The subject of bacteria in foods has of late become a matter of careful scientific study, and the fact has been established that milk is one of the most subtle of disease-carriers. Hence every careful mother, before giving it to her children, subjects it to the sterilizing process, which is simply raising it to the degree of heat which destroys the germs. It is found, however, that this does not kill the spores or seeds of the bacilli, and so the operation is but a partially successful expedient. (To render it really sterile requires heating several times on successive days.) It has also been found that sterilizing milk robs it of its antiscorbutic qualities, and that children fed entirely upon it are subject to bleeding gums and other symptoms of scurvy. Milk should be fresh as possible, as the longer it stands the greater will be the number of bacteria, and less rich the milk in the substances on which they feed. The first point to emphasize in the simple process of sterilization is perfect cleanliness. Rounded bottles should be used, as they are easier to clean. They should be well rinsed as soon as emptied, and left to soak in soda and water, and before use they should be subjected to a good scrubbing with scalding water and a piece of cloth tied onto a stick or wire. The brushes made for cleaning bottles should be avoided, as they are more than likely to be full of germs themselves. Turn the fresh milk into the bottles as soon as cleaned. Fill them to within an inch of the top, and stop them with antiseptic cotton. The sterilizing is effected by keeping the bottles in boiling water or in live steam for at least half an hour. The water in the boiler should be cold at first, and the heat raised gradually. This, as well as not letting the bottles rest on the bottom of the kettle, will prevent their breaking. Sterilizers are made which are both cheap and convenient, but any kettle well covered will answer the purpose. The time for cooking should be counted from the moment the water boils. Let the bottles remain in the water until cooled, and do not remove the stopper until the milk is to be used.
(Receipt Obtained In England).
Put a panful of milk in a cold place for twenty-four hours, or in summer for twelve hours. Then place it on the fire, and let it come very slowly to the scalding-point, but do not let it boil. Put it again in a cool place for six or twelve hours, and then take off the cream, which will be firm and of a peculiarly sweet flavor.
Put the fresh milk on the fire, and let it very slowly come to the scalding-point, but do not let it boil. Leave it on the fire for about half an hour, then remove to a cold place, and let it stand for six hours, or until the cream has all risen.
Devonshire cream is thick and clotted, and is used on fruits, mush, etc. It will keep for some time, and is particularly delicious.
The French use for table butter that which is freshly made and without salt. One soon learns to prefer it to the best salted butter. It is very easy to make fresh butter, but not always easy to buy it, for it keeps only a day at its best, and therefore the surest way of having it good is to make it. Take a half pint of double cream; turn it into a bowl, and with a wire whip beat it until the butter forms. This will take but a few minutes, if the cream is of the right temperature (65°). (If very cold, it will whip to froth as it is prepared for whipped cream.) Turn off the milk; add some ice water, and work the butter until it is firm and free from milk; then press it into pats, and keep it in a tight jar on the ice until ready to use.
This amount of cream, which costs ten cents, will, if rich, give a quarter of a pound of butter. Put some fresh grass or some clover blossoms in the jar with the butter, and it will absorb their flavor. (See illustration facing page 256).
Save every scrap of fat each day; try out all that has accumulated, however small the quantity. This is done by placing the scraps in a frying-pan on the back of the range. If the heat is low, and the grease is not allowed to get hot enough to smoke or burn, there will be no odor from it. Turn the melted grease into lard-pails and keep them covered. When six pounds of fat have been obtained, turn it into a dish-pan; add a generous amount of hot water, and stand it on the range until the grease is entirely melted. Stir it well together; then stand it aside to cool. This is clarifying the grease. The clean grease will rise to the top, and when it has cooled can be taken off in a cake, and such impurities as have not settled in the water, can be scraped off the bottom of the cake of fat.
Put the clean grease into the dish-pan and melt it. Put a can of Babbitt's lye in a lard-pail; add to it a quart of cold water, and stir it with a stick or wooden spoon until it is dissolved. It will get hot when the water is added; let it stand until it cools. Remove the melted grease from the fire, and pour in the lye slowly, stirring all the time. Add two tablespoonfuls of ammonia. Stir the mixture constantly for twenty minutes or half an hour, or until the soap begins to set.
Let it stand until perfectly hard; then cut it into square cakes. This makes a very good, white hard soap which will float on water. It is very little trouble to make, and will be found quite an economy in a household. Six pounds of grease make eight and a half pounds of soap.
4 ounces of beeswax. 1 quart of turpentine.
Piece of resin size of hickory nut.
Cut up the beeswax and pound the resin. Melt them together. Take them from the fire and stir in a quart of turpentine. Rub very little on the floor with a piece of flannel; then polish with a dry flannel and a brush.