2695.—TO DRY HERBS FOR WINTER USE.
Gather the herbs on a dry day, just before they begin to flower. Dry them quickly before or near the fire, then strip the leaves from the stalks, put them in a moderately-hot oven on baking-tins until crisp, then rub them between the palms of the hands until reduced to a powder. Pass through a fine sieve to remove the small stalks, put into hot, perfectly dry bottles, cork tightly, and store for use. Herbs are sometimes dried and put into paper bags, but this method is not to be recommended, for they not only lose much of their flavour, but they are less easily powdered than when freshly dried.
2696.—TO DRY MUSHROOMS.
Method.—Wipe them with a dry cloth, take away the brown part, and peel off the skin. Lay them in a cool oven on sheets of paper to dry, when they will shrivel considerably. Keep them in paper bags which hang in a dry place. When wanted for use, put them into cold gravy, bring them gradually to simmer, and it will be found that they will regain nearly their natural size.
The Mushroom.—The cultivated or garden mushroom is a species of fungus which, in England, is considered the best, and is there usually eaten. The tribe, however, is numerous, and a large proportion are poisonous; hence it is always dangerous to make use of mushrooms gathered in their natural state. In some parts of Europe, as in Germany, Russia and Poland, many species grow wild, and are used as food; but in Britain, two species only are generally eaten. These are mostly employed for the flavouring of dishes, and are also dried and pickled. Catsup, or ketchup, is made from mushrooms by mixing spices and salt with their juice. The young, called buttons, are the best for pickling when in the globular form.
2697.—TO PRESERVE PARSLEY.
Method.—Use freshly-gathered parsley for keeping, wash it perfectly free from grit and dirt, put it into boiling water which has been slightly salted and well skimmed, and then let it boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Take it out, let it drain, and lay it on a sieve in front of the fire, when it should be dried as expeditiously as possible. Store it away in a very dry place in bottles, and when wanted for use, pour over it a little warm water, and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
2698.—TO PRESERVE WALNUTS.
Ingredients.—To every pint of water allow 1 teaspoonful of salt. Walnuts.
Method.—Place the walnuts in the salt and water for at least 24 hours, then take them out and rub them dry. Old nuts may be freshened in this manner; or walnuts, when first picked, may be put into an earthen pan with salt sprinkled amongst them, and with damped hay placed on the top and then covered down with a lid. The walnuts must be well wiped before they are put on the table.