Mold -

The common name for several varieties of minute, thread-like fungi which reproduce themselves by spores or seed dust. They grow on almost anything that is moist or damp and secluded from direct light-rays, but they flourish best on soft articles, such as bread, cheese, fruits, etc., which permit the threads to strike down into them. On harder substances, such as leather, they achieve only a stunted growth and are then popularly known as "mildew." Dampness, warmth and seclusion are the principal incentives for their growth - so dryness, low temperature and good air circulation form the best preventives.

Molds especially favor acid foods, hence their predilection for many fruits and the fact that even pickles put up in strong vinegar will mold if exposed to the air, though they are, until "moldy," entirely exempt from the growth of yeasts or bacteria.

Absolutely dry foods, as flour, crackers, etc., kept in a dry temperature, afford no soil for Molds - but any moisture in the air will speedily render them liable to invasion.

Special varieties of mold are used in the ripening of Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton and similar cheese, but with this exception, they are not generally employed in the manufacture or preparation of food. Their propagation and growth - as of all micro-organisms - should always in any event be prevented by retailers and in the household.

During their first growth, Molds are generally soft and fluffy in appearance and white in color. As they develop and the threads stretch down into the article in which they have taken root and branch out in all directions, the surface and other parts most affected soon present a dense mass. When they commence to "fruit" and form seeds, the general surface is changed to various colors - Blue, brown, white, etc. - the most common being the bluish-green of the Blue mold which particularly affects bread, cheese and other foods, as well as many other articles.

If allowed to continue its growth, mold destroys the food by its own consumption and with the aid of bacteria, but in its early stages it does not render it unwholesome. The appearance of decay and the musty smell are unpleasant to the eye and nose, but mold has not the putrefactive qualities of bacterial life and if the affected part is removed before the growth has continued too long and the remainder is subjected to baking or boiling, according to individual circumstances, the food can often be saved for use.

mold spore is present everywhere. Moderately dry food can be saved from its growth by the exercise of proper care, unless the climate or surroundings are especially damp, but articles such as fruits, which are inherently moist and which cannot be frozen without injury, are very difficult to hold in a raw condition for any considerable length of time. cold storage is the only sure protection, and then in many cases for only a limited term.

Thick-skinned fruits, such as apples, oranges, etc., may be kept for a comparatively long time without cold storage facilities if the conditions are favorable - if they have not been bruised, so as to let the mold get through the skin, if the cellar or other storage place is dry, cool and well ventilated, and if imperfect fruits are promptly removed and others are occasionally wiped off to remove mold spores and sweat. All these precautions are, though, insufficient for thin-skinned fruits, and the last is, of course, impracticable in the case of berries and other small fruits, the only recourse being to consume them as fresh as possible or to make them into sauces, jams or some other form of preserves.

Arround Mold in The Grocer's Encyclopedia

Molasses Sugarhome

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