Boston Cooking-School Cook Book/Chapter 38

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FRUIT for canning should be fresh, firm, of good quality, and not over-ripe; if over-ripe, some of the spores may survive the boiling, then fermentation will take place in a short time.

For canning fruit, allow one-third its weight in sugar, and two and one-half to three cups water to each pound of sugar. Boil sugar and water ten minutes to make a thin syrup; then cook a small quantity of the fruit at a time in the syrup; by so doing, fruit may be kept in perfect shape. Hard fruits, like pineapple and quince, are cooked in boiling water until nearly soft, then put in syrup to finish cooking. Sterilized jars are then filled with fruit, and enough syrup added to overflow jars. If there is not sufficient syrup, add boiling water, as jars must be filled to overflow. Introduce a spoon between fruit and jar, that air bubbles may rise to the top and break; then quickly put on rubbers and screw on sterilized covers. Let stand until cold, again screw covers, being sure this time that jars are air-tight. While filling jars, place them on a cloth wrung out of hot water.

To Sterilize Jars[edit]

Wash jars and fill with cold water. Set in a kettle on a trivet, and surround with cold water. Heat gradually to boiling-point, remove from water, empty, and fill while hot. Put covers in hot water and let stand five minutes. Dip rubber bands in hot water, but do not allow them to stand. New rubbers should be used each season, and care must be taken that rims of covers are not bent, as jars cannot then be hermetically sealed.

Canned Porter Apples[edit]

Wipe, quarter, core, and pare Porter apples, then weigh. Make a syrup by boiling for ten minutes one-third their weight in sugar with water, allowing two and one-half cups to each pound of sugar. Cook apples in syrup until soft, doing a few at a time. Fill jars, following Directions for Canning.

Canned Peaches[edit]

Wipe peaches and put in boiling water, allowing them to stand just long enough to easily loosen skins. Remove skins and cook fruit at once, that it may not discolor, following Directions for Canning. Some prefer to pare peaches, sprinkle with sugar, and let stand overnight. In morning drain, add water to fruit syrup, bring to boiling-point, and then cook fruit. Peaches may be cut in halves, or smaller pieces if desired.

Canned Pears[edit]

Wipe and pare fruit. Cook whole with stems left on, or remove stems, cut in quarters, and core. Follow Directions for Canning. A small piece of ginger root or a few slicings of lemon rind may be cooked with syrup. Bartlett pears are the best for canning.

Canned Pineapples[edit]

Remove skin and eyes from pineapples; then cut in half-inch slices, and slices in cubes, at the same time discarding the core. Follow Directions for Canning. Pineapples may be shredded and cooked in one-half their weight of sugar without water, and then put in jars. When put up in this way they are useful for the making of sherbets and fancy desserts.

Canned Quinces[edit]

Wipe, quarter, core, and pare quinces. Follow Directions for Canning. Quinces may be cooked with an equal weight of sweet apples wiped, quartered, cored, and pared; in this case use no extra sugar for apples.

Canned Cherries[edit]

Use large white or red cherries. Wash, remove stems, then follow Directions for Canning.

Canned Huckleberries[edit]

Pick over and wash berries, then put in a preserving kettle with a small quantity of water to prevent berries from burning. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally, and put in jars. No sugar is required, but a sprinkling of salt is an agreeable addition.

Canned Rhubarb[edit]

Pare rhubarb and cut in one-inch pieces. Pack in a jar, put under cold water faucet, and let water run twenty minutes, then screw on cover. Rhubarb canned in this way has often been known to keep a year.

Canned Tomatoes[edit]

Wipe tomatoes, cover with boiling water, and let stand until skins may be easily removed. Cut in pieces and cook until thoroughly scalded; skim often during cooking. Fill jars, following directions given.

Damson Preserves[edit]

Wipe damsons with a piece of cheese-cloth wrung out of cold water, and prick each fruit five or six times, using a large needle; then weigh. Make a syrup by boiling three-fourths their weight in sugar with water, allowing one cup to each pound of sugar. As soon as syrup reaches boiling-point, skim, and add plums, a few at a time, that fruit may better keep in shape during cooking. Cook until soft. It is well to use two kettles, that work may be more quickly done, and syrup need not cook too long a time. Put into glass or stone jars.

