Science in the Kitchen. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 914 pages of information about Science in the Kitchen..

TO DRY SWEET POTATOES.—­Carefully clean and drop them into boiling water.  Let them remain until the skins can be easily slipped off; then cut into slices and spread on racks to dry.  To prepare for cooking, soak over night, and boil the next day.


DESCRIPTION.—­The turnip belongs to the order Cruciferae, signifying “cross flowers,” so called because their four petals are arranged in the form of a cross.  It is a native of Europe and the temperate portions of Asia, growing wild in borders of fields and waste places.  The ancient Roman gastronomists considered the turnip, when prepared in the following manner, a dish fit for epicures:  “After boiling, extract the water from them, and season with cummin, rue or benzoin, pounded in a mortar; afterward add honey, vinegar, gravy, and boiled grapes.  Allow the whole to simmer, and serve.”

Under cultivation, the turnip forms an agreeable culinary esculent; but on account of the large proportion of water entering into its composition, its nutritive value is exceedingly low.  The Swedish, or Rutabaga, variety is rather more nutritive than the white, but its stronger flavor renders it less palatable.  Unlike the potato, the turnip contains no starch, but instead, a gelatinous substance called pectose, which during the boiling process is changed into a vegetable jelly called pectine.  The white lining just inside the skin is usually bitter; hence the tuber should be peeled sufficiently deep to remove it.  When well cooked, turnips are quite easily digested.

PREPARATION AND COOKING.—­Turnips are good for culinary purposes only from the time of their ripening till they begin to sprout.  The process of germination changes their proximate elements, and renders them less fit for food.  Select turnips which are plump and free from disease.  A turnip that is wilted, or that appears spongy, pithy, or cork-like when cut, is not fit for food.

Prepare turnips for cooking by thoroughly washing and scraping, if young and tender, or by paring if more mature.  If small, they may be cooked whole; if large, they should be cut across the grain into slices a half inch in thickness.  If cooked whole, care must be taken to select those of uniform size; and if sliced, the slices must be of equal thickness.


BOILED TURNIPS.—­Turnips, like other vegetables, should be boiled in as small an amount of water as possible.  Great care must be taken, however, that the kettle does not get dry, as scorched turnip is spoiled.  An excellent precaution, in order to keep them from scorching in case the water becomes low, is to place an inverted saucer or sauce-dish in the bottom of the kettle before putting in the turnips.  Put into boiling water, cook rapidly until sufficiently tender to pierce easily with a fork; too much cooking discolors and renders them strong in flavor.  Boiled turnips should be drained very thoroughly, and

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Science in the Kitchen. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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