This is the first article in June of the School for Housewives 1907 series published on June 2, 1907, and is the second of two talk on the art of canning fruits and vegetables.
Transcribed from the Sunday edition of the Boston Sunday Post.
The Art of Canning Vegetables
USE glass jars always. Apart from the danger that the acid of the vegetables will make a poisonous combination with the metal can, the amateur who undertakes to solder the top to make it air-tight is likely to do the work unskillfully. Moreover, should the fruit ferment, the housewife cannot detect the beginning of the mischief, and check it by cooking the contents of the can a second time.
You cannot be too careful in preparing jars, tops and rubbers to do their part in the delicate process. It is never safe to use last year’s rubber bands for this season’s canning. They are cheap, but were they three times as expensive, the loss of two cans of fruit would be more than the price you would pay for the assurance that makes success doubly sure.
Sterilize jars, tops and bands by laying the first two in boiling water and not taking them out until you wish to fill the jars and clamp down the covers. Dip the rings into the boiling water just before they are fitted into place. Neglect of preliminary sterilizing ruins many a fine batch of “canned goods.”
To Can Tomatoes.
Select ripe tomatoes. The hard, whitish-green portions interfere with the good looks and the general integrity of the rest of the tomatoes. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes; cover the pan in which they are, to keep in the heat, and leave thus for five or, six minutes. Then strip off the skins and cut out defective or unripe parts.
When all are ready, set over a quick fire. Long and slow boiling injures color and flavor. Cover the kettle, that the boil may begin sooner than if the air were freely admitted. Boil for one minute, lift the kettle from the fire and rub the tomatoes through sterilized colander into a scalded bowl. This done, return to the kettle, and cook fast for ten minutes after the boil begins again.
The cans should be put now into fresh boiling water, and the pan containing them set on a table or chair near enough to the range to enable you to transfer the contents of the kettle directly to the cans, and while the pot is still bubbling. Dip out each ladleful from the kettle, and pour into the can which has been emptied that instant by an assistant. The jar must be filled to overflowing, the rubber being already in place. The cover is clapped on without the delay of a second and screwed down tightly. Now wash and wipe the jar, and set where the light will not strike it. When perfectly cold, wrapping paper and set away in a cool place.
Light is a serious disadvantage to canned fruits and vegetables. The forgoing directions apply to all kinds of canning, so far as the sterilization of the jars and rubbers, the actual boiling point at which the kettle must stand while the contents are transferred to the jars, the rapidity with which this is done, the scaling, cooling and the wrapping of the filled jars are concerned.
To Can Tomatoes Whole.
Scald and strip as directed in last recipe. As you peel the tomatoes, lay them in a colander to drain off superfluous juice. Have ready a kettle of really boiling water. When the tomatoes are all skinned, put them into the boiling water and leave them eight minutes, or until the boil begins again. Take out a few at a time—just enough to fill one jar; fill this up with boiling water from the kettle, seal, set aside and go on with the second jar. Proceed thus until all the tomatoes are used up.
Select the finest and firmest tomatoes for this purpose. Break them as little as possible, dipping them out with a wooden spoon.
To Can Tomatoes for Stuffing.
Peel and stew tomatoes of ordinary size, and strain through double cheese-cloth without pressing. Set the liquor aside to be used as I shall presently indicate.
Choose large, smooth tomatoes of uniform size. Do not take off the skins, but with as small,, keen-bladed knife extract the cores neatly. Arrange them in large baking pans; cover them entirely with cold water; cover the pans and leave them in the oven until the water begins to boil. Meanwhile, bring the reserved juice of the stewed tomatoes to a fast boil, and have the saucepan containing it close at hand and still boiling. Put the whole tomatoes with care into large-mouthed quart jars, fill these to overflowing with the hot juice and seal at once.
Tomatoes thus prepared may be stuffed and baked in the winter, and can hardly be distinguished from fresh.
One housewife assures me that she has used them as salad, filling them with celery or with shrimps and disposing upon lettuce leaves, then covering with mayonnaise dressing, and that they are almost equal to raw fruit. I do not vouch for the truth of her story. Tastes differ as to degrees of excellence. I do know that my stuffed tomatoes—warmed to the heart—are good.
To Can Asparagus.
Put the stalks to within two inches of the tips. There rest of the stem is wood. It will not be eaten, and takes up room in the jar that might be occupied to more advantage. Lay the asparagus, thus abbreviated, evenly and close together in a boiler and cover with cold water slightly salted. Put the cover on the boiler and set over the fire. Bring to a slow boil, and keep it up ten minutes, never letting the bubble become violent. Remove the asparagus gently with a wooden ladle; put into the jars, the tops in orderly array, uppermost; fill with boiling salt water and seal.
To Can Spinach.
Pick over the spinach when you have washed it and strip the leaves from the main stems without bruising them. Cover with cold water and leave this to freshen and crisp them. In an hour’s time transfer the leaves, dripping wet, to a granite or porcelain pot, adding no water except that which drips from the spinach. Set this pot or jar in a larger vessel of cold water. Cover the inner vessel closely to keep in the steam and set both over the fire. When the water in the outer pot begins to boil, open the inner and stir the contents gently with your wooden ladle to make sure that they are heated to the center. Cover again and let the boil go on for half an hour more. There should be enough liquid from the succulent leaves to cover the spinach when packed into the jars. Seal immediately.
To Can Beets.
Small beets are the best for canning. Wash as for present use, and leave an inch of stalk at top to prevent bleeding. Boil in slightly salted water; peel as for the table. Have ready in a neighboring saucepan enough cider vinegar to cover the beets. You must use your own judgment as to quantity. To each quart of vinegar add two tablespoonfuls of sugar, a teaspoonful of strained onion juice and a teaspoonful each of pepper and salt. Bring the vinegar to the boil. Pack the beets while hot into heated cans can cover with the vinegar from the boiling saucepan.
To Can String Beans.
The beans must be young, and newly gathered. If toughened by long keeping, or if old and stringy, they are not available for our purpose. With a sharp knife remove the strings from both sides of the beans. As you do this let the prepared beans fall into ice-cold water. Now, cut them into inch-lengths, still dropping the bits into water. Put over the fire covered with cold water, slightly salted and peppered. Boil until soft, but not broken. Transfer to heated jars, cover with boiling salted water from the kettle and seal.
Can as you would string beans. It is absolutely essential that pods be young and tender.
Stale vegetables are unfit for canning.
A paper upon canning fruit will Appear during the summer. To give it before the height of the ripening time is upon us would be premature.
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