Strawberry Preserves[edit]

Pick over, wash, drain, and hull strawberries; then weigh. Fill glass jars with berries. Make a syrup same as for Damson Preserve, cooking the syrup fifteen minutes. Add syrup to overflow jars; let stand fifteen minutes, when fruit will have shrunk, and more fruit must be added to fill jars. Screw on covers, put on a trivet in a kettle of cold water, heat water to boiling-point, and keep just below boiling-point one hour.

Raspberries may be preserved in the same way.

Pear Chips[edit]

8 lbs. pears 1/4 lb. Canton ginger
4 lbs. sugar 4 lemons

Wipe pears, remove stems, quarter, and core; then cut in small pieces. Add sugar and ginger, and let stand overnight. In the morning add lemons cut in small pieces, rejecting seeds, and cook slowly three hours. Put into a stone jar.

Raspberry and Currant Preserve[edit]

6 lbs. currants 6 lbs. sugar
8 quarts raspberries

Pick over, wash, and drain currants. Put into a preserving kettle, adding a few at a time, and mash. Cook one hour, strain through double thickness of cheese-cloth. Return to kettle, add sugar, heat to boiling-point, and cook slowly twenty minutes. Add one quart raspberries when syrup again reaches boiling-point, skim out raspberries, put in jar, and repeat until raspberries are used. Fill jars to overflowing with syrup, and screw on tops.

Brandied Peaches[edit]

1 peck peaches Half their weight in sugar
1 quart high-proof alcohol or brandy

Remove skins from peaches, and put alternate layers of peaches and sugar in a stone jar; then add alcohol. Cover closely, having a heavy piece of cloth under cover of jar.


Put one pint brandy into a stone jar, add the various fruits as they come into market; to each quart of fruit add the same quantity of sugar, and stir the mixture each morning until all the fruit has been added. Raspberries, strawberries, apricots, peaches, cherries, and pineapples are the best to use.

Canned Red Peppers[edit]

Wash one peck red peppers, cut a slice from stem end of each, and remove seeds; then cut in thin strips by working around and around the peppers, using scissors or a sharp vegetable knife. Cover with boiling water, let stand two minutes, drain, and plunge into ice-water. Let stand ten minutes, again drain, and pack solidly into pint glass jars. Boil one quart vinegar and two cups sugar fifteen minutes. Pour over peppers to overflow jars, cover, and keep in a cold place.

Preserved Melon Rind[edit]

Pare and cut in strips the rind of ripe melons. Soak in alum water to cover, allowing two teaspoons powdered alum to each quart of water. Heat gradually to boiling-point and cook slowly ten minutes. Drain, cover with ice-water, and let stand two hours; again drain, and dry between towels. Weigh, allow one pound sugar to each pound of fruit, and one cup water to each pound of sugar. Boil sugar and water ten minutes. Add melon rind, and cook until tender. Remove rind to a stone jar, and cover with syrup. Two lemons cut in slices may be cooked ten minutes in the syrup.

Tomato Preserve[edit]

1 lb. yellow pear tomatoes 2 ozs. preserved Canton ginger
1 lb. sugar 2 lemons

Wipe tomatoes, cover with boiling water, and let stand until skins may be easily removed. Add sugar, cover, and let stand overnight. In the morning pour off syrup and boil until quite thick; skim, then add tomatoes, ginger, and lemons which have been sliced and the seeds removed. Cook until tomatoes have a clarified appearance.


The Cold Pack Method is so named because the product is cool when packed into its container. Fruits and vegetables canned by the Cold Pack Method are properly selected and prepared, then sterilized a required length of time in their containers.

There are thirteen distinct steps in the process:

  1. Grade product. (By product is meant the article to be canned.)
  2. Prepare product.
  3. Wash product.
  4. Blanch vegetables and hard fruits by boiling, scalding, or steaming. Do not blanch berries or soft fruits.
  5. Plunge product in cold water. This is called the “cold dip.”
  6. Pack in jars.
  7. To fruits add syrup; to vegetables add hot water and salt.
  8. Adjust rubbers and covers.
  9. Partially tighten covers.
  10. Sterilize or “process” product required length of time.
  11. Remove jar from boiling water.
  12. Tighten cover of jar.
  13. Invert jar to cool.

