Advice from November 1862

Advice from November 1862

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Below is a transcription from several articles I found in the Perrysburg Journal printed in November 1862.  I really think I will try the first one about the flowers and see what results I get.  I love to find articles from many years ago with advice that still might work today.

Perrysburg Journal – November 5, 1862

“TO OBTAIN FRESH BLOWN FLOWERS IN WINTER – Choose some of the most perfect buds of the flowers you would preserve such as are latest in blowing and ready to open, cut them off with a pair of scissors, leaving to each, if possible, a piece of the stem about three inches long; cover the end of the stem immediately with dealing wax, and when the buds are a little shrunk and wrinkled, wrap each of them up separately in a piece of paper, perfectly clean and dry, lock them up in a dry box or drawer; and then will keep without corrupting.  In winter, or at any other time; when you would have the flowers blow, take the buds at night and cut off the end of the stem sealed with wax, and put the buds into water wherein a little niter or salt have been defused and the pleasure of seeing the buds open and expand themselves, and the flowers display their most lively colors and breathe their agreeable odors.”

“HOW TO SELECT FLOUR – First look at the color; if it is white, with a slightly yellow or straw-colored tint, buy it; if it is very white with a bluish cast, or with black specks in it refuse it.  Second, examine its adhesiveness, wet and knead a little of it between your fingers; if it works soft and sticky, it is poor.  Third throw a piece of dry flour against a dry, smooth perpendicular surface; if it falls like powder it is bad.  Fourth, squeeze some of the flour in your hand; if it retains the shape given by the pressure, that too is a good sign.  Flour that withstand all these is safe to buy.  These modes are given by old flour-dealers, and they pertain to a matter that concerns every body, namely the staff of life.”

“CURING RANCID BUTTER – A correspondent of the Rural Register gives the following recipe for curing rancid butter:  For 100 pounds of rancid butter, take 2 pounds fine white powdered sugar, 2 ounces saltpeter finely pulverized, and as much fine dairy salt as you wish to add to the butter to make it to your taste.  The butter has to be thoroughly washed in cold water before working in the above ingredients.  The amount used should be in proportion to the strongness of the butter.”

Perrysburg Journal – November 12, 1862

“HOW TO KEEP SWEET POTATOES FOR WINTER AND SPRING USE – Select the first clear drying day after the frost blackens the vines.  With a grass hock or scythe cut off the vines and roll them out of the way.  Use a fork to lift out the tubers; lay them on the top of the ridge to dry.  Dig until noon, then begin to pack, taking those first dug.  Have dry barrels or boxes with plenty of dry cut straw ready; take straw and barrels to the field, put in first a layer of straw and then a layer of the sizable potatoes.  They must be handled as carefully and packed as nicely as eggs.  When full, cover with straw, and move carefully to a dry, warm room or cellar – if to a cellar, keep them up from the floor, and away from the wall; don’t move or disturb them in any way; moving brings on decay.  Keeping dry and warm is the great secret of success.”

“If you take fresh bones from the kitchen, and with a sledge on a rock, or any natural or artificial anvil, pound them up in small pieces, hens will eat them ravenously, and not only digest the bones and make a better manure of them than can be made in any other way, but they will themselves be greatly benefitted by them.  They will lay throughout the season with greater regularity than otherwise, and will fatten on the marrow within, and the fat and muscle will adhere to the bones.”

“STRONG CHARACTERS – Strength of character consists of two things, power of will and power of self-restraint.  It requires two things, therefore, for its existence, strong feelings and strong command over them.  Now it is here we make a great mistake; we mistake strong feelings for strong character.  A man who bears all before him before whose frown domestics tremble, and whose bursts of fury make the children of the household quake – because he has his will obeyed, and his own way in all things, we call him a strong man.  The truth is, that he is the weak man; it is his passions that are strong; he, mastered by them is weak.  You must measure the strength of a man by the power of the feelings he subdues, not the power of those that subdue him.  And hence composure is very often the highest result of strength.  Did we never see a man receive a flagrant insult and only grow a little pale, and then reply quietly?  That is a man spiritually strong.  Or did we never see a man in anguish stand, as if carved out of solid rock, mastering himself?  Or one, bearing a hopelessly daily trial, remain silent and never tell the world what cankered his home peace?  That is strength.  He who, with strong passions remains chaste; he who, keenly sensitive, with manly powers of indignation in him, can be provoked, and yet restrain  himself, and forgive – these are the strong men, the spiritual heroes. – Rev. F. W. Roberston.”

