The presence of copper, often used to deepen the green tint of imported canned peas, beans, spinach, etc., may be detected as follows:

Mash some of the sample in a dish with a stiff kitchen spoon. Place a teaspoonful of the pulp in a teacup with 3 teaspoonfuls of water and add 30 drops of strong hydrochloric acid with a medicine dropper. Set the cup on the stove in a saucepan containing boiling water. Drop a bright iron brad or nail (wire nails are the best and tin carpet tacks will not answer the purpose) into the cup and keep the water in the saucepan boiling for 20 minutes, stirring the contents of the cup frequently with a splinter of wood. Pour out the contents of the cup and examine the nail. If present in an appreciable amount the nail will be heavily plated with copper.


Be careful not to allow the hydrochloric acid to come in contact with metals or with the flesh or clothing.