PREPARING VEGETABLES

The preliminary selection of vegetables is of great importance, for careless gathering may result in the bottled product not keeping. There are not the fruit acids in vegetables to aid sterilizing so one has to be specially careful.

The value of the bottled vegetable is in the fresh young flavour, and as such, it is obvious that only the freshest, tenderest, and youngest vegetables must be chosen. Moreover they must be gathered as cleanly and as carefully as possible, and even it will pay one to protect them when growing so that they are not fouled by falling on the soil, e.g. peas in the pod. If they are found to be dirtf they must be washed thoroughly, and of course every particle of soil removed in the case of root vegetables.

There is no object in bottling mature vegetables, so that is why those still possessing the very attractive new flavour should be used. Unsuitable varieties are onions, cabbages, lettuce, cucumbers, and radish, while particularly popular ones are peas, runner, dwarf, and broad beans, beet, new potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, and young root crops.

Here then, we shall deal with the par ticular varieties.

Asparagus

The white stems carrying closed buds have the best flavour and they must be thoroughly washed. They should be cut into lengtlis to fit the height of the bottle, and a bottle with all straight sides is to be preferred for ease in turning out. The tops cut off 3 inches long may be bottled if desired.

Beet

Only young tender beet should be used; the best varieties for colour and flavour are PragnelTa Exhibition and Cheltenham Green Top. The tops are screwed off, and the, beet soaked in water to soften the soil which is then scrubbed off with a soft brush. The skin are taken off after boiling forhour. Small beet are packed whole, and large ones cut into slices ½ inch thick.

Beans, Broad

The best variety if one requires the bottled beans to be green, is Green Windsor, but Green Long Pod is also excellent. Most other varieties go a pale brown, but this is no drawback except in appearance. On heavy soils it is a good precaution to wash pods before shelling.

Normally, after sterilizing, the corering liquid will be found to have turned an uninviting brown, and there is no way of preventing this. If it is disliked, it can be poured away and a fresh clean solution poured in to cover.

Beans, Runner and Dwarf

These must always be chosen when young and stringlcss. Ne Plus Ultra and Bountiful in dwarf, and Improved Scarlet, Prizewinner in the runner beans, possess attractive flavours.

They are generally cut up into the usual slices for table, although they can be bottled whole. To help them keep their colour one teaspoonful of powdered borax is added to each pint of covering solution.

Broccoli

See CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI.

Carrots, Young

The best time to gather these is in June and July, when they possess their most attractive flavour. Early Nantes and Chantenay are excellent, and the stump-rooted varieties of these are to be preferred. It is best to pack them whole, packing alternately head and tail, or they may be cut into dice as macedoine for soups, etc.

Be sure to wash thoroughly, removing the skins with a coarse cloth.

Cauliflower and Broccoli

This bottles excellently. The flower only is used, although a few small leaves may be put in the bottle for appearance. All small insects should be brought out by soaking in waited water for 1 hour (1 tea-spoonful of salt to 1 pint of water) and then rinsing.

The King and Autuma Giant keep their colour best. The flower part should be broken into even-sized sprigs and packed closely.

Celery

This, when bottled, cannot be used as one would cat the fresh vegetable, but it is valuable to use in soups. The young well-bleached head only is used and it is cut into four quarters lengthwise.

Globe Artichoke

Well-grown artichokes that are not fully mature should be selected. They are washed, boiled until tender, drained and left until next day, when they are prepared as for table. This often turns dark when bottled, but this is quite normal.

Leeks

For soups and for boiling, bottled leeks are excellent and retain their flavour well. The quickly-grown thick white stems are used, and washed thoroughly. An excellent tried variety is the Lyon.

Macedoine

This is a vegetable mixture bottled togother, and generally consists of cut-up dice, triangles and circles of carrot, parsnip, turnip, beet and peas and tiny new potatoes.

Marrow, Vegetable

A young fresh marrow is necessary in order to conserve what little flavour it has, although they do turn out quite attractive to the taste. It should be peeled, cut in halves and the seeds removed, and what shape it is then cut into depends upon ones more requirements.

Mushrooms

As aoon as a mushroom opens out from the bottom stage it in ready for bottling. Thorough washing is necessary. A special procedure is desirable aa follows. They are packed into the bottles layer by layer and sprinkled with salt, but no water is added. They are put into the sterilizer and heated by boiling for 1 hour, after which timo the mushrooms will be found to have shrunk in their own juice. The bottles are then taken out and filled up one from another, put back and sterilized for a further 1 ½ hours.

Parsnips and Turnips

Parsnips are generally used in mixtures (maoedoinos) as there is no object in bottling them separately, but young, round turnips are excellent. Thorough cleansing is necessary and blanching . The best bottling turnips are Early White Stone, Six Weeks, and Snowball.

Peas

Peas are the most popular bottled vegetable and are the most difficult. Precautions to take are: the peas must be young and bottled absolutely fresh, and they must be kept clean the whole time during the preparation. If they grow on heavy soil it is wise to wash the pods in a weak permanganate of potash solution before shelling. Excellent varieties are Gradus, Sherwood, Ne Plus Ultra, and Royal Salute.

Potatoes, New

It is essential herp that the freshly dug, young, early var iety be used, and the small oven-sized ones are packed after blanching, tightly, one with another. Sharpos Express, Epicure, and Eclipse, bottle well.

Tomatoes

Selected, fresh, firm toma-toes all of one size, and packed in a size of bottle that fits them nicely. Wipe each if soiled, and prick the skins to prevent breaking unduly. They can be skinned by dipping in boiling water for 1 minute, and then into cold.

Turnips

See PARSNIPS AND TURNIPS.

BLANCHING CHART

Vegetable. Minutes.

Asparagus 3

Peet cook 15

Beans 3

Carrots cook 10

Cauliflower 5

Celery 3

Globe artichokes cook tender Leeks 2

Macedoine blanch separately Marrow, Vegetable

Mushrooms 2

Parsnips 5

Pea; li

Potatoes (new) 10

Sprouts 5

Tomatoes none

Turnips 5 1

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