This section is from the book "Experimental Cookery From The Chemical And Physical Standpoint", by Belle Lowe. Also available from Amazon: Experimental cookery.
A. Use 300 grams of carrots cut into cubes of the same size. Mix well and use 100 grams in each experiment. Use distilled water.
1. Cook until tender in a steamer. Save the water. Partially evaporate the water in the cooking utensil. When it is sufficiently concentrated put into a weighed evaporating dish. Rinse the cooking vessel with a small quantity of distilled water and add to the evaporating dish. Evaporate to dryness. Weigh the residue and determine the percentage of loss in the cooking water.
2. Cook in sufficiently boiling water to barely cover. Measure the quantity of water used. Watch carefully. If the water evaporates before the vegetable is tender add boiling water. Remove the carrots from the cooking vessel when they are tender and rinse the cooking vessel with a small amount of distilled water. Put the water in a weighed evaporating dish. Evaporate to dryness and weigh the residue.
3. Cook in 3 times the amount of boiling water used in A2, so that a rather large amount of water is left when the carrots are done. Evaporate the water according to directions under A1.
B. Use 3 medium-sized potatoes for each experiment. The potatoes should be nearly the same size. Use distilled water.
1. Cook with skins on. Evaporate the cooking water after the potatoes are removed until only a small quantity is left. Put in a weighed evaporating dish, evaporate to dryness, and weigh the residue.
2. Peel the potatoes. Cook until tender. Proceed as in B1. In which case did the greatest loss occur with the carrots? With the potatoes?
Weight of residue
By what methods are the losses in cooking vegetables the greatest? How can the losses be reduced to a minimum? What do you think of the advisability of throwing away the juices from canned vegetables? The water in which vegetables are cooked?
Results and conclusions.
To determine the best method of cooking dried vegetables.
Use 50 grams of dried beans for each experiment. Keep a record of the time required for cooking, the weight after soaking and after cooking. Start the soaked beans to cook in 1 cup of boiling water and the unsoaked beans in 1 pint. If the beans become dry before they are cooked add boiling water of the same kind used in that particular experiment. Cook all the beans in covered pans. Test the beans with the sharp point of a knife or fork. Compare with your neighbors' results, to try to have all cooked to the same stage of doneness. If you have water softener, to soften hard water, repeat the experiments that call for tap water to compare with the results for hard water and distilled water.
1. Wash the beans and soak over night in tap water. Discard the water in which the beans were soaked. Weigh the beans. Add fresh tap water and cook until tender. Drain and weigh.
2. Soak over night in tap water to which 1/8 teaspoon of soda is added. Discard the soaking water and proceed as in 1.
3. Soak the beans over night in distilled water. Discard the soaking water and weigh the beans. Add fresh distilled water and cook until tender. Drain and weigh the beans.
4. Soak over night in distilled water to which 1/8 teaspoon of soda is added. Discard the soaking water and weigh the beans. Proceed as in 3.
5. Cook in tap water without soaking. Weigh.
6. Cook in tap water to which 1/8 teaspoon of soda is added. Cook for 10 minutes, then discard the water and add fresh water. Cook until tender. Weigh.
7. Cook in distilled water until tender. Weigh.
8. Cook in tap water to which 1/4 teaspoon salt per 50 grams of beans has been added. Weigh.
9. Cook in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes at 20 pounds pressure.
10. Cook in distilled water to which 1 tablespoon of vinegar is added.
11. Pour boiling water on the beans. Let stand. Weigh beans every hour to compare the length of time required for soaking in warm and cold water.
Weight of beans after soaking grams
Weight after cooking grams
Time to cook
Results and conclusions.
Compare the time required for cooking by the different methods. In which is the best product obtained? Do any of the beans tend to lose their shape? Which beans cook in the shortest time? What is the effect of soaking on the color and flavor of the beans? On the time required for cooking?
