Select only good, firm stalks, and reject those that are withered. Lay them in cold water for an hour, and cut into half-inch pieces. Put them over the fire in a porcelain-lined saucepan and strew each layer plentifully with sugar. Pour in enough water to cover all, and bring very slowly to a boil. Let the rhubarb stew gently until it is very tender, then remove from the fire. When cold, serve with plain cake.
For every cupful of raw rhubarb cut into inch lengths add a third as much of raisins seeded and cut in half. Cook until soft, as directed in last recipe.
Stone a quarter of a pound of dates, cover with hot water, and cook five minutes. Add three cupfuls of raw rhubarb, cut into inch lengths, and cook, closely covered, until the rhubarb is tender. Sweeten to taste and set aside to cool in a covered bowl, after which set on ice until needed.
Soak a quarter-pound of figs in warm water for two hours. Cut into small pieces and cook as previously directed with three cups of raw rhubarb, cut into inch lengths, until the rhubarb is tender. Eat cold.
This dish is cooling to the blood, gently laxative and pleasing to the taste.
Remove the tops and stems from one quart of gooseberries, wash and drain. Put them into a saucepan with barely enough boiling water to cover them. Let them stew until tender. Dissolve one cupful of sugar in one-half cupful of water and boil to a syrup, then mix it with the fruit and set away to cool.
Agate-nickel-steel ware is altogether the best in the market for stewing acid fruits. They should never be cooked in tin or in iron, and unless copper has just been cleaned with vinegar to remove all suspicion of verdigris, the use of it is dangerous. I can not say too much of the ware I have named. It is easily kept clean, durable and safe.
Utilize in this way early windfalls and unripe summer apples, proverbially dear to the heart of the small boy and harmful to his digestive organs.
Pare and slice thin with a silver knife or with a fruit-knife of Swedish bronze. The crude acid forms an instant and unpleasant combination with steel. As you slice, drop into cold water to keep the color. Cook in an agate-nickel-steel saucepan, with just enough boiling water to keep the apples from burning to the bottom. Fit on a close lid and do not open the pan for half an hour, lest the steam escape. Shake up, and sidewise, every ten minutes to insure uniform steaming. When the half-hour is up open the saucepan, and if the apples are soft rub quickly through a colander of the same ware with the saucepan. Beat in sugar to taste, also a lump of butter - about a tablespoonful to a quart of the stewed fruit; turn into a covered bowl and serve hot. Pass thin graham bread and butter with it.
It is wholesome, anti-bilious and palatable.