This section is from the book "Manual Of Household Work And Management", by Annie Butterworth. Also available from Amazon: Manual Of Household Work And Management.
If the storeroom be dry this should be bought in large quantities, and should be kept in an air-tight bin or box, as it readily absorbs moisture which causes mustiness. If the floor be of stone the bin should stand on wooden rests. Good household flour is advisable; fine flour, though suitable for pastry and superior cakes, does not contain so much nourishment ; the former costs about 2/- per score (20 lbs.).
This should not be bought in large quantities, as it quickly becomes sour and stale. An air-tight jar is the best receptacle.
These should be kept in covered earthenware jars, labelled with their respective contents. It is not wise to buy large quantities, as insects are apt to intrude.
Split peas, lentils, and haricot beans should only be bought in small quantities, as weevils are sometimes found in them. Egyptian lentils are orange-coloured. German lentils are a brownish green.
COFFEE.. Ground coffee or coffee-berries should not be bought in large quantities, because the flavour is very volatile. The best coffee is made by roasting and grinding daily, and by doing this the adulteration of chicory is avoided. Chicory is considered by some people to be an improvement; it is only
1/2d. an oz.; it is wiser to add it one's self. The best ground coffee is usually 1/8 per lb.; it should be kept in an air-tight tin.
Every kind of sugar should be kept in closely covered tins or jars, preferably the latter. Loaf sugar should be white, heavy, and sparkling : beet sugar has a yellower tinge, and is dull in appearance. The best sugar is in reality the cheapest, as the inferior does not so readily sweeten; the best is 2/3 per dozen lbs.
Demerara is economical for sweetening coffee and cooked fruit. A good quality costs 2/3 per dozen lbs.
Moist brown sugars should not be too powdery or sand-like, but should have a crystalline appearance. They may be bought from 1 1/4d. per lb. As these sugars are apt to be infested with an insect called the sugar mite, large quantities should not be purchased.
TEA, In nothing else is there so much variety of taste; a flavour appreciated by one person may be considered nauseous by another. Good tea may be bought from 1/4, while that at 2/6 per lb. is good enough for any occasion. It should be kept in an air-tight caddy, and in a cool place, as heat has a tendency to drive off the aroma.
CANDLES should be bought in large quantities in order that they may harden before being taken into use. Should white wax ones become discoloured, they may be restored by being wiped with a cloth dipped in spirit of wine.
This should be kept in a dry place, as otherwise it becomes soft; the tin should be covered to keep out dust.
This, too, should be carefully covered, as otherwise it forms a white powder; if damp, it coagulates into one large block.