In order that a food material may do its best work, it is essential that it be as free as possible from all impurities. This is especially true of such as are eaten raw, as green apples and other fresh fruits. Such food should always be sound and mature.
References: Ann. Rep. Minn. Exp. Station 1899, pp. 507, 508.
While undeveloped or impure foods may cause injury, proper selection and preparation of foods will often do more toward relieving aggravated forms of dyspepsia than the most skilled physician is able to accomplish by any other means. The ambition of a good cook is to become so proficient in the art of selecting and preparing foods as to understand which ones, when cooked, will best sub-serve the purposes of the body; and then prepare them in such a way that they will retain all their nutrients, giving the consumer the full benefit of the food he eats. Fruits should never be cooked in a vessel of tin or iron. Both the color and the flavor of the acid fruit thus cooked will be injured. A wooden spoon or a paddle is best for stirring such foods, as wood is not acted on by the acid of the fruit. The color which the fruit gives to both spoon and vessel can be removed by immersing in boiling water before washing in soapsuds. A dust of salt added to almost any fruit while hot emphasizes the flavor. Great care must be exercised that an over amount of neither sugar nor salt be added, for the object is to bring out the flavor of the fruit, without a hint of the presence of anything else. Sugar should be added to the fruit just before removing from the fire, because, if the sugar is heated with the fruit any length of time, it loses much of its sweetening power. Cooking the fruit after the sugar is added tends also to harden the fruit.
Most farmers can raise a sufficient quantity of grapes for family use with little trouble. We might all well echo Mr. Gladstone's advocacy of the extension of fruit culture: "We shamefully neglect the best of all food in using so little fruit." It is possible to have at least cooked fruit during the long winter, when there is a dearth of green vegetables. Fruit is not a luxury, but it is necessary to -the continued good health of our families.
Grapes are easily handled, since they will jelly when not fully ripe, or after they have lain in cold storage for weeks. They are an economical fruit because, after the juice has been strained out, the remaining portion may be put through a sieve and made into butter of very good quality. The skins and seeds are all that are lost, and these would not be digested if eaten.
In most sections of our country, apples can be cheaply grown. Apples not only keep long in good condition, but have a flavor which is not impaired after the fruit has been stored for many months. They can be successfully canned or dried, and thus preserved for all seasons of the year. This fruit is such a universal favorite, and its free use aids so much in keeping the body in good condition, that no farm, however small, if in the apple belt, should be considered complete without its apple orchard. Apples are relished in almost any form. For many persons, nothing is more wholesome, or has a more useful medicinal effect, than an apple taken at the beginning of the morning meal. Such persons as cannot readily masticate and digest raw apples often receive benefit from a scraped apple, or one which has been baked. The flavor of the apple is delicate and easily impaired. To many persons, apple sauce has a finer flavor when eaten while still warm.