Preserving fruit and vegetables was one of the things that our 19th Century characters had to do, especially if they lived in a rural setting. Below is some information from "Mackenzie's Five Thousand Receipts" ©1846
To preserve pears.
Having prepared a number of earthen-ware jars, and a quantity of dry moss, place a layer of moss and pears alternately, till the jar is filled, then insert a plug, and seal around with melted rosin. These jars are sunk in dry sand to the depth of a foot; a deep cellar is preferable for keeping them to any fruit room.
Another method.—Choice apples and pears are preserved in glazed jars, provided with covers. In the bottom of the jars, and between each layer of fruit, put some pure pit-sand, which has been thoroughly dried. The jars are kept in a dry airy situation, as cool as possible, but secure from frost A label on the jar indicates the kind of fruit, and when wanted, it is taken from the jars, and placed for some time on the shelves of the fruit room. In this way colmarts, and other fine French
Jears, may be preserved till April; the terling till une: and many kinds of apples till July, the skin remaining.
To preserve apples and pears. The most successful method of preserving apples and pears, is by placing them in glazed earthen vessels, each containing about a gallon, and surrounding each fruit with paper. These vessels being perfect cylinders, about a foot each in height, stand very conveniently upon each other, and thus present the means of preserving a large quantity of fruit in a very small room; and if the space between the top ol one vessel and the base of another be filled with a cement composed two partsof the curd of skimmed milk, and one of lime, by which the air will be excluded, the later kinds of apples and pears will be preserved with little change in their appearance, and without any danger of decay, from October till February and March. A dry and cold situation, in which there is little change of temperature, is the best for the vessels; but the merits of the pears are greatly inci cased by their being taken from the vessels about ten days before they are wanted for use, and kept in a warm room, for warmth at this, as at other periods, accelerates the maturity of the pear.
To preserve various sorts of fruit. By covering some sorts of cherry, plum, gooseberry, and currant trees, either on walls or on ushes with mats, the fruit of the red and white currant, and of the thicker skinned gooseberrytrees, may be preserved till Christmas and later. Grapes, in the open air, may be preserved in the same manner; and peaches and nectarines may be kept a month hanging on the trees after they are ripe.
Arkwright, by late forcing, retains plump grapes on his vines till the beginning of May, and even later, till the maturity of his early crops. In this way, grapes may be gathered every day in the year.
Another method.—But the true way to preserve keeping-fruit, such as the apple and pear, is to put them in air-tight vessels, and place them in the fruit cellar, in a temperature between 32 and 40 degrees. In this way all the keeping sorts of these fruits may be preserved, in perfect order for eating, for one year after gathering.