Housekeepers who dislike the tedious, old-time fashion of clarifying sugar and boiling the fruit, will appreciate the following two recipes, no fire being needed in their preparation. The first is for "tutti frutti," and has been repeatedly tested with unvarying success.
Put one quart of white, preserving, fine Batavia brandy into a two-gallon stone jar that has a tightly fitting top. Then for every pound of fruit, in prime condition and perfectly dry, which you put in the brandy, use three-quarters of a pound of granulated sugar; stir every day so that the sugar will be dissolved, using a clean, wooden spoon kept for the purpose. Every sort of fruit may be used, beginning with strawberries and ending with plums. Be sure and have at least one pound of black cherries, as they make the color of the preserve very rich. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apricots, cherries (sweet and sour), peaches, plums, are all used, and, if you like, currants and grapes. Plums and grapes should be peeled and seeded, apricots and peaches peeled and cut in quarters or eighths or dice; cherries also must be seeded; quinces may be steamed until tender. The jar must be kept in a cool, dry place, and the daily stirring must never be forgotten, for that is the secret of success. You may use as much of one sort of fruit as you like, and it may be put in from day to day, just as you happen to have it. Half the quantity of spirits may be used. The preserve will be ready for use within a week after the last fruit is put in, and will keep for a number of months. We have found it good eight months after making.
The second is as follows: Take some pure white vinegar and mix with it granulated sugar until a syrup is formed quite free from acidity. Pour this syrup into earthen jars and put in it good, perfectly ripe fruit, gathered in dry weather. Cover the jars tight and put them in a dry place. The contents will keep for six or eight months, and the flavor of the fruit will be excellent.
Cherries, strawberries, sliced pineapple, plums, apricots, gooseberries, etc., may be preserved in the following manner - to be used the same as fresh fruit.
Gather the fruit before it is very ripe; put it in wide-mouthed bottles made for the purpose; fill them as full as they will hold and cork them tight; seal the corks; put some hay in a large saucepan, set in the bottles, with hay between them to prevent their touching; then fill the saucepan with water to the necks of the bottles, and set it over the fire until the water is nearly boiled, then take it off; let it stand until the bottles are cold. Keep them in a cool place until wanted, when the fruit will be found equal to fresh.
A new method of preserving fruit is practiced in England. Pears, apples and other fruits are reduced to a paste by jamming, which is then pressed into cakes and gently dried. When required for use it is only necesary to pour four times their weight of boiling water over them and allow them to soak for twenty minutes and then add sugar -to suit the taste. The fine flavor of the fruit is said to be retained to perfection. The cost of the prepared product is scarcely greater than that of the original fruit, differing with the supply and price of the latter; the keeping qualities are excellent, so that it may be had at any time of the year and bears long sea-voyages with out detriment. No peeling or coring is required, so there is no waste.
It is stated that experiments have been made in keeping fruit in jars covered only with cotton batting, and at the end of two years the fruit was sound. The following directions are given for the process: Use crocks, stone butter-jars or any other convenient dishes. Prepare and cook the fruit precisely as for canning in glass jars; fill your dishes with fruit while hot and immediately cover with cotton batting, securely tied on. Remember that all putrefaction is caused by the invisible creatures in the air. Cooking the fruit expels all these, and they cannot pass through the cotton batting. The fruit thus protected will keep an indefinite period. It will be remembered that Tyndall has proved that the atmospheric germs cannot pass through a layer of cotton.