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Evaporators and Fruit Evaporation.
By J. SUTTON,
For some time past the attention of the fruit-growing industry has been frequently directed by writers in all the agricultural and horticultural journals to the system of drying fruit, either by the sun or evaporating machines, and to emphasise their remarks they have referred to the development of this industry in America, where it has reached immense proportions, especially in California, where the regularity of their climate enables them to sun-dry with no fear of those sudden changes to which we in this Colony are subjected.
For the last two seasons I have, with partial success, dried apricots in the sun, but the frequency of rain made it most difficult, and had I not an
evaporator at hand I should have lost all my last batch. The machine used by me is illustrated above, and is the “Little Wonder”Patent Evaporator, that took special first prize at the last Royal Agricultural Society's Show, where it attracted a great deal of attention from the pullic, as well as those interested in fruit. This machine has been constructed to suit our Australian needs, and contains several features at variance with any that have been thus far placed before the public, features that add to its efficiency and ease of manipulation. Finding from experience that to reduce the logs in our bush to sizes required by other machines was no“ labour of love," I determined, if possible, to save myself this trouble, and as a result designed and made the “Little Wonder," in which I have burnt logs 18 feet long and over 6 inches thick. Having done this, my readers will doubtless agree that the chopping problem has been
solved at any rate. To test the heat or exainine fruit it has always been necessary to open the door of the drier, which checks the drying to some extent, but in this evaporator there is no need to do that, as a thermometer can be inserted in the centre of the greatest beat, and be withdrawn without opening. There is also a glass panel back and front, so that the fruit can be seen right across the trays, and thus avoid peedlessly interfering with the process of evaporation. This glass panel has another point in its favour, as the air in the machine, if too heavily charged with moisture, condenses upon it, and shows to the operator the necessity of increasing the draught, which he can easily do by manipulating the slides
that are provided for this purpose at the bottom, and by opening the louvres in the top of the front of the drier, to further assist ventilation a double chimcey hits been constructed, the inner one for smoke, the heat passing through which raises the temperature of the air in the outer one, which in consequence rushes out at the top, drawing the damp air from the drying fruit. These various improvements all help to make these machines more serviceable and more easily managed than more complicated and expensive ones. The aim has been to perfect an apparatus that can be easily attended to by even the smaller members of the family, enabling them to save, with the least possible trouble, that shameful waste in our orchards that has so long been a disgrace to our producers. They are not intended for wholesale work, but to enable our individual orchardists to help themselves, and are made to take 1, 2, 3, or 4 bushels at a time. The fruit turned out by them in three or four hours has been declared by experts to be as good as it can be, which I am disposed to consider is good enough for anything.
It would be well to impress upon my readers that fruit-drying, like every other industry, can never be made a success without a certain amount of trouble. But knowing the aversion of the majority to take the necessary care to insure this result a sulphur chamber has been constructed to suit each machine, that makes this process very simple, and still further to smooth the way a salphur cartridge has been made at a small cost, which makes its ignition a certainty, thus it will be seen the whole arrangement is compiete, and, with ordinary intelligence, and no extraordinary exertion, success is assured.
To prepare fruit for the evaporator most of it has to be submitted to the fumes of sulphur, which not only improves its appearance, but renders it less liable to the attacks of insects, who are always ready to interfere with any form of fruit.
At the present time the majority of our people are practically ignorant of the advantages of this dessicating process, or the difference between dried and evaporated fruit; the article designated dried fruit is simply sun dried, and though this is a great deal better than no drying at all, it will not compare with the evaporated or machine-dried product; apples for instance that are simply sun-dried will absorb the moisture from the atmosphere when esposed, and in consequence if a spell of wet weather is about it will very soon begin to swell, and if not used will turn mouldy, but in the evaporated article the high temperature to which the fruit is subjected alters the chemical nature of its constituent parts, so that it is less liable to these influences, and beyond this all vegetable and animal germs are destroyed, which is not the case under the other process.
There is one point that needs to be strongly impressed upon all those interested in this evaporating business. It is the restoration of the fruit to a condition suitable for use. A great many are ignorant of this, simple as it is, and in consequence, when attempting to utilise the product, find their efforts unsuccessful, and at once condemn the material. A little reflection might tell any one that the water only having been taken away all that is necessary is to put it back again. This is the substance of the process; but to put it more explicitly one would say first rinse the fruit, then set ill soak in plenty of water for ten to fifteen hours ; after that cook as you please, making use of the water in which it bas been soaking.
In considering the advantage of evaporating it must not be forgotten that instead of increasing bulk of fruit as in canning it is inaterially lessened, in fact 100 lb. of green fruit after evaporation would weigh seven or eight times
comel product, but yet contain the same food value, a very great consideration when it has to be carried any distance: then there would be no fear of the action of the fruit acids upon the tin ; very little capital is required, as there is no sugar to buy, and much less expensive plant to conduct the industry, no mean consideration in these times of depressions.
Talking of depression! why there is enough good produce allowed to go to waste around us, which, if utilised, would take off half its acuteness.
this state of things. The time when twenty apples would fetch a golden sovereign are gone, never to return, and the sooner those interested in fruit recognise this and see the necessity of scraping together the coppers the better for them.
In this industry that I am seeking to push ahead there is no gold mine, but a means of saving coppers which will in time accumulate to a value equal to that of the royal metal. If the drying is carried out by members of the family the whole of products can be looked upon as gain, for unless thus saved they would mostly go waste, not even to feed pigs.
