NEW PRESERVING PROCESS
( That the supply of the teeming popula ] tions of the Old World with the produce of the new, as well m meat and dairy products as m grain and flour, is destined yet to constitute s commerce of which we have so far seen only the beginnings, is every day increasingly manifest ; and any discovery which tends to facilitate that commerce, to reduce the cost of preservation and transit, and so to secure to the producer the largest possible share of the price paid by the consumer, is of the utmost interest and importance. Even under the present system of freezing on ship- ] board, expensive as it is, the trade m frozen meat and produce is being carried on with profit to the producer, yet as the cost of freezing and freight now swallows up 50 per cent, of the gross proceeds, it is not difficult to see what an immense boon it would be to the producer, what an enormous impetus it would give to production, if the exports m question could be prepared for and conveyed to market at half, or less than half, the present charges. Take frozen mutton for instance. Under such a changed state of things where the producer now nettp 2_d per lb out of 4^d, he would then nett 3Jd, or 17s 6d for a 601bs sheep, beside the value of the pelt, or say £1 a head r>or sheep as a minimum price. And there really seems a prospect of this coming about under the new process of preserving, a short reference to which (copied from the " Sydney Morning Herald") was recently republished m our columns. That there is something m it may be gathered from the fact that the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company have received intimation from their London office that it is understood that patents have been taken out for Australasia and elsewhere, and that under the new process it is claimed that carcases of mutton may be safely brought from the colonies to England without the aid of refrigerators. The " Financial World " has an article on the subject, detailing the results of a visit of inspection to the establishment of the patentees, and giving a description of the process, the following extract from which will no doubt be read with interest : — " On the occasion of our visit to the temporary show rooms m Queen Victoria street, we found a most varied selection of perishable articles, all of whioh had been treated by the process, and all as fresh aud sweet as they could possibly be. An enumeration of some of theße articles will speak for itself. We saw canvas-back ducks which had been killed four months ago, a fat goose which went the way of all geese 21 days previously, a loin of pork which had been hanging for 19 days, eggs still fresh though kept for periods varying from 21 days to 10 months, and eels, whiting, and soles preserved a fortnight ago. Oysters, though opened twelve days, retained all their flavor ; a pineapple, one of the most unstable of fruits, had its perfume and showed no signs of rottenness, yet its purchase took place more than a fortnight ago ; while a ham whioh had arrived m process of decomposition, as certified by the curers, was a testimony to the antiseptic qualities of the preservative, since the decomposition waa arrested, and the meat smelt perfectly sound and good. The process is not merely confined to solids ; we saw milk whioh had been kept 19 days, and which ~g»yc — a -uicara after tretrrg- — agltatufl, showing that its properties and constituents remained unaltered. The peculiarity of this preservative is that the materials treated remain almost unaltered to the eye, and require no special care beyond banging up m the ordinary way. The fish need only be treated as the fishmonger treats the fish which he buys from market ; that is, watered once or twice a day to keep moist. The joints, poultry, and game need be hung up only. Indeed, the patentees claim, as regards meat, that carcases treated by their process can be conveyed by ship without the rifck of bruising, a contingency which has to be guarded against m the case of frozen meat. While on this point we may mention that we saw the hind-quarter of an ox and a whole sheep which had been treated by the process, and it was noteworthy that, although the day was moist and muggy, the surface of the meat was dry and firm to the touch. The only difference j we could detect between the fresh and the preserved samples was hat there was a slight tendency to hkat ing j the flavour remained the same, as v/e found by trying an oyster which ha I been opened several days. Anotlu-.r peculiarity, we are assured, is tvat the preserved food when cooked still retains i its keeping qualities, and if so this will be an immense gain. As to the process itself t Briefly speaking, it is, we learn, the expulsion of the air irom every vessel and cell, no matter how minute, m the article to be pre- . served, and the substitution of an antiseptic vapour, which acts as the preservative. As to what this vapour is, we offer no opinion. The preserving chamber consists of an air-tight cabinet i divided into an upper and lower portion. The upper portion, which is muoh smaller than the lower, is divided into three divisions. In the centre division ; is placed the preservative, and m the other tffo blocks of ice to regulate the temperature. In the lower and larger portion of the cabinet are hung the articles to be preserved. The preserva- i tive is a powder of a yellow hue, tasteless, but having the aroma of cinnamon. Three plates of this powder were soon lighted, and placed m the proper chamber, which, like the others, is practically air-tight The process which went on is this ; The powder burnt so long as there was any oxygen to support the flame. This abstraction of oxygen necessarily produced a vacuum, and any particle of air contained m the articles of food was also abstracted. The vapour of the preservative, being extremely heavy, descended into the chamber below, and gradually permeated the food, an operation which took from two to more hours, according to the size. This, we were assured, constituted the' whole process, and certainly it appeared simple, logical, and economical. The question will naturally arise, what proof had we that the articles of food mentioned above had been kept for the period stated? On this point we cannot speak of our own knowledge, but we may mention that several of the samples had been sealed by the owners so as to prove the identity beyond dispute. The I patentees are extremely anxious that their process should be tested m every possible form, and, as one means of doing this, we have now m onr possession a
I couple of chops which we bought our- ! selves, caw placed m tbe preserving chamber on Wednesday, and which we intend to keep for a time sufficiently long to convince us that the process is no mere experiment, but that it is of practical utility. I n a fortnight or three weeks' time we hope to publish the result of our test. Tn the meantime we were favorably, if not profoundly, impressed by the experiments and teats we witnessed, and as the invention is m strong hands we are sure to hear more about it at an early date."
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