This is a most valuable manner of preserving vegetables and fruits. In cities where vegetables, fruits, or berries are bought at high prices, and perhaps not entirely fresh at that, my experience has taught me that it is cheaper to buy the canned fruits than to have them put up in the house. In the country the expense is very little, as the cans may be purchased in quantities very cheap; and, with proper care in cleaning and drying them, they can be used several times.
The manner of canning one kind of fruit or vegetable applies to almost all kinds, except corn. I would not advise any one to attempt canning corn without the correct process direct from Mr. Winslow himself. By mixing corn and tomatoes together no difficulty will be found. Gumbo and tomato mixed are valuable for soup. Canned tomatoes are invaluable in a household. They are very easily managed, and are as desirable for soups and sauces as for a separate vegetable dish. If fruits or vegetables of any kind are quite fresh, and there is not too large a quantity scalded at one time to prevent careful management of each can, not one can in a hundred will be lost. I also advise the canning of sweetmeats of every kind. In that case the same amount of sugar is not required, and the fruit does not have to be boiled until the natural flavor is entirely lost. If glass jars are used instead of cans, they must be put on the fire in cold water with a plate or piece of wood in the bottom of the kettle. They should not be filled until the water is boiling, and then they will not be broken. They should be sealed as soon as possible after they are filled, and when they are cold the covers should again be tightened, as the glass will contract a little after cooling.
Cling-stones are best. Pare, halve, and stone them. Boil the stones or pits until all the flavor is extracted; then, having every thing in readiness, as described in the preceding article, pour off the water from the pits, and when it is at boiling-point, throw into it enough peaches to fill three or four cans; sprinkle over sugar to taste, or about as much as would be sprinkled over fresh peaches for the table. When just scalded, can them, placing round pieces of writing-paper dipped in brandy over the tops of the peaches before putting on the covers.
Pears, plums, and all kinds of fruit and berries are thrown into a little boiling water sweetened to taste, scalded, and canned in the same manner as tomatoes.
Next to tomatoes, the vegetable easiest to can is, perhaps, the string-bean. Remove the tough strings at the sides, and break the bean into two or three pieces. When all ready, throw them into a little boiling water, scald, and then can them.
Okra and Tomatoes are merely mixed and scalded together. Some add pepper and salt, yet these are not necessary in canning. This makes a most delicious soup added to a little stock.
Raspberries are especially easy to can. They are merely thrown into a little boiling water (which is slightly sweetened), scalded, and then canned. They are very wholesome and nice as a sauce for tea.
Greengages should be canned without skinning. They should be well scalded in a little sweetened boiling water before canning.
Since writing the preceding discouraging remark about corn, I have found, in a Supreme Court decision, Mr. Winslow's receipt for canning corn, as follows:
Fill the cans with the uncooked corn (freshly gathered) cut from the cob, and seal them hermetically; surround them with straw to prevent them striking against each other, and put them into a boiler over the fire, with enough cold water to cover them. Heat the water gradually, and when they have boiled an hour and a half, puncture the tops of the cans to allow the escape of gases, then seal them immediately while they are still hot. Continue to boil them for two hours and a half.
In packing the cut corn in the can, the liberated milk and juices surround the kernels, forming a liquid in which they are cooked.
This process, patented by Mr. Winslow, is by far the best one for preserving the natural flavor of green sweet corn.
Lima beans and corn mixed. They should be boiled until they are thoroughly done.
Corn and Tomatoes make a good combination for canning. The corn, however, should be thoroughly cooked, and mixed with the tomatoes, after the latter have been scalded merely.