Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements to Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Preserving Roots and Vegetables

To Preserve Roots and Vegetables

Potatoes are of most consequence. Choose them of the middle-size, fresh from the mould, or the store-pit. Yellow kidneys are for the earlier part of the season; and red or calico potatoes for the spring months, as these keep best late in the year. Keep them in a cellar below ground, where the temperature is pretty equal, and never very low, and defend them well from frost and currents of air with straw or mats. In spring, have them turned over, and the growths carefully picked away, which process must be again repeated later in the season. Keep carrots and turnips, parsnips, and beet-roots, with their native mould about them, in dry sand: onions are best preserved strung, or the small ones in nets, in a cool but not a damp place. Use the thick-necked spongy ones first; they may have the germ taken out, with a larding-pin, and then be strung up, or they may be kiln-dried. Parsley may be picked, and dried by tying it in bundles to a rope, or drying it in a cool oven; and so may other herbs. French beans [green beans or string beans] will keep by salting and closing them up, and soaking them before they are dressed; but they lose a good deal of their flavour and colour. Cucumbers, kidney-beans, endive, &c., may be parboiled and kept closed up in strong pickle; soaking them to freshen them before they are dressed. Green peas are shelled, scalded repeatedly, drained, dried in cloths, spread on plates, and put in a cool oven, and afterwards hung up in paper-bags to harden’ soak them before they are used. After all this trouble they are but the ghosts of green peas. They may also be scalded, bottled, covered with clarified butter, corked up, and the corks dipped in rosin; but nothing will preserve the sweet flavour and marrowy substance of the young pea. Cabbages, lettuce, greens, endive, leeks, cauliflower, &c., if carefully removed in dry weather from the ground, without injuring the roots too much, and laid in a cold cellar, or on a stone floor, covering the roots with earth or sand, will keep through the winter, even when the frost might destroy them if left in the garden; and this we conceive the best mode of preservation.

To Store Fruits of Different Kinds

This art is now so well understood, that in spring and early summer, apples, and even pears, are seen as plump and fresh as in the autumn when they were gathered.

Gather the fruits when just ready to drop off easily, but not over-ripe—do not bruide the fruit in gathering—lay it to sweat for a week in heaps, covered with mats, flannels, &c. Wipe each apple or pear, one by one, and place them in glazed stone-ware gallon jars, bedded in fine sifted sand, dried in an oven; fill up the jars with sand. Pack each sort by itself, label the jars and close them, and keep them in an airy loft, but protect from frost by covering them with a thick linen cloth.

N.B.—Eggs, fruit, and other things packed in straw acquire a very musty flavour. This, which is called being straw-tasted, may be avoided by using dried fern for packing.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her:

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

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