevent bleaching and store in a cool, dry, dark place. This method of cooking is also called " The Hot Water Bath ".

Canned Grapes

(Open-kettle Method)

1 qt. grapes 1 qt. sugar 1/2 c. water

Pick over, wash, drain, and remove the stems from the grapes. Separate the pulp from the skins. -Cook the pulp 5 minutes and then rub through a sieve that is fine enough to hold hack the seeds. Put the water, skins, and pulp into the preserving kettle and heat slowly to the boiling-point. Skim the fruit and then add the sugar. Boil 15 minutes. Put into jars as directed.

Sweet grapes may he canned with less sugar very sour grapes will require more sugar.

Canned Peaches

Choose firm, solid fruit. Scald long enough to loosen the skins. Peel and cut in halves. If clingstone peaches are used, they may be canned whole. Pack the fruit into sterilized jars, fill with boiling syrup (1 c. sugar to 1˝ c. water). Then put on the covers loosely and place. on wooden racks in the boiler. Sterilize in hot water bath for 2( minutes. Remove the jars and tighten the covers. Invert fo cool, and test the joints. Wrap the jars in paper to prevent bleaching; then store.

Canned Beets

(Single Process)

Wash the beets and boil them until they are nearly tender and the skins come off easily. Remove the skins and carefully pack the beets in a jar. Cover with boiling water, to which one tablespoonful of salt is added for each quart, and put the cover on the jar, but do not fasten it down. Place the jar on a rack or a folded cloth in a large kettle that can he closely covered. Pour enough water into the kettle to reach within two inches of the top of the jar, cover the kettle, bring the water to the boiling-point, and boil from one and one-half to two hours. As the water around the jar boils down, replenish with boiling water, never with cold. Remove the jars and tighten the covers. Invert to cool, and test the joints. Wrap the jars in paper to prevent bleaching; then store.

Note - In canning beets, if vinegar is added to the water in the proportion of one part vinegar to four parts water, the natural bright colour will he retained.

Conned String Beans and Peas

(Intermittent Method)

Can on the same day that the vegetables are picked. Blanch in boiling water from 2 to 5 minutes. Remove, and plunge into cold water. Pack in sterilized jars. Add boiling water to fill the crevices. Add 1 level teaspoonful of salt to each quart_ Place rubbers and covers in position.

Set the jars on the rack in the boiler and bring gradually to boiling heat. At the end of an hour's boiling, remove the jars from the boiler. Tighten the clamps or rims and set the jars aside to cool until the following clay. Do not let the vegetables cool off in the boiler, as this results in over-cooking. On the second day, loosen the clamps or unscrew the rims, place the jars in warm water, heat again to boiling temperature, and boil for an hour ; then remove them again. On the third day, repeat the hour's boiling, as on the preceding day.

Corn may be canned successfully in the same way.

Dried Corn

Pick the corn early in the morning. immediately- husk, silk, and cut the corn from the cob. Spread in a very thin layer on a board, cover with mosquito netting which is kept sufficiently elevated so that it will not come in contact with the corn, place in the hot sun, and leave all day. Before the dew begins to fall, take it into the house and place in an oven that is slightly warm. Leave in the oven overnight and place out in the sun again the next day. Repeat this process until absolutely dry.

String Beans

String beans are hung tip to dry and kept for winter use.

METHOD OF WORK

If possible, let each pupil can a jar of vegetables or fruit for her own honte. If the class is large, let the pupils work iii groups of two or three.

Begin the lesson with a very brief discussion of how to prepare fruit for calming.

Let the pupils proceed with the practical work as quickly as possible. Demonstrate the method of filling and sealing the jars.

Assign the care of the jars and the intermittent canning on succeeding clays to members of the class. and hold them responsible for the completion of the work.

The drying of some vegetables call be undertaken at school, and carefully followed from dal' to day. It will furnish the pupils with an interesting problem.

Preparation of white sauce to serve with vegetables. How to boll, season. and serve such vegetables as lima or butter beans, string beans, onions, cabbage, corn, beets, turnips, or carrots.

Fats.—Butter belongs to the class of food-stuffs known as fats. It increases the fuel value of those dishes to which it is added.

Fats supply heat and energy to the body in a concentrated form. For this reason they should be used in a limited quantity. Fats undergo several changes during the process of digestion, and the excessive use of them interferes with the digestion of other foods and throws a large amount of work upon the digestive organs. Cooked fats are more difficult of digestion than uncooked fats, and other foods cooked with hot fat are rendered more difficult to digest.

