I clip from a family paper an item linking ancient and modern housewifery:
"It is a singular fact that we are indebted to Pompeii for the great industry of canned fruits. Years ago, when the excavations were just beginning, a party of Americans found, in what had been the pantry of a house, many jars of preserved figs. One was opened, and its contents were fresh and good. Investigation showed that the figs had been put into the jar in a heated state; an aperture had been left for the steam to escape and then sealed with wax. The hint was taken, and the next year fruit-canning was introduced in the United States."
There is no reason why canned fruits which have kept one year should not keep for a hundred years in a dark place. The light acts chemically upon the contents. If not properly canned they will spoil within a few weeks. Hence, no preliminary which will make this, the heaviest work of the summer, thorough, yet as easy as possible, should be neglected.
Granite or porcelain lined kettles, with bales and lips for convenience in pouring, and which are free from all blemish or break in the glazing, are almost essential for this work. They should be broad, that considerable surface may be exposed to the heat, and deep enough to prevent boiling over.
A small, sharp-pointed knife for paring; also, an old silver-plated knife ground to a fine edge, will be found convenient for articles which a steel knife might discolor.
Wooden spoons, a wire spoon, large and small silver spoons, scales, a hair sieve, an agate-iron colander, a wooden masher, a fruit press, coarse and fine cheese-cloth, and fine cotton and wool flannel, are almost essential to the sort of work I have indicated.
Quart and pint glass jars, with large tops, are the best for general use. See that the glass covers are free from nicks, the spring, or clamp, in perfect order, and that the rubbers are new and free from cracks. A few jars of the two-quart size will not be amiss if you plan to can large fruit whole.
Use the best granulated sugar, and "agate-nickel-steel" or porcelain-lined ware as kettles.
Peel and quarter firm apples, throwing them into cold water as you do so. Weigh the fruit and allow two pounds of granulated sugar to eight pounds of apples. Put the apples into a preserving-kettle, pour over them barely enough cold water to cover them, and let them cook gently until tender. While these are cooking, make a syrup by mixing the sugar with water (allowing a cupful of water to each pound of sugar) and bringing to a boil. Cook for four minutes, then lift the tender apples from the water, lay them gently in the syrup, simmer for a minute, and while very hot, put into self-sealing jars. These apples make excellent pies.
Core campfield, or "pound sweets," or other sweet apples, dropping them in water as you do this. When all are ready, pack in heated glass cans. Have at hand a syrup made by mixing a cupful of sugar with a cupful of water, allowing this quantity to every two-quart can. Boil hard fifteen minutes, adding the juice of half a lemon for every two cups of sugar. Roll the cans in hot water before putting in the apples fill at once with the boiling syrup, and set in a bake-pan of hot water, then in a good oven. When the syrup is again at the boiling point, seal immediately.