1.   The firm grapes usually keep best — as Catawba, Vergennes, Niagara, Diana, Jefferson, etc. Thickness of skin does not appear to be correlated with good keeping qualities. Always cut the bunches which are to be stored on a dry day, when the berries are ripe, and carefully remove all soft, bruised, and imperfect fruits and all leaves. Keep the fruit dry, cool, and away from currents of air. Many varieties keep well if simply placed in shallow boxes or baskets and kept undisturbed in a cool, rather moist place.

2.  Pack the bunches in layers of dry, clean sand.

3.  Pack in layers of some small grain, as wheat, or oats, or barley.

4.  Cork-dust is also excellent for use in packing grapes. This cork can be had from grocers who handle the white Malagas, which are packed in this material.

5.  Pack the bunches in finely cut, soft, and dry hay, placing the grapes and hay in consecutive layers.

6.  Dry hardwood sawdust is also good for packing.

7.  Place on shelves in a cool, airy room. After a few days wrap the bunches separately in soft paper, and pack in shallow pasteboard boxes, not more than two or three layers deep. Keep in a cool, dry room that is free from frost.

8.  Cut the bunches with sharp scissors, place in shallow baskets, but few in a basket, and after reaching the house dip the cut end of stems in melted wax. Now take tissue paper or very thin manila paper cut just to the right size, and carefully wrap each cluster of grapes. Secure shallow tin boxes; place a layer of cotton-batting at the bottom, then a layer of grapes, then batting; three layers of grapes are enough for one box, alternating with cotton-batting, and topping with batting; then gently secure the lid to each box, and when done place in cold storage for use in April, or even later. If cold storage cannot be had, put in a dry, cool room, and when cold weather approaches, cover in an interior closet with just sufficient covering to prevent freezing; warmth will cause over-ripening and deterioration.

9.  Roe's method. — In a stone jar place alternate layers of grapes and straw paper, the paper being in double thickness. Over the jar place a cloth, and bury below frost in a dry soil. The grapes will keep until New Year's.

Keeping grapes for market (W. M. Pattison, Quebec).

It is the generally received opinion that the thick-skinned native seedlings are the only keepers. This is correct as regards preserving flavor, but several hybrids of foreign blood are the best keepers known. Before giving results of this and former trials, instructions in packing may be of service. The varieties intended to be laid up for winter use should be those alone which adhere well to the stem and are not inclined to shrivel. These should be allowed to remain on the vines as long as they are safe from frost. A clear, dry day is necessary for picking, and careful handling and shallow baskets are important. The room selected for the drying process should be well ventilated, and the fruit laid out in single layers on tables or in baskets where the air circulates freely, the windows being closed at night and in damp weather. In about ten days the stems will be dried out sufficiently to prevent molding when laid away. When danger from this is over, and the stems resemble those of raisins, the time for packing has arrived. In this, the point to be observed is to exclude air proportionately with their tendency to mold. I have used baskets for permanent packing, but much prefer shallow trays or boxes of uniform size to be packed on each other, so that each box forms a cover for the lower, the uppermost only needing one. Until very cold weather, the boxes can be piled so as to allow the remaining moisture to escape through a crevice about the width of a knife-blade. Before packing, each bunch should be examined, and all injured, cracked, and rotten berries removed with suitable scissors. If two layers are packed in a box, a sheet of paper should intervene. The boxes must be kept in a cool, dry room or passage, at an even temperature. If the thermometer goes much below freezing-point, a blanket or newspaper can be thrown over them, to be removed in mild weather. Looking over them once in the winter and removing defective berries will suffice, the poorest keepers being placed accessibly. Under this treatment the best keepers will be in good edible order as late as February, after which they deteriorate.

The following is a list of grapes worth noticing, that have been tested for keeping: —

Methods of Keeping and Storing Grapes 97

Onions demand a dry cellar, and the bulbs should be thoroughly dried in the sun before they are stored. All tops should be cut away when the onions are harvested. If a cellar cannot be had, the bulbs may be allowed to freeze, but great care must be exercised or the whole crop will be lost. The onions must not be subjected to extremes of temperature, and they should not thaw out during the winter. They can be stored on the north side of a loft, being covered with two or three feet of straw, hay, or chaff to preserve an equable temperature. They must not be handled while frozen, and they must thaw out very gradually in the spring. This method of keeping onions is reliable only when the weather is cold and tolerably uniform, and it is little employed.