Vegetables.—Vegetables should be used when in season, as they are always best and cheapest then. They are better kept in a cold, dry, and dark place.

If the vegetables contain starch or tough cellulose, they will require cooking; as raw starch is indigestible, and the harsh cellulose may be too irritating to the digestive tract.

In old or exceedingly large vegetables the cellulose may he very tough ; hence a long period of cooking is necessary. They should be cooked only until they are tender. Longer cooking may destroy the flavour, render the vegetables difficult of digestion, and cause the colour to change. In very young vegetables the cellulose is delicate and, if young vegetables do not contain much starch, they may he eaten raw.

When cooked vegetables are served, they are usually seasoned and dressed with butter (for one cup of vegetables use 1/2 teaspoonful of salt, 1/8 teaspoonful of pepper, and 1/2 tablespoonful of fat), or a sauce is prepared to serve with them.

PRELIMINARY PLAN

It may be well to have a preliminary lesson devoted to simple experiments with Hour, liquid, and fat, in order to determine the best method of combining the ingredients in the white sauce. However, if the lesson period is of sufficient length, a few of these experiments may be performed in connection with it.

There should be provided fur the lesson some vegetable that is improved by serving with white sauce, and sufficient milk, butter or other fat, flour, and salt for the sauce and the experiments. Discuss with the pupils the fat that is used in their homes, in order to know what is available.

The recipes should be written on the blackboard before the lesson hour.

RECIPES

Stewed Onions

1 qt. onions 1/2 tbsp. butter

1 White pepper 1/4 tsp. salt.

Peel the onions under cold water. Cover with boiling water, add salt, and simmer until tender. Drain and serve with one cup of white sauce; or omit the sauce and serve seasoned with butter and pepper. Serves six.

Cabbage

Cut the cabbage into quarters and soak one-half hour in cold salt water to draw out any insects. Chop or shred, cover with boiling water, add salt, and simmer until tender. Drain, and serve with butter, salt, and pepper, or with a sauce.

Carrots

Scrape the carrots and cut them into large dice or slice's. Add boiling water and boil until tender (from 30 to 45 minutes). Drain, and season with butter, salt, and pepper, or serve with white sauce.

String Beans

String the beans, if necessary, and cut. into pieces. Boil in salted water until tender. Season with butter, salt, and pepper, and serve hot.

Salt pork may be boiled with the beans, to give them an added flavour.

EXPERIMENTS IN USING STARCH FOR THICKENING

(Any powdered starch may be used)

1. Boil 1/4 cup of water in a small sauce-pan. While boiling, stir into it 1/6 tsp. of cornstarch and let it boil one minute. Observe the result. Break open a lump and examine it.

2. Mix 1 tsp. of cornstarch with 2 tsp. of cold water and stir into 1/4 cup of boiling water. Note the result.

3. Mix 1 tsp. of cornstarch with 2 tsp. of sugar and stir into 14 cup of boiling water. Note the result.

4. Mix 1 tsp. of cornstarch with 2 tsp. of melted fat in a small sauce-pan and stir into it 1/4 cup of boiling water. Note the result.

CONCLUSIONS BASED ON THE FOREGOING EXPERIMENTS

1. Starch granules must be separated before being used to thicken a liquid:

(1) By adding a double quantity of cold liquid,

(2) By adding a double quantity of sugar,

(3) By adding a double quantity of melted fat.

2. The liquid which is being thickened must he constantly stirred, to distribute evenly the starch grains until they are cooked.

White Sauce

2 tbsp. butter or other fat 1c. milk

2 tbsp. flour 1/4 tsp. salt tsp. pepper

(Sufficient for 1 pint vegetables)

Melt, the butter, add the flour, and stir over the fire until frothy. Add the milk and stir constantly until it thickens. Stir in the seasonings.

NOTE.--Vegetable water may be substituted for part of the milk.

METHOD OF WORK

Review the facts on boiling vegetables learned in the previous lesson. Let the pupils put water on to boil and prepare a vegetable for cooking. If experiments are to be made, they can be performed while the vegetable is cooking. If the experiments have been made previously, they can he reviewed in discussion at this time. Prepare a white sauce by demonstration, using the method which seems most practical. Have the vegetables drained, dried, and added to the white sauce. When well-heated, serve.

Household Science in Rural Schools:
The Value Of Carbohydrates In The Diet

Fruits And Vegetables

Cereals

The Planning And Serving Of Meals

Milk

Soup Recipes

Eggs And Egg Preparation

Simple Desserts - Custards

Batters And Doughs

Meats

Read More Articles About: Household Science in Rural Schools



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