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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/879

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General Remarks on the various Foods, Instructions for opening tins and serving, etc.

The Nutritive Value of Tinned Meat is less than that of fresh meat, and it is somewhat insipid owing to the loss of the osmasome, which gives to meat its agreeable flavour. In consequence of this, and because when it is overcooked the fibres become tough, a comparatively small proportion may be digested and assimilated, and so it is less satisfying than an equal amount of fresh meat. Tinned goods of nearly every description are more or less cooked, the time varying from five minutes to an hour. Tinned food is a valuable substitute for salt meat on board ship and elsewhere, and is especially useful to persons removed from the general sources of supply.

Tins containing meat are placed in a vessel and surrounded by a strong solution of common salt, which is heated to a temperature of 230° to 260° F. The top of each tin is securely soldered, and provided with a small hole through which the air and some of the steam escapes. As soon as the air is exhausted the aperture is immediately closed with a drop of solder, thus hermetically sealing and preserving all the essential elements of the meat. If any air remains, fermentation may ensue: a bulging tin indicates this condition. In all tinned foods there is a danger that small lumps of solder, used in sealing the tin, may fall inside, and be accidentally swallowed with the meat. In turning out a tin they should be looked for in the sediment at the bottom and removed. The danger is frequently obviated by the manufacturer leaving a small projection of tin underneath the hole to catch the solder.

Tinned Goods to be Stored in a Cool Place.—They can then be turned out easily and sliced more evenly. The larger end of the tin should be cut away, and a small hole made in the opposite end to admit air, which, by its pressure, enables the meat to slip out easily. Great care is needed in opening tinned game and poultry.

To Re-heat Tinned Meat, etc.—The tin containing meat, game or poultry should be immersed in boiling water until its contents are sufficiently heated, then opened and emptied. Birds may be served whole, but they are better cut up and cooked gently in a good sauce,