The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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Small cabbages should be cut in 2 or 4 parts and larger ones into more divisions. Boil them in salt and water until they be­come soft enough to be penetrated with a straw, lay them on a cloth to drain, then lay them on a flat, wide dish and let them dry, then lay them in clear water for 24 hours, then put them in the prepared liquid, cut in the branches of cauliflower and pre­pare them in the same way. Cucumbers and other vegetables may be pickled in the manner given in recipes.
Pickles may be purchased at as low rates as they can usually be made at home, and even less, perhaps, yet all housekeepers who have time and the usual conveniences had better prepare them for their own domestic use, as they can select and know that they have the purest vinegars, which should always be used, as it does not injure the stomach nor impede digestion, as patent vinegars do. The fruit and vegetables selected should be firm, sound and not over-ripe. Many of the spices should be used spar­ingly, as they stimulate the appetite and by insensible degrees de­stroy the tone of the stomach. Red peppers are opposite in their qualities to black and white peppers. The two last are powerful astringents, and consequently impede digestion. The white pepper is the best quality of black pepper, and is prepared by soaking it in lime and water and rubbing it between the hands until the dark coats come off. It is less acrid than the black, and more highly prized as a seasoning. It is better to buy the grains whole and pound them at home, and both kinds are often adulterated. Black pepper of a good quality can be tested by rubbing the corns between the hands. It they are good they will not be crushed. Dyspeptics should not use black pepper; it may afford a temporary relief at the expense of permanent mischief. It is good as a condiment in malarious dis­tricts, which engender endermic diseases, and serves as an antidote. Nutmeg should be used cautiously by persons of a paralytic or ap­oplectic predispositions. They are astringent in their properties. The superior quality is firm, hard, and has a strong aromatic odor with a pungent and acrid flavor. Ginger as a condiment is more wholesome; is anti-spasmodic and carminative in its properties, and is excellent in allaying thirst. Allspice is a mild and innocent spice, combining an agreeable variety of flavors.
Horseradish should be fresh when used, as its volatile oil escapes so rapidly. It can be preserved by burying it in sand. By leaving with the top about 1 or 2 inches of the .root it will grow by planting