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

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

Cold Water Vinegar.—To 6 gallons of rain or soft water add i gallon of molasses, 1-2 gallon hop yeast; set the cask in a warm place and stir it thoroughly once a week for several weeks, when you will have an excellent vinegar. Paste or nail a piece of thin cloth over the bung hole to keep out the insects and dust.
Vinegar.—Hippocrates employed vinegar medicinally, and Moses mentions it nearly 1500 years before the birth of Christ. The Israel­ites, Greeks, Romans and Carthegenians used it extensively.
Perry Vinegar.—Put a number of pears, say 30 or 40 lbs. in a tub, pour water over them and leave them for 3 days to ferment. Repeat this every day for a month, when you will have good vinegar, pour off into a cask. Apples may be done so also.
Perry or Pear Vinegar is prepared from the pear in the same way that vinegar is prepared from apple cider, but it is far richer and much better for keeping green pickles and mangoes, giving them a mellow and crisp taste; and mixing apple cider with an equal por­tion of perry, makes a cordial, equal to the most delicious wine.
Large stone jars are the proper vessels for large pickles. Glass bottles with wide mouths do for small pickles, such as cherries, currants, nasturtiums, button onions, &c. Salt and vinegar which enter so largely into the composition of all pickles, act on the lead that is used in turning copper pans and dissolve the lead used in glazing earthern jars, and ought to be avoided. A bell metal skillet or kettle is good for holding vinegar, but a stone jar on a hot hearth, is best. As jars of pickles are frequently opened, and as the air is always injurious to vinegar, which is apt to lose its strength by exposure, and become torpid, so small jars of a quart or half gallon are preferable to large ones. Some housekeepers, put each kind of pickle in one large jar, and fill up the smaller ones from it as needed for present use. Each jar should be covered with leather or a bladder tied firmly over the mouth and kept perfectly dry. Each jar should be labeled so that the housekeeper can see at once what it contains without being needlessly opened, and those that are for present use should be put by themselves.
The pickles should be taken out with a wooden spoon or fork, and should hang over the pickle jars, as spoons of metal injures the vinegar, or an earthern bowl with a stout handle is very good. No more should be taken out than is likely to be eaten. If left, it is best not to return it to the jar. Cover up and keep it for the next meal.
Pickles should be kept in a cool and dry place, but sunned occasionally. Vegetables intended for pickling should not be too