Today’s story could be included in the Extreme Kitchen DIY series, or alternatively it is an interesting addition to previous posts on methods of preserving in the days before refrigeration and commercial canning.
Here are several methods of preserving cream, which is an especially useful product to relieve the dinner-boredom of long sea-voyages or camping trips.
To preserve Cream for Steamboats or Sea Voyages.
Mix fresh rich cream with half its weight of loaf sugar; cork it tight in bottles. When used, no sweetening need be added.
The Improved Housewife, Or, Book of Receipts,
Mrs. A.L.Webster (Hartford, 1853)
[To Preserve Cream, and Syrup of Cream.]
Cream already skimmed may be preserved sweet, for twenty-four hours. Scald it, then add as much double refined sugar as will make it pretty sweet, then set in a cool place. Syrup of cream may be prepared in the same way; putting one pound and a quarter of sugar to a pint of fresh cream, set it away in a cool place for three hours ; have ready nice two-ounce phials, and, after filling, cork close, and tie down with leather. Thus prepared, it will remain good for two weeks. This is excellent for a voyage to sea.
The orphan's friend and housekeeper's assistant is composed upon temperance principles: with instructions in the art of making plain and fancy cakes, puddings, pastry confectionery, ice creams, jellies, blanc mange : also for the cooking of all the various meats and vegetables : with a variety of useful information and receipts never before published,
Ann H. Allen (Boston, 1845)
To preserve Cream for Sea Store.
Put a pound of refined sugar into a full quart bottle, and fill it nearly full of rich cream, that has only stood twelve hours; cork it well, wrap it in a cloth, put it into a saucepan of cold water, and let it simmer, not boil, till the sugar is quite dissolved and incorporated: have a cork that fits well. When it is to be used, take out a little, and cork it immediately, and immerse the bottle head downwards in water, and it will continue good during short voyages; but if left open on the breakfast table, and handled with warm hands, it will be apt to spoil. Keep it as short a time out of the water as possible.
Domestic Economy, and Cookery, for Rich and Poor: Containing an Account of the Best English, Scotch, French, Oriental, and Other Foreign Dishes,
by Maria Eliza Rundell (London, 1827)
My own suggestion for extending the shelf-life of cream would be to churn it into butter – but I guess that doesn’t count, as it is no longer cream.
I love the first one--"When used, no sweetening need be added." Duh! You added half its weight in sugar! :)
I know "temperence" refers to alcohol, but it's still kind of fun to see the list of things covered in the book: "plain and fancy cakes, puddings, pastry confectionery, ice creams, jellies...." Not temperence in all things, thank goodness!
...and what about culturing that cream into creme fraiche or cream cheese?
very successful, possibly not long enough for a sea voyage, but long enough for a camel trip on the silk road surely...
Well, the one where the vials once stoppered and heated are suspended bottom up in water works on the same principal of canning and sealing with wax while hot - once sterile excluding any air keeps the liquid sterile so it will not rot. I personally would just prefer to do without. But then again I am not the type person to require my native bearers to haul along a bathtub so I could bathe every evening, and a full china, silver and crystal dinner setup complete with table linens ...
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