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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/806

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

pile of candied figs, and a pile of preserved cherries lies beside him; while still another is sugar-coating almonds in an oscillating kettle. In the middle of the room are low tables covered with marble slabs, on one of which an operator will perhaps be working out stick candy, and on another you may see long, shallow canals, or rivers, of congealing peanut or molasses candy, confined on the slab by long, solid iron bars. Scattered around are the workmen's simple tools—spatulas, strainers, molds, paste, syringes, and the like. The materials of the candy-maker are equally simple and few, consisting in the main of only three kinds of articles—sugar, flavorings, and colors. The flavors usually employed are the essential oils of various aromatic plants. Mixed with spirits these oils form extracts and essences, the extract being a stronger flavoring than the essence. The extracts of lemon, wintergreen, peppermint, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger, are used in great quantities. Extract of lemon is best prepared fresh by grating the rinds of lemons either with a grater or with cubical lumps of hard sugar, the operator being careful not to get down to the bitter white portion which underlies the outer yellow skin. As to the vanilla vine, the best Mexican pods will, if macerated in alcohol, give a fresher flavor than that of the bottled extract. The colors employed by reputable confectioners are nearly all purely vegetable, and are quite harmless. They are such as cochineal, carmine, saffron, Prussian blue[1] (a preparation of iron), and the like. For brown, caramel is used, and mixed with carmine it forms orange-yellow. To convince one's self of the harmlessness of these colors, one only needs to know that a bit of red coloring-matter the size of a gum-drop will color five thousand pounds of candy. Cheap candies colored with poisonous mineral stuffs are annually seized by the New York city health officers. Many French candies used to be colored not only with such disagreeable earths as umber and sienna, but with red lead, chrome-yellow, and vermilion, all of which are highly poisonous. French confectioners have now, however, not only formed themselves into a national association to protect themselves against unprincipled manufacturers, but they themselves are strictly supervised, being allowed by their government to use only the following harmless colorings: Blues—indigo, Prussian blue, ultramarine; reds—cochineal, carmine, carmine lake; yellows—saffron, French berries, and turmeric or fustic; greens—mixture of above yellows and blues; purples—mixture of red and blue. Cheap candies are not only often poisonous, but badly adulterated with terra alba, corn-starch, and starch-sugar or glucose. Cheap gum-drops are made from corn-starch, to which ordinary glue is sometimes added; whereas the best gum-drops are made from gum arabic and cane-sugar. Stick-candy made from glucose may be detected by its lack of sweet-

  1. [Prussian blue is not a vegetable color, and can not be correctly regarded as "quite harmless." In Battershall's "Food Adulteration and its Detection" it is classed, as a coloring for confectionery, among pigments of a "very objectionable character."—Editor.]