Explanation of Steps in the Cold Pack Process[edit]

Grading. Fruit and vegetables should be fresh, free from decay, and as nearly uniform in shape and state of ripeness as is possible. Wilted fruits or vegetables cannot be guaranteed to keep. Use imperfect fruit for jams. Can vegetables as soon as picked and fruit the same day as picked.

Preparation of Vegetables. Vegetables to be canned are prepared in the same way as when cooked for the table. When the can is opened, the contents will be ready to use.

Washing. Vegetables are in danger of spoiling if dirt or foreign substances of any kind remain on them. They must be thoroughly cleaned by washing or wiping before being blanched.

Blanching. Blanching is the term used to designate the process of short cooking before the product is put into its container. To blanch the fruit or vegetable place a quantity sufficient to fill one jar in a wire basket, plunge into a large kettle of boiling water, and leave the length of time required in the time-table for blanching. Use a square yard of cheese-cloth with opposite corners tied, if wire basket is not at hand. Minutes are counted from the time the water begins to boil after the product is put into it. Be sure that the water reaches all parts of the product.

If the blanching kettle is filled with fruit, the water becomes chilled and takes so long to come again to the boiling point that the fruit becomes soft before it is heated through, while the juices of the vegetables are drawn out in the water. Therefore, plunge only a small amount of fruit and vegetables at a time.

In steaming, the product is heated by steam but is not immersed in water.

In scalding, the product is plunged into the water. The minutes are counted from the time it is immersed without waiting for the water to come to the boiling-point. Scalding loosens the skins of fruit and vegetables that have to be peeled.

Blanching removes any foreign matter that escaped the washing, and any strong flavor that might be undesirable in the cooked product, and makes it possible to sterilize vegetables in one period of cooking. Vegetables not blanched require three periods of cooking on three successive days.

Cold Dip. Immediately upon removing product from boiling water or steam used in blanching, plunge it into cold water, lifting it up and down in the water three times; then drain. Use plenty of water and have it cold. Never allow product to soak in water. The cold dip helps to keep product in shape during sterilization, and makes it easier to remove skins and to handle product while packing in jars.

Packing in Jars. Any jar or can that is clean and can be made air-tight may be used. Large-mouthed, clear glass jars are to be preferred for home use, as they are easy to fill and can be used again and again. First warm the jars by rinsing them in hot water and let stand in hot water until used. Pack product firmly and closely, leaving no open spaces, but being careful that product is not jammed or crushed. Arrange products so that they will look well through the glass. Pack jars and put in sterilizer one at a time.

Adding Syrup or Hot Water. Fill jars to within half an inch of top with boiling liquid, pouring it slowly to avoid breaking. For vegetables, expect tomatoes, use boiling water and allow one teaspoon of salt to each quart jar. For tomatoes use tomato juice and no water. For fruits, make a syrup by boiling two parts water with three parts sugar. This may be boiled only long enough to dissolve the sugar, if fruit needs very little sweetening; or to a very thick syrup for rich preserves. For unsweetened fruits use only water or fruit juice and no sugar.

Cut spinach or other greens diagonally with a knife after they are in the jar, so that water can reach center of greens in jar.

Any air space remaining at top of jar will be sterilized and can make no trouble.

Adjusting Rubber and Cover. When jars are packed, put on the rubbers. These must be new each year, and tested. If a rubber comes back to its original size after being stretched, it is right for use; if it remains enlarged, discard it. It is imperative that rubbers be elastic and tight. Covers and jar tops must be smooth and fit correctly.

Partially Tighten Covers. Put on the covers and partially tighten. Leave the lower lever of jar up and do not quite complete turning screws of screw-top jars. If the cover is put on perfectly tight there will be no room for expansion and breakage is liable to occur.

Sterilizing or Processing. To sterilize, slowly lower the product in its can, top up, in a kettle or boiler of boiling water; then add water to cover the jars two inches over the top. Bring the water to the boiling-point and keep boiling the length of time given on the time-table for sterilizing the product being canned. A rack in the bottom of the kettle is necessary to keep the cans from resting directly on the bottom, or individual wire holders can be used. Keep the water boiling constantly during the sterilizing process.

