Gather fruit when it is dry.
Long boiling hardens the fruit.
Pour boiling water over the sieves used, and wring out jelly-bags in hot water the moment you are to use them.
Do not squeeze while straining through jelly-bags.
Let the pots and jars containing sweetmeats just made remain uncovered three days.
For permanent covering, lay brandy papers over the top, cover them tight, and seal them; or, what is best of all, soak a split bladder and tie it tight over them. In drying, it will shrink so as to be perfectly air-tight.
Keep them in a dry but not warm place.
A thick, leathery mold helps to preserve fruit, but when mold appears in specks, the preserves must be scalded in a warm oven, or the jars containing them are to be set into hot water, which must then boil till the preserves are scalded.
Always keep watch of preserves which are not sealed, especially in warm and damp weather. The only sure way to keep them without risk or care is to make them with enough sugar and seal them or tie bladder covers over.
The best kettle is iron lined with porcelain. If brass is used, it must be bright, or acids will make a poison.
The chief art is to boil continuously, slowly, and gently, and take up as soon as done; too long boiling makes the fruit hard and dark. Jellies will not harden well if the boiling stops for some minutes. Try jellies with a spoon, and as soon as they harden around the edge quickly, they are done. In making, the sugar should be heated, and not added till the juice boils.
Keep preserves in small glass jars, as frequent opening injures them.
This is far more economical than to preserve in sugar. Some can be canned without any sugar, and very nice sugar demands only one fourth sugar to three fourths fruit. The best cans are glass with metal tops. Those of Wilcox are the best known to the author. The W. L. Im-lay's, of Philadelphia, are recommended as best of any.
Set the jars in a large boiler, and then fill it with cold water and heat to boiling. Having filled the jars to within an inch of the top with alternate layers of fruit and sugar, (in proportion of one half or one fourth of a pound of sugar to a pound of fruit, according as it is more or less acid,) set them in cold water. As soon as the fruit has risen to the top of the jar, screw on the cover and take from the water. Peaches and pears may be canned without sugar.
For each pound of sugar allow half a pint of water. For every three pounds of sugar allow the white of one egg. Mix when cold, boil a few minutes, and skim it. Let it stand ten minutes and skim it again, then strain it.
Prick the peaches with a needle, put them into a kettle with cold water, heat the water, scald them until sufficiently soft to be penetrated with a straw. Take half a pound of sugar to every pound of peaches; make the sirup with the sugar, and while it is a little warm mix two thirds as much of white brandy with it, put the fruit into jars and pour the sirup over it. The late white clingstones are the best to use.
Peaches, (not very rich.) - To six pounds of fruit put five of sugar. Make the sirup. Boil the fruit in the sirup till it is clear. If the fruit is ripe, half an hour will cook it sufficiently.
Peaches, (very elegant.) - First take out the stones, then pare them. To every pound of peaches allow one third of a pound of sugar. Make a thin sirup, boil the peaches in the sirup till tender, but not till they break. . Put them into a bowl and pour the sirup over them. Put them in a dry, cool place, and let them stand two days. Then make a new, rich sirup, allowing three quarters of a pound of sugar to one of fruit. Drain the peaches from the first sirup, and boil them until they are clear in the last sirup. The first sirup must not be added, but may be used for any other purpose you please, as it is somewhat bitter. The large white clingstones are the best.