« PreviousContinue »
Picar of Ashampstead, Berks ; Member of the Council of the Swanley Horticultural
College : Vice-President of the Berks, and also of the Wilts, Bee Keepers’ Association ;
and Sole Medallist for Honey and War Applications at the Health Exhibition, 1884, and many other places, 1885-90, and '91.
IN these days when attention is being increasingly drawn to the great need of developing and expanding every possible industry we can in Great Britain and Ireland, possibly it is because so very few comparatively know of the process that so few seem to take interest in the way of preserving substances for future use by evaporation.
All of our readers have seen in grocers' shops, and doubtless often tasted the dried Normandy pippins which our sapient cooks know so well how to make use of in many a tasty dish, but I would like to know why these Normandy pippins and the currants and raisins from abroad, which we so readily consume in our cakes and puddings, and otherwise, should “rule the roast” 2. The foreigner again Is no effort to be made in this line, except by our Norfolk cousins, with their delightful “Norfolk biffins"? Now, what are Norfolk biffins, and how made 2 Simply Norfolk apples with the cores taken out, put then on a wooden board, with another layer of wood and apples above them, and yet another and another series above them, and subjected to the slow partial drying air of a feeble oven, and thus dried and pressed into their shape at the same time, and so packed carefully in neatly papered boxes for sale. What is there to hinder the extension of this idea 2 Nothing whatever. The following, in addition to apples, can be dried and kept for future use at home, or sold to others cheaper than Normandy pippins, and yet at a good profit, of course in a larger apparatus than the ordinary oven, if done on a large scale, with a view to expanded business, viz—pears, apricots, nectarines, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries, whortleberries, cranberries, gooseberries, currants, grapes, plums, quinces, peas, beans, potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, and very many others. The usual process of preserving affords to us delicious jams, and calls into requisition the cooking and preserving powers of many of the fair sex; and this is well, for a young lady who cannot add to the pleasures of her domestic circle by not being able to do such things, has something yet to learn ; but the process of evaporating fruit and vegetables, and so preserving them wholesale, with but little fire and no sugar, is worth considering. And how is it done? Well, thus: By means of the machine or apparatus named the “American (Waynesboro') Evaporator,” of the American Manufacturing Company, which are made in different sizes and numbers. The fruit farmer who grows the fruit, and with his own help evaporates it, or superintends the business, can place upon the market a product of his farm worth more per pound, on an average, than anything he sells—wool only excepted—at a comparatively small outlay of money. Not unfrequently, when there happens to be a glut of fruit on the market, much fruit is absolutely thrown away—destroyed, or simply used as manure, whereas if this same fruit were dried and kept until the scarcer times and seasons came round again, this would be obviated. Well, in these “Evaporators,” after the fruit has been carefully gathered, and if needed, carefully wiped, it is placed on the suitable trays of the “Evaporator,” according to number, and subjected to heat. The first heat being the greatest, and each tray or group subsequently entered moves the previous one forward into a lower temperature, which advantages are secured and continued throughout. No steaming, cooking, or retrograde process becomes possible, so perfect indeed is the active circulation of dry air over, under and through each line of trays, that any tray taken from any portion of the trunk of the machine at any time after being in the Evaporator ten minutes (the article), will be found to be perfectly dry on the outside to sight or touch, although the process of complete evaporation may be but one-fourth or one-half finished. When the time has elapsed for the complete evaporation or drying of the different articles, they necessarily occupy a very much smaller space than when inserted on the trays, and should then be carefully packed suitably away for sale or use when required. To use them—if required in a dry state—as currants, raisins, etc., of course they are ready at once, but if required with the fruity pulpy part again swollen with juice, the various fruits or vegetables, etc., thus dried must be soaked in plain water for a time, dependent on the character of the fruit or vegetable, and it absorbs a great deal of the water which is acted on by the dried air, and again moistened juices in the article, and is ready for use in almost its pristine condition. The canning of fruits for home or foreign consumption does not equal this process. The expenses of canning are very heavy, and the trouble of opening the cans also not slight. Again commercially the advantages of evaporating over canning is great, for in these days of high freights and low prices the item of freight is serious. For instance take a bushel of peaches and “can " them, and at the same time “evaporate” a corresponding quantity of the same fruit. The difference in bulk and measurement will be found to be marvellous, for while it will take about a dozen large sized cans to contain the former, the product of the latter—the evaporated peaches — may be contained in a small box about six inches square. For a reverse proof, steep the evaporated fruit in clean fresh water for a few hours (i.e. rehydrate) and it will be discovered that an equal number of cans will not contain it. The power of being able to sell at a fair price, instead of at a sacrifice to prevent loss, is a feature commending itself to the producers of fruit all the world over. The farmer who makes his grass into hay and sells it as such controls prices and markets to which his green crop would have been lost, and the same rule holds good in its fullest terms as to evaporated versus fresh fruits; and thus, to our fruit growers, is opened an avenue for profit and success which, if followed up, will lead to a vast and practically boundless field for improvement in our dried fruits and vegetables, hops, berries and nuts; and by this process of desiccation Commissariats can thus provide means for a constant supply of fresh provisions, fruit and vegetables, especially for troops when on field service, where reduced transport is necessary. To shipowners, ship masters, and others in like manner facilities are offered for supplies of fresh provisions to crews, whether at sea or in harbour, and as a means of preserving fruits, vegetables, etc., when cruising between various ports on ship board. Large schools, hospitals, asylums, gaols, factories, clubs, charitable and other institutions alike also have a means of desiccation and preservation thus open to them, needing only intelligent application to ensure success. Market, truck and other gardeners find Evaporators invaluable as “save-alls,” for by their use much valuable fruit, vegetables, etc. (which otherwise are lost or sold at a sacrifice to prevent total loss), may be saved, dried, and sold at a profit. This “Evaporator” is made in various sizes. No. o is for family use and very small operations only. No. 1 larger. No. 2 (size nine and a-half feet long twenty-eight inches wide), has twenty-two trays, capacity ten to twelve bushels of apples per day; can be set up in a few minutes; burns wood, coal or coke ; height, six feet. No. 3 does fifty bushels of apples a day. Try it, is my advice. V. H. MOYLE.