Removing Jars. A wire holder with handle for each jar is convenient to use. If they are not at hand, lift jars from boiling water with a long-handled skimmer, or spring fork.

Tighten the Cover. Tighten the cover immediately.

Inverting Jars. Place jars upside down on a cloth, allowing space between jars. Keep protected from drafts. A draft in the kitchen causes more breaks than anything else. If a can shows signs of fermentation after two or three days, loosen the covers and sterilize again for a short time.


Time-table for Blanching and Sterilizing Vegetables and Greens[edit]

Product Blanch Size of Can Time for Cooking
Beans pint or quart
Beets quart 11/2 hours
Carrots quart
Corn 5–10 minutes pint or quart
Greens quart
Parsnips quart
Peas pint
Pumpkin quart
Squash quart
Succotash pint or quart
Sweet Peppers
Swiss Chard quart
Turnips quart

Time-table for Scalding and Sterilizing Vegetables[edit]

Product Scald Size of Can Time for Cooking
Asparagus 5–10 minutes pint or quart
Tomatoes pint or quart 22 minutes
Vegetable combinations

Time-table for Scalding and Sterilizing Fruits[edit]

Product Scald Size of Can Time for Cooking
Peaches pint or quart
Plums pint
Quinces quart
Pineapples pint or quart
Crab Apples 1–2 minutes pint 20 minutes
Apples, Whole quart
Apples, Sliced quart
Fruit without Sugar Syrup

Time-table for Sterilizing Berries and Soft Fruits that do not Require Blanching[edit]

Product Size of Can Time for Cooking
Blackberries pint or quart 16 minutes
Blueberries pint 16 minutes
Cherries pint 16 minutes
Currants pint 16 minutes
Dewberries pint or quart 16 minutes
Grapes (Grape Juice) pint 16 minutes
Gooseberries pint 16 minutes
Huckleberries pint 16 minutes
Pears pint 20 minutes
Raspberries pint or quart 16 minutes
Rhubarb quart 15 minutes
Strawberries quart 16 minutes

Size of Can. Where time is given for cooking pint jar, add a few minutes for a quart jar. Jars must be covered with water.

Variation in Time. The time will vary somewhat, according to the condition of the fruit.


Pickling is preserving in any salt or acid liquor.

Spiced Currants[edit]

7 lbs. currants 3 tablespoons cinnamon
5 lbs. brown sugar 3 tablespoons clove
1 pint vinegar

Pick over currants, wash, drain, and remove stems. Put in a preserving kettle, add sugar, vinegar, and spices tied in a piece of muslin. Heat to boiling-point, and cook slowly one and one-half hours. Store in a stone jar and keep in a cool place. Spiced currants are a delicious accompaniment to cold meat.

Sweet Pickled Peaches[edit]

1/2 peck peaches 1 pint vinegar
2 lbs. brown sugar 1 oz. stick cinnamon

Boil sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon twenty minutes. Dip peaches quickly in hot water, then rub off the fur with a towel. Stick each peach with four cloves. Put into syrup, and cook until soft, using one-half peaches at a time.

Sweet Pickled Pears[edit]

Follow recipe for Sweet Pickled Peaches, using pears in place of peaches.

Beet Relish[edit]

1 cup chopped cold cooked beets 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated horseradish root 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients in order given. Canned beets may be used in place of fresh ones, and bottled horseradish if of strong flavor and well drained. This is delicious served with cold meat or fish.

Celery Relish[edit]

11/2 cups chopped celery 1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup vinegar

Mix ingredients in order given. Cover and let stand in a cold place one and one-half hours. Drain off the liquid before serving. When preparing celery include some of the small tender leaves.

Tomato and Celery Relish[edit]

1 onion finely chopped finely chopped 1 tablespoon salt
1 large green pepper 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large bunch celery 2 allspice berries
21/2 cups canned or fresh tomatoes 2/3 cup vinegar

Mix ingredients, heat gradually to the boiling-point, and cook slowly one and one-half hours. Cayenne or mustard may be added if liked more highly seasoned.