To determine the effect upon the texture of fruit of cooking in a sugar sirup. A. Cooking in a sirup and adding the sugar after cooking.
1. To 1 cup of water add a cup of sugar. Bring to a boil. Pare and core 6 apples. Do not cut in pieces. Cook in the sirup. The sirup should be in a rather small pan so that the apples are covered by the boiling sirup. Cook until the apples are translucent in appearance. It may be necessary to cook only a portion of the apples at a time.
2. Peel and core 6 apples. Cut into quarters or eighths. For each 11/2 pounds of peeled apples add 1 cup of water and cook until soft. When soft add 7/8 cup of sugar for each 11/2 pounds of pared apples. Compare with the consistency of the apples cooked under 1.
B. To determine the effect of length of time of cooking upon the flavor and the proportion of sugar to fruit upon the texture of the fruit in strawberry preserves.
1. Wash and stem strawberries. For each pound of fruit (approximately 1 quart) add 1 pound of sugar and let stand in the refrigerator over night. When ready to cook place in a rather large sauce pan for the quantity of berries, so that they can boil rapidly without danger of boiling over the top of the pan. Heat slowly and shake the pan occasionally. When the temperature reaches 65° to 70°C. (150°F.) remove the pan from the heat and keep warm for about 5 minutes. Roll the berries occasionally in the sirup. Put over the heat and bring to a boil quickly. Cook until the temperature of the sirup registers 103°C. Let stand until the bubbles cease to form. Pour in sterilized containers. If the berries float to the top of the can repeat the experiment, increasing the time the fruit is held in the sirup at a temperature of 65°C. Let stand a few days before making comparisons with other preserves. Keep a record of the time required for cooking.
2. Repeat 1, but for each pound of fruit add 11/2 pounds of sugar.
3. Repeat 1, but for each pound of fruit add 2 pounds of sugar.
4. To 1 pound of berries add 1 pound of sugar. Let stand over night in refrigerator. Bring to boil and boil 5 minutes. Add another pound of sugar and bring to boil. Boil 5 minutes, partially cool, can, and seal.
5. Repeat 4 but pour berries into a large platter and let stand until sirup is the consistency desired. Seal in sterilized jar.
6. Repeat 4, but put berries in a sieve after stemming and pour boiling water over them. Put in kettle, add sugar, and proceed as under 4.
7. Make a sirup of 1 pound of sugar and 1 cup of water. When it is boiling add 1 pound of berries. Cook until the temperature of the sirup registers 103°C. Store according to directions under 1.
C. To determine the effect of time of adding sugar in making preserves upon the texture of a firm fruit like Keifer pears.
1. Pare and core Keifer pears. Cut into quarters or eighths. To each pound of fruit add a pound of sugar and a cup of water. Cook until the sirup is the concentration desired.
2. Repeat 1, but first cook the pears until tender in water. Then add a pound of sugar for each pound of fruit and cook to the same concentration as under 1.
Compare the consistency, texture, and flavor of the apples cooked in sirup with those cooked in water and then sweetened. Which is preferable for an apple that is to be served whole? For a puree? Would putting the cooked apples through a sieve aid in obtaining a uniform texture for apple sauce? Are the apples used for the experiment a sweet or a sour variety?
What is the concentration of sugar in a sirup that boils at 103°C.? See Table 10 under sugar cookery. It is desirable for some preserves to have a greater concentration of sugar in the finished preserves. If 65 per cent of sugar is desired, to what temperature should the sirup be cooked? If a 70 per cent concentration is desired? What is the effect of longer cooking upon the flavor of strawberry preserves? Is it preferable to add the sugar directly to the berries or to make a sirup first? Why?
Compare with the preserves from B in flavor, color, texture, and yield.
In a fruit like Keifer pears, which contain considerable cellulose, what is the best method of making preserves? What is the effect upon the texture of adding the sugar directly to the fruit? Would you cook dried fruit in a sirup? Why?