Probably you do not know anything about the canning and drying of vegetables, but mother does, and you can help her to the extent of making the necessary racks and trays.
For the cold-pack method of canning, the usual home-made equipment for sterilizing fruits and vegetables is a wash-boiler fitted with a wooden rack on which to stand the filled jars (Figs. 645 and 646). Figure 647 shows a detail of
A Wash-Boiler Rack made of laths. Dimensions for the strips are not given on the diagram because wash-boilers vary in size, and you must make the rack to fit the bottom of the wash-boiler that it is to be used in. Make the rack enough shorter and narrower than the boiler so it will fit loosely in it. Cut strips A of equal length, also strips B. Cross strip A with strips B, spacing them at equal distances apart, not to exceed 2 inches. Nail with nails long enough to go through the over-lapping strips and bend over. Cut side strips C and nail them to strips A at the ends. Then trim off the ends of the strips as indicated, to make the rack fit the round ends of the wash-boiler.
For drying corn and sliced vegetables,
A Rack Suspended Over a Stove (Fig. 648) is much used. The screened tray is easy to make. For a medium-sized gas-range, a tray of the dimensions shown in Fig. 649 is about right for use over a single burner Lap the ends of the side strips over the ends of the end strips. Tack screen wire to the bottom edges of the tray. One screw-hook in
Fig. 645 Figs. 645 and 646. - Wash-Boiler Rack for Cold-Pack Method of Canning
Fig. 647. - Detail of Rack for Wash-Boiler the ceiling directly over the center of the gas-burner is sufficient to support the swinging tray, provided you screw the hook into one of the ceiling joists, and of course you must do that to fasten the hook securely. Screw a pair of screw-eyes into each end of the tray, and attach a chain to each screw-eye long enough to extend to the ceiling hook when the tray is suspended 12 inches or so above the burner.
A Drying-Tray to Stand Upon a Stove must have metal legs. Figure 650 shows a tray with shelf-bracket legs, and Fig. 651 shows how to attach these.
The sun-drying method of preserving vegetables is extensively used. Figure 652 shows
A Sun Dryer, consisting of two screened frames, one inverted over the other (Fig. 654), supported on a rack (Fig. 656). The vegetables to be dried are spread out upon the screen wire of the lower frame, and the upper frame covers them and protects them from flying insects. Crawling insects can be kept away by standing the legs of the dryer-rack in tin cans filled with water (F, Fig. 653).
Fig. 648. - Suspended Tray for Drying Vegetables
Fig. 649. - Detail of Drying-Tray
Make the pair of screened frames, first, then the rack of the right size to accommodate the frames. Figure 655 shows the dimensions of side strips A and end strips B, used for the frames of the author's dryer shown in Fig. 652; and Fig. 657 gives the correct dimensions for legs strips C, and connecting crosspieces D and E of the rack. If you make the frames of different proportions than these, you can figure out the length dimensions for the crosspieces of the rack after the frames have been put together.
Figures 653 and 656 show how the rack members are assembled. Set crosspieces D 4 inches below the tops of
Fig. 651. - How the Shelf-Bracket Legs are Fastened on legs C, so the upper screened frame will come even with the tops of the legs. The frames rest upon crosspieces D, and crosspieces E and the upper ends of legs C hold the frames in place.
Before covering the frames with screen-wire, give them and the rack a coat of green paint. Galvanized screen-wire is better than Japanned wire for covering the frames. Two yards of wire 24 inches wide will be required. Stretch the
Fig. 653. - Cross-Section of Sun Dryer Shown in Fig. 652. Fig. 654. - Screened Frames Fig. 656. - Dryer Rack Fig. 655. - Frame Strips Fig. 657. - Rack Strips wire tight over the frames, and after tacking it in place, cover its edges with the narrow moulding used upon window and door screens. Fasten this moulding with brads.
Instead of screening the upper frame, you can glaze it.
Glass intensifies the sun's heat, and thus speeds up the drying process. But if you do glaze the upper sash, cut openings in the side edges of the frames to permit a free circulation of air over the vegetables.
Besides serving as a dryer, this apparatus can be used in the Fall as
A Rack for Ripening Tomatoes that have been picked green to save them from frost.
Making Racks and Trays to Sell. If you have time and want to earn money, the author suggests that you canvas among gardeners of your community for orders for dryers. If you own a wagon, you can take your dryer with you as a sample; or, if you do not want to bother doing this, you can make a miniature model of a size handy to carry under your arm.
Fig. 652. - Sun Dryer for Vegetables (See Chapter 33 (Racks And Trays For Canning Time)).