In preserving, canning, jelly, and jam-making iron or tin utensils should never be used, as the fruit acids act on these metals and poisonous compounds may be formed, while they also give a bad colour and metallic taste to the products. Brass and copper pans are very popular, as fruits are found to retain their colour so much better, while porcelain-lined, enamelled. earthen or granite ware utensils are also satisfactory.
The pan should be broad rather than deep, as the colour will be found to be much better when not cooked in deep layers.
Among the utensils that are necessary are: Scales, measuring-cups, enamel bowls, colander, wire sieve, wooden spoons, wooden masher, knives for paring fruit (plate if possible), flat-bottomed boiler or big saucepan with tight-fitting lid, butter muslin or cheese cloth, and jelly bags of felt or loosely woven flannel.
A wire basket, such as is used for deep frying, will be found useful. The fruit to be peeled is put into the basket, which is lowered into boiling water, and a few minutes after the basket is lifted from the boiling water and plunged for a moment or two into cold water. The skin is then removed. Peaches, plums, and tomatoes can be treated this way, also young carrots, when the skin will be found to come off easily.
Another method of peeling peaches, viz., by means of a caustic soda solution, is described further on.
A fruit pricker will also be found a great convenience, and can be improvised as follows: - Cut a piece half an inch thick from a broad cork, then press through this a dozen or more coarse darning needles, and tack it on a piece of board. Strike the fruit on the bed of needles, and you have a dozen holes at a time. When finished, remove the cork from the board, wash and dry thoroughly. By rubbing a little oil on the needles they will be prevented from rusting. It need hardly be mentioned that care should be taken not to break the points of the needles, which might prove dangerous if they remained in the fruit, although with needles of this size there is not much danger in this respect.
A steam cooker as shown in Fig 5 will be found most useful in canning vegetables and fruit; also a "Blue-flame Perfection or Oil Stove," as a uniform intense heat can be maintained all the time, and thus the colour and flavour will be greatly improved.
Fig. 5. - Steam Cooker.