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Care of Foods

Several important points must be borne in mind if foods are to be kept in a good condition. Most foods change easily. Vegetables and fruits lose water, wilt, and become unfit to eat. Flour and corn-meal become mouldy. Potatoes decay and sprout. Some foods, such as milk, turn sour. Eggs become tainted, and fat grows rancid. With proper care in handling, storing, and keeping, this spoiling can be prevented.

The spoiling of foods is due to the presence of micro-organisms; and if foods are fresh and sound and kept cool and clean in every way, they will not spoil readily, because such conditions are unfavourable to the development of the micro-organisms. On the other hand, if foods are roughly handled and bruised, decomposition will take place readily, for micro-organisms develop in the bruised portions. Care must, therefore, be taken to select foods wisely, handle them carefully, wash them if they are not already clean, put them in clean receptacles, and keep them in a clean, cool place. All pots, pans, and dishes in which foods are kept or cooked should be thoroughly cleansed and rinsed well, so that no fragments stick to them which may decay and cause possible infection to the next food that is put in. Every part of the kitchen and store-rooms should be kept clean, dry, and well aired. Light is the best germicide and purifier known.

Covered receptacles should be secured for all foods. Those that are mouse-proof and insect-proof are essential to a well-kept pantry. All bottles and cans should be neatly labelled and so arranged that each one can be conveniently reached. The outside of the bottle or case should always be wiped off after it has been opened and food has been removed from it. The shelves on which the cases are kept should be wiped off every day. If supplies of fruit or vegetables are kept on hand, they should be looked over frequently, and whatever shows even the slightest suggestion of spoiling should be removed. Bread should be kept in a covered tin box, and the box should be washed out once or twice a week and frequently scalded and aired.


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Household Science in Rural Schools (1918).

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