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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1269

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wards dried. Flowers, such as violets, orange and rose petals, and primroses, may be preserved in this way.

Fruit Pastes consist of the pulp of fruits, first evaporated to a proper consistency, and afterwards boiled with sugar. The mixture is then poured into a mould, or spread on sheets of tin, and subsequently dried in the oven or stove until it has acquired the consistency of a paste. From a sheet of this paste, strips may be cut and formed into any shape that may be desired, as knots, rings, etc. They are now somewhat out of date.

Pickles.—Pickles may now be purchased in such variety and so cheaply that very few, save those who grow vegetables they cannot utilize in any other way, think of preparing them at home. Pickles consist of vegetables and fruits steeped in vinegar previously boiled with spices, to which is frequently added salt and sugar, in quantities varied according to individual taste. The chief pickles are cabbage, cauliflower, chillies, gherkins, onions, and walnuts. Any or all of these, except cabbage, may be mixed; one variety of mixed pickles, highly seasoned with mustard, is well known, and often usefully employed as a dressing for devilled bones, re-heating pork, etc. Indian pickles form a class by themselves; they are generally thick and highly spiced, mangoes forming a general base.

Damsons are more frequently preserved by means of vinegar than other kinds of fruit, but the method is equally applicable to any unripe stone-fruit.

To make pickles successfully, the vegetables or fruit must be perfectly dry, fresh, and not over-ripe.

Adulteration in Pickles.—Sulphuric acid is often present in vinegar in larger amount than the law allows, i.e., 1 part in 1,000, and it is very injurious to health even in small amount. Good vinegar and unadulterated pickles have considerable dietetic value, especially in large towns and in those houses where fresh fruit and vegetables are not obtainable all the year round. Pickles sometimes contain copper, added in order to fix the chlorophyll, or green colouring matter, in the vegetables. Most authorities consider it poisonous; its presence may be detected by a coppery tinge imparted to the silver with which it comes in contact. If available, vinegar should be boiled in an enamelled pan, or, failing this, a stewjar placed in a saucepan of boiling water. If a metal pan must of necessity be used, one made of iron produces the least injurious effects. Fatal results have followed the use of copper vessels for pickling purposes.

Vinegar.—The active principle of vinegar is an acid produced by the secondary fermentation of liquids of vegetable origin. Thus we have vinegar from malt liquors, from wine, cider, date juice, etc. Commercially, the three chief vinegars are derived from malt, wine and wood.

Malt vinegar is obtained by brewing weak wort. To 100 gallons of