Peas And Carrots

A. Class Experiments.

The Effect Of Moist Heat On Starch

1. Mix half a teaspoon of starch with a third of a cup of water. Let it stand. Does the starch settle out? Pour the mixture through a filter paper placed in a funnel. Test the water which passes through for starch. Is starch soluble; that is, does it dissolve in cold water?

2. Examine a few grains of corn starch under a micro-scope. Of wheat starch (flour). Compare them with the microscopic appearance of potato starch.

3. Mix a teaspoon of starch with two-thirds of a cup of water. Heat to 180° F., using a thermometer to determine the temperature. Pour off a part, and heat the remainder to boiling. Taste each. Cool, and examine under a microscope the starch in both stages of cooking.

B. Creamed Peas and Carrots in Toast Boxes.

Wash and scrape a carrot, and boil it in salted water until tender. If the carrot is very large, it may be necessary to cut it up in order to have it cook in a short time, but this is not the ordinary practice. While the carrot is cooking, make a white sauce, using the same proportions as in the last lesson, but mix as follows: cream the butter and flour together, add the hot milk slowly, stirring hard. Add equal amounts of diced carrots and canned peas. Serve in toast boxes. These are made by cutting a cube of the desired size, say three inches, out of the crumb of a stale loaf of bread, hollowing it from one side, and browning it in the oven.

Canned Vegetables

Vegetables are much more difficult to can at home than fruits. This is possibly because of the greater amount of acid present in fruits. Tomatoes, in common parlance called a vegetable although they are really the fruit of the tomato plant, are, like the fruits, easy to can. The difficulty in canning vegetables is caused by the spore-forming bacteria. Intermittent sterilization may be resorted to, and the cans of vegetables boiled for an hour on three successive days; or very long boiling may be tried, perhaps for five hours, on a single day. This really overcooks the vegetable, so that a better product is obtained by heating for a shorter time under pressure, when the temperature is higher than that of boiling water.

In the commercial process the latter method is used. The cans are filled with the vegetables, the caps are soldered on, leaving only a small hole for the escape of steam. The can is then "processed", as it is called, either by cooking it in steam under pressure or in a solution of a substance like calcium chloride or rock salt, which boils at a higher temperature than water alone. This higher outside temperature makes the contents of. the can itself boil. The length of time this process is carried on depends upon the particular vegetable and how long it has stood after picking, before being canned. When perfect sterilization is probably effected, the tiny hole in the can is soldered. Some modern factories leave more than one hole to be soldered, and the old rule that more than one hole means that the cans have started to spoil and been re-sterilized no longer holds. After sealing, the cans are inverted to detect possible leaks. The cans are usually labeled upside down, and the contents of cans of some sorts of material are more easily removed if opened at the bottom.

All canned goods are better for being opened half an hour or so before using and allowed to air. If the can is tin, the contents should be poured out as soon as it is opened, because there is a chance of any acid in them acting on the tin in the presence of air. Such canned goods as peas and beans have a better flavor if drained from the liquid in which they are packed, and washed by having fresh water poured over them. To prevent waste of material, the liquid may be added to soup.

References

Olsen. "Pure Foods."

U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Farmers' Bulletin No. 359. "Canning Vegetables in the Home." Farmers' Bulletin No. 73. Exp. Sta. Work, Vol. IV, p. 3. "Swells in Canned Vegetables."

Questions

1. What should be the price of cans of different kinds of vege-tables ?

2. If one has storeroom for them, is there advantage in buying canned goods in quantity ?

3. How much do the ordinary-sized cans of different vegetables contain ?

4. What differences are there between the different grades of the same canned vegetables ?

5. What is the best use to make of the cheaper grades ?

6. Suggest vegetables which would be good creamed.