Perrysburg Journal – November 19, 1862

“THE WAY TO MAKE AN OMELET – It is surprising that a dish so easily prepared and so delicious as omelet has come into use to so small an extent in this country; there are extensive districts where it has never been heard of, and many housekeepers who meet with it in their travels never have it upon their own tables, because their cooks do not know how to prepare it.  Omelet is simply egg beaten and friend in butter.  Break three fresh eggs into a bowl, add a little pinch of salt and a teaspoonful of water, and beat the eggs thoroughly.  Then put a tablespoonful of good butter into a flat frying pan, and hold the pan over the fire with a handle a little elevated so as to incline the bottom at a small angle.  As soon as the pan is warm pour in the eggs, and as the mass begins to cook run a case knife under it to keep it from burning to the pan.  As soon as the surface is about dry fold one-half of the omelet over the other, and it is ready to serve.  It can be made in five minutes, and is an exceedingly delicate and delicious morsel.”

“EXCELLENT METHOD OF PRESERVING QUINCES – Pare, core with an apple corer your quinces, which should be fair, perfect ones; slice them, weigh them, and to every pound of fruit allow one pound of water sugar.  Place the sugar in a preserving kettle; add one pint water to every pound sugar; let it come to a boil; then throw in your quinces, and let them boil rapidly twenty-five minutes; take them out and boil the jelly five minutes longer.  Pour it boiling hot on the quinces and seal.  They will be light colored, tender and clear.”


“HOW TO STOW POTATOES AND PRESERVE THEM FROM ROT – Dust over the floor of the bin with lime and put about six or seven inches deep of potatoes, and dust with lime as before.  Put in six or seven inches more of potatoes and lime again; repeating the operation till all are stowed in that way.  One bushel of lime will do forty bushels of potatoes, though more will hurt them – the lime rather improving the flavor than otherwise. – Scientific American.”

Perrysburg Journal – November 26, 1862

“Keeping Potatoes (From the Germantown Telegraph.)  Owing to the fact that potatoes generally command a better price in the spring than in the fall, many of our farmers would prefer keeping them until then, but for the “trouble of keeping them.”  The main danger is of their rotting, but if kept dry this is not chargeable to their keeping, for the rot is in them when they leave the patch.  Some take precautions to prevent them from freezing, and these very precautions are the cause of their destruction.  In this, as in many other farming operations, we should endeavor to follow nature as much as possible.  I have often plowed up potatoes in the spring which have remained in the ground all winter with but two or three inches of earth on top of them, and yet they were as good as when fresh dug.  I will hazard the assertion that freezing will not injure potatoes, or any other root or fruit; it is the thawing which does the damage, and not the freezing, as is generally supposed.  Nor will gradual thawing hurt them; but it is only when the thawing is too sudden that they are injured.  If we take two frozen potatoes, apples or other fruit, and place one under the stove and the other in water a little above freezing point, we will find that the former will be spoiled, while the latter is not injured, because with it the thawing is done gradually.  Potatoes may be heaped up in the patch and covered with two or three inches of dirt well packed down, and will keep in spite of a dozen freezings and thawing, if kept dry.  If kept in the cellar it should be in a tight box with a lid, that they may always be in the dark to prevent sprouting; for it they once being to sprout, the starch which gives them their mealiness is changed into other compounds more favorable to the vegetation of the spouts.  If while the potatoes are in the cellar they should freeze, do not wait for them to thaw but cover them with straw, old clothes, shavings or sawdust, and let them thaw gradually, and they will come out good.  This will apply to turnips or any other root, as well as to apples and other fruits.  The main item is to keep them dry, and if buried to provide drains to carry away the water from the heaps.”

“HEALTHFULNESS OF APPLES – There is scarcely an article of vegetable food, says Hall’s Journal of Heath, more widely useful and universally loved, than the apple.  Why every farmer in the nation has not an orchard where trees will grow at all, is one of the mysteries.  Let every family lay in from two to ten or more barrels, and it will be to them the most economical investment in the whole range of culinaries.  A raw, mellow apple is digested in an hour and a half, while boiled cabbage requires five hours.  The most healthy desert that can be placed on the table is a baked apple.  If taken freely at breakfast, with coarse bread and butter, without meat or flesh of any kind, it has an admirable effect on the general system of a person, often removed constipation, correcting acidities and cooling off febrile conditions more effectually than the most approved medicines.  If families could be induced to substitute the apple – sound, ripe and luscious – for pie, cakes, candies and sweetmeats with which their children are too often indiscreetly stuffed, there would be a diminution in the sum total of doctors’ bills in a single year, sufficient to lay in a stock of this delicious fruit for a while season’s use.”

“TO PRESERVE EGGS FRESH FOR SIX MONTHS.  The Irish Farmer’s Gazette says: Have a vessel of boiling water on the fire, put the eggs into a net, or better, into one of those wire baskets for boiling vegetables; hold it in the boiling water for half a minute; take out the eggs and rub them all over with a little fresh lard; pack them with the little end downwards in a glazed crock and cover them with coarse salt.  They will keep perfectly fresh for six months; but will not do well for culinary purposes, as the whites will not beat up from being in the boiling water.”

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