Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1264

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From the nature of vegetable substances, and chiefly from their not passing so rapidly into a decomposed state as animal substances, the method of preserving them is somewhat different, although the general principles are the same. All the methods of preservation are put in practice occasionally for fruits and the various parts of vegetables, according to the nature of the species, the climate, the uses to which they are applied, etc. Some are dried, as nuts, raisins, sweet herbs, etc.; others are preserved by means of sugar, as, for example, many fruits whose delicate juices would be lost by drying; some are preserved by means of vinegar, and chiefly used as condiments or pickles; a few also by salting, as French beans; while others are preserved in spirits. We have in this place to treat of the best methods of preserving fruits. Fruit is a most important item in the daily dietary; therefore, when we cannot obtain it fresh, we must have it preserved. It has long been a desideratum to preserve fruits by some cheap method to keep them fit for the various culinary purposes, as making tarts and other similar dishes. The expense of preserving them with sugar is a serious objection. By most home methods, unless sugar is used in considerable quantities, the success is very uncertain, and sugar overpowers and destroys the sub-acid taste so desirable in many fruits; so that the tinned and bottled fresh fruits, now so common, though only introduced of recent years, are a valuable addition to our food. Fruits intended for preservation should be gathered in the morning, in dry weather, with the morning sun upon them if possible; they then have their fullest flavour, and keep in good condition longer than when gathered at any other time. Until fruit can be used, it should be placed in the dairy, an ice-house or a refrigerator. In an ice-house it will remain fresh and plump for several days. Fruit gathered in wet or foggy weather will soon mildew, and be of no service for preserves unless it is used immediately and very thoroughly boiled, when