A large airy, cool and dry store-room is a great boon - a small airy closet will, however, suffice if a large one is not to be had. Shelves, hooks and nails in the walls, or on the edges of the shelves, are essential; a few little nets for hanging lemons, earthenware jars and tins, are also required.
A book and pencil should be kept in the store-room; in this book every article purchased should be entered, with its date and price on one page, "taken out," should head the other page; and on it should be entered everything given out of the store-room.
The cook should be supplied, once a week, with the ordinary things required - such as kitchen tea and sugar, rice, candles, soap, etc. etc. - in fact all she can possibly want. On that day week she should account for all she has used, and bring any remainders, which can be made up to the average quantity. If the housemother prefers giving out the store-room articles daily, she should still enter them in her book at the time.
In this manner, the consumption of stores will be constantly checked. Say, the housekeeper has given out so many pounds of bedroom candles; a glance back will show whether they have lasted the proper time, when the housemaid comes to ask for more. Say, that a pound of tea is to last her and the cook a fortnight; if she asks for more in ten days, a glance at the book will reveal the irregularity; it will also betray too great a consumption of lemons, nutmegs, etc. etc., or any other article.
A store-room should be dry, clean and cool. In the coolest and driest part should be kept the jams, pickles and preserves. Tin boxes must hold biscuits or cakes. Coffee should not be kept in quantities unless it is unroasted, which is the best way to buy it; the berry, if not roasted, will improve by keeping; if roasted it loses its flavour, even when kept in tins.
Tallow candles should be purchased in March, as they will then have been made in the winter, and will keep well. We have written largely on the subject of candles in "Domestic Science," to which we refer our readers for every information respecting them.
Soap should be bought, for cheapness, by the cwt. if possible; if not, by the bar; it should be cut in pieces for use, and put in a drawer, or on the floor of the store-room to dry and harden slowly, which will make it last much longer.
Starch must be kept in a dry place.
Sugar, sweetmeats and salt, must be kept very dry.
Rice, tapioca, sago, etc., must be kept close covered, for fear of insects.
Lemons should be purchased, for keeping, in June or July, when they are cheapest. They must hang in net ted bags.
Eggs may be preserved by brushing over with gum, and laying them in a cool place, or they may be washed with quicklime, saltpetre, and an ounce of cream of tartar.
Fresh eggs should have the date of their being laid written on them.
The housekeeper should always have also a ball of string, a. hammer, nails, a pair of scissors, and a box of gum in her store-room.
Spices must be kept in tins. Pickles and dry preserves and lemon peel in glass bottles, which may be hermetically closed by means of gelatine caps. Gelatine mixed with glycerine yields a compound which is liquid when hot, but becomes solid by cooling, at the same time retaining much elasticity. To apply it, dip the neck of the bottle into the liquid mixture, and by repeating the operation the cap may be made thicker.
The following list and description of the stores which the housewife., (who can afford a full store-room), should provide, may be of use to beginners: -
Pepper, black and white.
Carbonate of soda.
Tous les mois.
Prunes and French plums. Norfolk biffens.