There is one danger ahead against which I would warn those who are disposed to act upon my suggestion and try evaporating. With the multiplication of driers there will be a multiplication of sellers of dried produce, and should they each act independently the consequence will be the excessive competition will place them entirely at the mercy of buyers. Many will neglect to properly grade and pack their fruit for market, and this, together with excessive competition, will depreciate the value of dried
will be necessary for driers to co-operate in putting up fruit of standard quality, and in the distribution of the fruit when dried. This will tend to remove the stigma (too long justified) upon colonial produce, as by turning out an article equal to or even superior to any other to be obtained, there will be less inducement to resort to the vicious practice that some have adopted of labelling their goods as the produce of another land.
We have material equal to that obtainable anywhere for all ordinary purposes, and last season fruit dried by me from the unsaleable and waste fruit of our local orchards took first prizes everywhere shown, everyone acknowledging that it could not be better. If, therefore, our waste products give such a result, what may be expected froin the good surplus fruits that now return to the grower no profit, and not ivfrequently a demand from salesmen for expenses incurred in giving it away
There might be some excuse for lack of progress in the past, as there was a great difficulty in getting the appliances, besides their great cost. There was also an uncertainty as to the class of goods we were capable of turning out, but now that both these hindrances have been removed, and appliances have been provided specially to suit ourselves, and the products have been tested with the most satisfactory results, the market has been opened, and all that is now needed is for those who have so long halted to halt no longer, but make use of the opportunities and experience now placed at their disposal.
BY ALBERT GALE.
The Inmates and Economy of the Hive.-The Working Bee. WORKING bees at home are the rank and file of the hive; the architects, the builders, the preparers of building materials, the purveyors, the cooks, the nurses, the inspectors of nuisances, the scavengers, the sentinels and the defenders. All and every bee when at home has to fulfil these and many other duties at some time during her indoor life, from the day she escapes from the chrysalis till she goes out to procure home supplies.
“ The working female, say Kerly and Spence, is zealous for the good of the community, a defender of public rights, enjoying an immunity from the stimulus of sexual appetite, and the pains of parturition, laborious, industrious, patient, ingenious, skilful; incessantly engaged in the nurture of the young, in collecting of honey and pollen, in elaborating was, in constructing cells and the like. Paying most respectful and assiduous attention to objects (queen bees), which, had her ovaries been developed, she would have hated and pursued with the most vindictive fury till she had utterly destroyed them.” Abroad they are the foragers, collecting pollen to
A Working Bee. supply the juveniles at home with bee bread, honey for winter stores, and propolis to glue up cracks, and cementing foreign intruding substances that are too cumbersome to remove bodily or too tenacious to be removed piecemeal. Abroad they are one of the great fertilisers of the vegetable world. They are our forest makers, our orchardists, our florists. As forest-makers, they perpetuate the species of trees and plants upon which they work. As fruit-producers, they are constantly improving their form, their colour, their flavour, and their season. As Horists, they are ever varying our flowers in shape, in perfume, in colour, in tint, in streak, and in freckle. They are constantly reproducing old colours and fashionable combinations thereof, and suffusing them with the most attractire shades to please the searcher for novelties in the floral world.
In the chapter on queen-bees we named the workers as incomplete females ; we now propose to follow the latter, watching the changes she undergoes in ber transition stages from egg to imago, noting how she performs her various home duties, and following her into the field, the orchard, and the garden, and watching her in nature's workshops elaborating new varieties of flowers and fruits.
The fecundation of the mother bee by the drone is the first element in differentiating the sexual character of the egg-gerin in the ovary of the queen-bee. Swammerdam, an old entomologist, on noting a strong odour, emanating from drone bees, was under the impression that the said odour permeated the body of the queen-bee, and in this way the eggs were fertilised. Francis Huber, experimenting with the theory, contined a number of drones in a perforated box. Placing this box of drones within a hive, from which all drones had been excluded, and confining a virgin queen within the same hive. Needless to say, with our present knowledge of the domesticated bee, she became a drone-breeder.
The egg, after fertilisation and the treatment it receives after it is deposited in the worker-cell, produces one of the rank and file. While in this cell it is termed a “worker-egg." A misnomer introduced into the bee-keeper's vocabulary before the scientific knowledge of the economy of the hive bee was so well understood as at present.
There are such things as worker-eggs. They are the produce of a fertileworker, but these eggs always develop drone-bees.
The queen-bee, after she has satisfied herself that the cell she has selected is wholly untenanted and cleaned ready for the reception of an egg, places her abdomen therein, and after it is withdrawn we see fixed at the base of the cell, and parallel to its sides, an elongated pearly-white egg, one end being rather larger than the other.
In the larger end there is a minute doorway (micropyle) by means of which the sexual character of the embryo drone-bee contained therein can be differentiated. These eggs remain in the position in which they were deposited, and then gradually alter it until they are lying parallel to the base of the cell, which occupies about two more days to complete its final position. The heat necessary to hatch these eggs and for their after development should not be less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Draughty hives have much to answer for in preventing early spring swarms. So also has the too common practice of leaving the supers on the hrood-chamber without an intervening warm quilt between the two boxes. The more snugly in the brood.chamber the bees are kept during the winter months and early spring, the sooner will early swarms issue, always providing the old stock has been kept numerically strong since the previous autumn. If "the early bird gets the first worm,” it is the early swarm that gets the most honey.
When the inmate of the egg hatches out, a little whitish worm is seen lying on the bottom of the cell and parallel to it. As soon as the little
inmates are liberated from the egg-covering they are supplied with a white semi-transparent fluid by the nursing beos. After receiving this food they