Chili Sauce[edit]

12 medium-sized ripe tomatoes 1 tablespoon salt
1 pepper, finely chopped 2 teaspoons clove
1 onion, finely chopped 2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups vinegar 2 teaspoons allspice
3 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons grated nutmeg

Peel tomatoes and slice. Put in a preserving kettle with remaining ingredients. Heat gradually to boiling-point, and cook slowly two and one-half hours.

Ripe Tomato Pickle[edit]

3 pints tomatoes, peeled and chopped 4 tablespoons salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chopped celery 6 tablespoons mustard seed
4 tablespoons chopped red pepper 1/2 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons chopped onion 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups vinegar

Mix ingredients in order given. Put in a stone jar and cover. This uncooked mixture must stand a week before using, but may be kept a year.

Ripe Cucumber Pickle[edit]

Cut cucumbers in halves lengthwise. Cover with alum water, allowing two teaspoons powdered alum to each quart of water. Heat gradually to boiling-point, then let stand on back of range two hours. Remove from alum water and chill in ice-water. Make a syrup by boiling five minutes two pounds sugar, one pint vinegar, with two tablespoons each of whole cloves and stick cinnamon tied in a piece of muslin. Add cucumbers and cook ten minutes. Remove cucumbers to a stone jar, and pour over the syrup. Scald syrup three successive mornings, and return to cucumbers.

Unripe Cucumber Pickles (Gherkins)[edit]

Wipe four quarts small unripe cucumbers. Put in a stone jar and add one cup salt dissolved in two quarts boiling water and let stand three days. Drain cucumbers from brine, bring brine to boiling-point, pour over cucumbers, and again let stand three days; repeat. Drain, wipe cucumbers, and pour over one gallon boiling water in which one tablespoon alum has been dissolved. Let stand six hours, then drain from alum water. Cook cucumbers ten minutes, a few at a time, in one-fourth the following mixture heated to the boiling-point and boiled ten minutes:—

1 gallon vinegar 2 sticks cinnamon
4 red peppers 2 tablespoons allspice berries
2 tablespoons cloves

Strain remaining liquor over pickles which have been put in a stone jar.

Chopped Pickles[edit]

4 quarts chopped green tomatoes 3 teaspoons allspice
3/4 cup salt 3 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons pepper 1/2 cup white mustard seed
3 teaspoons mustard 4 green peppers, sliced
3 teaspoons cinnamon 2 chopped onions
2 quarts vinegar

Add salt to tomatoes, cover, let stand twenty-four hours, and drain. Add spices to vinegar, and heat to boiling-point; then add tomatoes, peppers, and onions, bring to boiling-point, and cook fifteen minutes after boiling-point is reached. Store in a stone jar and keep in a cool place.

Spanish Pickles[edit]

1 peck green tomatoes, thinly sliced 1/2 oz. peppercorns
1/2 cup brown mustard seed
4 onions, thinly sliced 1 lb. brown sugar
1 cup salt 4 green peppers, finely chopped
1/2 oz. cloves
1/2 oz. allspice berries Cider vinegar

Sprinkle alternate layers of tomatoes and onions with salt, and let stand overnight. In the morning drain, and put in a preserving kettle, adding remaining ingredients, using enough vinegar to cover all. Heat gradually to boiling-point and boil one-half hour.


2 quarts small green tomatoes 1/4 lb. mustard seed
12 small cucumbers 2 oz. turmeric
3 red peppers 1/2 oz. allspice
1 cauliflower 1/2 oz. pepper
2 bunches celery 1/2 oz. clove
1 pint small onions Salt
2 quarts string beans 1 gallon vinegar

Prepare vegetables and cut in small pieces, cover with salt, let stand twenty-four hours, and drain. Heat vinegar and spices to boiling-point, add vegetables, and cook until soft.

Pickled Onions[edit]

Peel small white onions, cover with brine, allowing one and one-half cups salt to two quarts boiling water, and let stand two days; drain, and cover with more brine; let stand two days, and again drain. Make more brine and heat to boiling-point; put in onions and boil three minutes. Put in jars, interspersing with bits of mace, white peppercorns, cloves, bits of bay leaf, and slices of red pepper. Fill jars to overflow with vinegar scalded with sugar, allowing one cup sugar to one gallon vinegar. Cork while hot.