A porcelain-lined kettle is the best for preserving. Stir preserves with a wooden spoon. Use white sugar unless brown is specified. The fruit should be fresh. That which is not too ripe is best. Be careful to put in none which is decayed. It should be boiled slowly, otherwise it will not keep its shape. Too long boiling spoils the color, and makes some kinds tough and hard.
A jelly-bag may be made of flannel, but crash is better. It should have large loops of tape sewed at each top corner, through which a large stick or broom-handle can be passed. Rest each end of the stick on the back of a chair and hang the bag between, with a large earthen vessel underneath to catch the juice. Wet the bag in hot water, then wring dry. Have a second person hold the bag open while you pour the fruit in. Do not squeeze the bag, but let the juice drip through during several hours. (This will insure its being clear.) Once in a while the pulp may be gently stirred with a wooden spoon.
Both jellies and preserves should boil without ceasing. Do not cover them when done, till cold, though they should be put at once into glasses or jars. Fill them as full as possible, so as not to leave room for the air. Keep them in a dark cool place, where they will not freeze. If your house is damp, cover with brandied paper.
2 pounds granulated sugar. 1 pint clear cold water.
1 egg (white only).
Put the sugar and water into a porcelain-lined kettle. Set it on the fire. Before the syrup becomes hot, beat the egg slightly and mix thoroughly into it. When it begins to boil, skim it. Do not let it boil over, but let it boil until no more scum rises. The object of the egg is to clarify the syrup. It can be made without.
Any kind of fruit can be preserved in syrup in this way. Weigh the fruit after stoning and paring, and allow one pound of sugar to each pound of fruit. Make of this a syrup as above. Then put in the fruit, and boil slowly till clear. Fill jars two thirds full of fruit; boil the syrup almost to a jelly, and pour hot over the fruit.
Peel and stone plums, peaches, or cherries. Have ready a thick syrup, made by boiling together one pound of sugar to one cup of water. (This is the proportion,) Put in the fruit, and boil very slowly till tender. Do not leave it on the stove after this, it would spoil the shape of the fruit. Set away the preserving-kettle, just as it is, in a cool place. Leave the fruit in the syrup for two days, to absorb it. Take out the pieces then, and drain them. Sprinkle each one thickly with granulated sugar, covering every side. Lay them on clean paper, and set in the air (but not in the sun) to dry. Turn them often.
Pack in pasteboard boxes, with paper laid between the layers. Keep in a cool place.
Candied fruit is easily made, and is useful in a house subject to the sudden arrival of company, as a variety of pretty desserts can quickly be made with it.