Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/715

This page needs to be proofread.


Popular Science Monthly

��699

��would not be discovered whereby the surplus crop of fat years could be saved for use when demand required. This seems to be the process for the purpose.

An instance of the needless waste of vegetables in this country is afforded by the fact that not long ago 3,300 bags of onions were thrown into San Francisco Bay because they had deteriorated in the warehouses and could not be sold. This when the price of onions was soaring sk>-ward at an unbelievable rate! Green vegetables will remain edible so long, and no longer. The ulti- mate consumer, and he alone, must pay for wastage.

When You Buy Vege- tables You Pay for Much Water

It is not generally ap- preciated to what extent water enters into all vege- table matter. With wheat, for instance, twenty per cent is mois- ture. In other words, out of every five carloads of wheat, one represents water. Freight charges are paid on this as if it were nutriment. There is no rebate on the

���Shredding a cabbage preparatory to relieving it of its 91.5 per cent water

���The water extracted from the vegetables in this machine runs off into the barrel below

��water contents of the foodstuffs carried by railroads and freight ships.

The ultimate consumer foots the entire bill when he buys his barrel of flour. Not only that, but the baker's loaf — sold by weight — is thirty-five per cesnt water. The marketman has to contend with the same difficulties. A goodly percentage of his stock wilts and deterio- rates, all because of the same trouble-breeding moisture. What he sells must therefore bring a price high enough to balance this loss.

The wholesaler, also, is confronted by similar condi- tions. He has to pay charges for trans- portation, cover depre- ciation in transit, and sell at prices that will insure a profit.

Returning again to the farmer: He can ship only the ver>' best of his produce in order that his perishable wares may stand reasonably well their journey to the markets. As a result, when his vegetables ripen overabundantly, he has to count as a loss that part of his crop which remains in his barn, and is forced to increase the price of his marketable goods accordingly. Although consumers fume over the high price of fresh vegetables, they seldom realize these fundamental causes, which op>erate to bring it about.

When the Europeans turned their minds to conserving surplus farm products, they sought to imitate nature, which had taught primitive man how to keep food by drying it in the sun or by the heat of a fire. The great difficulty experienced by foreign scientists was that while heat dried vege- tables brought into contact with it, it did not do so with any degree of uniformity.

To preserve vegetables, it is necessary to withdraw the moisture from their inner- ' most recesses as well as from their exterior. Otherwise, deterioration will start and progress under the surface. Too great an amount of heat will bake the interior; and too little will leave the interior subject to mold and decay.

�� �