Fruits are too often looked upon merely as table luxuries, and because of their rather low nutritive value are not always estimated at their true worth. Fruit, both fresh and cooked, has great dietetic value and should be used generously but wisely. Fruits supply a variety of flavors, acids, and sugar, while they are generally rich in potash and sodium salts as well as other minerals; the vegetable acids have a solvent power over the nutriments, and if taken in moderation are an aid to digestion, as the necessary bulk and waste matter promote intestinal action. Fruit and fruit juices keep the blood in a healthy condition, and if the supply of fresh meat, fish, and vegetables is limited, fruit and fruit juices are needed to balance the food allowance.
Fresh fruit is generally conceded to be more refreshing and cooling than that which is cooked, but if used too freely is apt to cause intestinal disturbances, especially with children and old people. Cooking changes the character of the fruit, and the addition of sugar increases its food value, but it is well to remember that too much sugar diminishes the fruit flavor and hinders digestion.
The methods of preserving fruit are many, and range from the simple and wholesome canned fruit to all manner of jams, jellies, marmalades, and the rich conserves, spiced fruit, condiments, and sweet pickles. The thrifty housewife will make her selection according to the needs and means of her family, but every home maker should aim to have a variety of neatly labeled jars and glasses of fruit on her pantry shelves before winter, when the daily menus threaten to become monotonous.