The preserving of food has, over the years, taken on many guises. Amongst the more common methods are drying, salting, smoking, pickling and canning. The main aim of preservation is to prevent the spread of natural bacteria and thus turning the food ‘bad’. The most common method today is cooling or freezing, either in a refrigerator or freezer. The roots of the domestic refrigerator go back to 1856 when James Harrison patented an ice making machine. Prior to this ice houses were used by the very rich to store imported ice for domestic use. By 1913 the domestic refrigerator had truly arrived with a unit that was cooled by an ice box.
But the preservation of various types of foodstuffs had been around for many years prior to the launch of the refrigerator. The French word confit from confire means ‘preserved’. This method involves cooking at a low temperature over a long period in an oil or sugar base. Today preserves refer to many types of jam or jelly but may include more savoury curds or chutneys. The key to jam making is to use heat and sugar to activate a chemical in fruit called pectin. Pectin is a natural substance and acts as a gelling agent binding the fruit together in the associated syrup. In the US and Canada jelly refers to a clear or translucent fruit spread similar to the UK’s jam. In the UK and other parts of the world jelly is a fruit dessert. Citrus fruits are particularly high in pectin and marmalade made from oranges is a popular preserve. Here it is the peel rather than the flesh of the fruit that is used.
As mentioned above the key to preserving is the prevention of bacteria and dairy products are particularly susceptible. The biggest clue is the pungent smell given off by cheese or milk that has ‘turned’. Today there are various ways of commercially treating milk to prolong it’s life including pasteurisation and UHT sterilisation. Prior to these process, and in home produced milk, it was recognised that milk could be the source of disease such as tuberculosis. As it was recognised that the only way into the milk was from the air, it was imperative to exclude air from the milk as much as possible, hence the use of milk jug covers.
We can offer a range of traditional style patterns to create a feeling of days gone by for your milk jugs, or an extra special touch for your own homemade preserves or maybe for those items in your dolls house.
Patterns available in 1:12th scale (for dolls houses):
1:12th scale crochet jug and bowl covers
1:12th scale crochet ovengloves and jam jar covers