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Home and Farm Food Preservation
Chapter VIII - Fruit and other Sirups

Many fruits and other substances may be used as sources of sugary liquids which may be evaporated to sirups suitable for cooking and table use. In most cases the ordinary kitchen utensils will be all that is required in the way of equipment.

33. Sources of Sirups. Maple, sugar, beet, cane, and sweet sorghum saps; grape, apple, peach, prune and some other fruit juices can all be used as sources of table and cooking sirups. They can be prepared with ordinary kitchen equipment. Such sirups will be more or less dark colored and will not be equal in flavor to the best grades of commercially prepared table sirup, but still very palatable sirups can be produced in the home.

34. Clearing the Juice. The juices should be expressed as for fruit juices. The juice should be made as clear as possible before concentration by heating to boiling for a short time with clarifying agents as described in paragraph 30 or by filtration after boiling. The clearer the juice is before concentration the more attractive will the sirup be. The juice will filter more rapidly hot than cold.

35. Deacidification. Some juices are improved for table use by removing a portion of the acidity before concentration. This is especially true of grape, sorghum, and apple juices. Precipitated chalk will combine with and remove fruit acids. It maybe obtained at any drug store.

The acidity must not be completely neutralized or the sirup will be very dark colored and of poor flavor. Partial deacidification is best accomplished as follows:

The cleared juice is divided into two portions, one equivalent to three-fourths and the other one-quarter of the total. To each gallon of the larger portion is added an ounce of the chalk. It is heated with constant stirring to boiling. It is then removed from the fire and allowed to stand twenty-four hours. The clear juice is poured off from the sediment and filtered. The sediment may be filtered to recover the juice contained in it.

To the treated juice is added the untreated portion. This will give a combined juice of one-fourth the acidity of the original fresh juice.

Juices of very low acid need not be treated with chalk.

36. Concentration. The sirup must be boiled down until it will test 700 Brix or Balling or 37 Baum6 in order that it will contain enough sugar to prevent spoiling. The concentration should be carried out as rapidly as possible in shallow vessels to minimize scorching the sirup and darkening the color.

Large factories carry out the concentrating process under a vacuum, which causes the juice to boil at a lower temperature than 212 F. This prevents darkening of the color and scorching. Vacuum evaporators are too expensive for small scale operations and the housewife or farmer must use open pans or kettles.
The shallower the pan, the more rapid the evaporation will be and the less the injury to flavor and color. A large rectangular tin lined pan built in over a brick furnace can be used for larger scale work. These pans are usually so arranged by partitions that the juice may be added at the upper end of the pan and sirup will flow from the lower end, the excess water being boiled off as the juice flows from the upper to the lower end.

During evaporation, samples of the sirup should be taken and transferred to a tall jar and tested with a hydrometer. A tall olive bottle or tall narrow can will answer for a hydrometer jar. The hydrometer may be purchased from any chemical supply house for about fifty to seventy-five cents or through a drug store. The druggist will usually order one on request. The Brix or Balling hydrometers ordered should read from 0 to 70 and the Baume from 0 to 50. A glass cylinder for the hydrometer, if desired, can be obtained for about fifty cents. If the purchase of a tester is not deemed worth while the sirup is simply boiled down to a very thick consistency. It may also be boiled down only partially and sealed in jars or bottles boiling hot. If this is done the sirup will keep with less than 65% sugar.

Sun Evaporation: Sirup may also be made by evaporation in the sun by the Waterhouse method. The clear juice is placed in a broad shallow pan or in a shallow wooden trough. Above this is hung a number of lines from which hang pieces of cheese cloth. The whole apparatus is placed in the open. The cheese cloth is dipped in the juice and hung on the lines. The air and sun quickly dry the juice on the cloth to a sirup. The cloths are then dipped in the juice and the sirup wrung out into the juice. They are again wet with the juice and hung up to dry. The process is repeated until the consistency of a heavy sirup is reached. This process was developed by Addison G. Waterhouse, and was patented by him a number of years ago. He devised a number of methods by which the cheesecloth was made in the form of a long endless belt which revolved slowly. It passed through the juice at one end of the circuit and through rollers at the other end which squeezed out the evaporated juice.

The method is easy of application and inexpensive. (See Fig. 29.)

37. Storing the Sirup. If concentrated so that the juice will test 700 Balling or Brix or 370 Baume when cold, the sirup may be stored in any sort of tin, glass, or wooden container without sterilization. If less concentrated than this, it should be poured boiling hot into scalded jars, bottles, or cans, and sealed hot. It will then keep indefinitely.

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