HOW TO BOTTLE VEGETABLES

It is important to realize that vegetables A are not bottled the same way that fruits are, or disappointment is bound to follow. Unlike fruits, they must be (1) bottled in a special acid solution; (2) boiled for a definite length of time.

It is necessary, for complete success, to use the proper bottling jars, but it matters not at all whether they have screw caps or spring clips. To ensure success the fittings should be carefully examined for flaws, chips in the glass, and faulty caps, before using, and new rubber bands must be used.

The same sterilizer used for fruits is excellent, but no thermometer will be necessary. A packing 6tick and a pair of bottle tongs will be found to make the task much more pleasant.

The vegetables must be as fresh as possible and bottled with the least delay. Every particle of dust or dirt must be removed.

Previous to packing in the bottles, they are subjected to a preliminary process known as Blanching and Cold Dipping. This shrinks them, makes them easier to pack, prevents undue sinking in the bottles, makes them pliable, and effects an early and important sterilization.

It is quite a simple process. The prepared vegetables are gathered together in a sheet of butter muslin and placed in boiling water for 1-5 minutes . They are then taken out and cooled as quickly as possible in several changes of water, or in cold running water. Roots are partly cooked by boiling for 5-10 minutes also .

When they are quite cold after cold dipping, they are packed into the clean and tested bottles, taking care to coax them in one close to another, so that the whole bottle contents are firm. Too tight pack- ing with peas, however, will cause a cloudiness after eternizing, and is to be avoided.

A packing stick or long-handled spoon is most handy for packing. Do this layer by layer rather than attempting to pack when the bottle is full. Small vegetables such as peas, are best shaken down by jarring upon the hand, while the cut pieces of runner and dwarf beans must be pressed in tightly. Packing is done right to the top of the bottle.

Now we come to a most important part, and that is the pouring in of the covering liquid. Now wherever we used ordinary plain water or syrup for fruits, with vegetables a speoial bottling solution is necessary. This, however, is easy and cheap to mix at home.

The special solution is: One level dessertspoonful of common salt. Two tablespoonfuis of strained lemon juice. One quart of water.

For those requiring it in oz., it is 21 oz. Salt; 5 fluid oz. Of lemon juice, and 1 gallon of water. The water is boiled first, the salt and lemon juice added, the whole dissolved by stirring and then allowed to cool. To improve the flavour of peas add two dessertspoonfuls of sugar to the above quantities.

The solution is poured in to fill the bottles to overflowing and the caps put on, remembering that while the spring clips are fully adjusted, the screw bands are allowed half a turn to allow the heated air to escape.

The filled bottles are now placed upon the false bottom in a sterilizer, and cold water poured in to cover the bottles to a depth of 1 inch or so. It is preferable to covering only to the shoulders, as more thorough sterilization is effected. The lid is put on and heating begun.

The next important point is the duration of heating. One hour should be allowed before the water is boiling, and it must be kept boiling for a full H hours. During this time the water must be kept vigorously boiling and not allowed to go oif at any time. Simmering is not sufficient.

Owing to the length of boiling, some vegetables, the liquid inside the bottles will be found to have shrunk considerably. This is no detriment, but for exhibition purposes it is wise to take the bottles out of the sterilizer, fill up with fresh boiling solution, replace the caps, put back in the sterilizer, and boil again for 15 minutes.

When boiling has been properly carried out, the bottles are taken out one by one, and the caps screwed fully down. The bottles with spring clips, although needing no further adjustment, should be examined to see if the cap has been pushed to one side, or the rubber ring displaced by the prolonged heating.

Owing to the great heat of the bottles care must be taken not to stand them down on a cold metal or enamel surface, or in a draught, as they may possibly break.

Testing for efficiency of vacuum must be done after 21 hours, when the bottles will be quite cold. The screw band or spring clip is taken off and one sees if the cap (glass or metal) is held firmly on the bottles by the vacuum inside. If so, sealing is perfect.

If the cap fails to be securely held, one should examine and find the cause, remedy it and re-sterilize for half an hour.

Neither the screw bands spring clips are put back on to the bottles, but are stored away separately, the bottles of vegetables being put in a place that is (1) cool, (2) dry, and (3) dark.

To use, they will only need heating up for table use, and not boiling further. To maintain the flavour better, the covering liquid should be added to the water in which they are boiled. Small vegetables, like peas and beans, can be steamed in a colander placed over a saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes. This is preferable as it prevents squashing, with tender vegetables.

Tests for vegetables which have gone bad are – liquid is cloudy, colour is abnormal, mould growths may be seen, the smell is unappetizing. In such cases they must never be tasted, and they must be buried deeply, away from all domestic animals.

Tomatoes (being fruits really) bottled in a plain solution of 1 teaspoonful of salt to the pint of water. The same method of packing and sterilizing is adopted, except that in 1 hour the temperature of the water should be 190° and kept there for 15 minutes.

Tomatoes may be skinned and cut in halves, the latter being the most economical method.

HOW TO TRACE FAULTS

We can learn a great deal from our mistakes, and they should be taken to heart and remembered for future operations. There is quite a host of mistakes it is possible to make, and to make the tracing of each easy I am going to divide them up under headings, under which they will generally be found.

Apparatus. As previously mentioned, it is wise to examine every bottle (whether it is bought new or not) and fitting before using.

With the screw type, the glass shoulder upon which the rubber band rests must be perfectly flat and free from ridges, and the same applies to the band surface of the glass or metal cap. With glass caps, often a minute flaw is found by running the thumb nail round. The rubber ring must be sound, free from craeks, and ful- elastic.

With the spring-clip type the clip will be free from rust and able to exert its full pressure. The metal cap must be perfectly level and quite circular.

Thermometers must be tested for correct registering by placing in a saucepan of boiling water, when they should register 212° F. The sterilizer must be deep enough to permit of the surrounding water reaching to the top, and a false bottom must never be left out.