Bottling

Bottling is a method of preserving fruit in sterilized and hermetically sealed jars. Properly prepared, the fruit will keep for a long time provided it is stored in a cool, dark place.

It is generally considered unsafe to bottle vegetables in a water bath or in the oven, since the temperature reached is not high enough to kill the yeasts, moulds and bacteria. Vegetable bottling, therefore, must be done in a pressure cooker where a sufficiently high temperature can be reached. It is not, however, recommended that vegetables be bottled at home.

There are two important precautions to take when bottling fruit. First, the fruit must be heated properly to destroy any yeasts, moulds or bacteria. Second, the bottles must be absolutely airtight.

There are three kinds of jars suitable for bottling-Kilner jars, snap-closed jars and jars with a Porosan metal cap. The jars should not be cracked or nicked at the edges and the covers must fit perfectly. The rubber rings should be exactly the right size and, to make sure that they are as elastic as they should be, they should be soaked in water for 10 minutes and then dipped in boiling water just before using.

A pair of tongs for lifting the jars, a long-handled wooden spoon and a bottle brush will also be needed.

Whatever vessel you use for sterilizing must be fitted with a rack or raised inner bottom to prevent the jars from coming into contact with the heated base of the pan, which will crack them.

Complete sterilizers with thermometers and raised inner bottoms can be bought, but a large pan or even a thick metal bucket will do.

Wash and, if necessary, hull the fruit, discarding any which is bruised or over-ripe. Raspberries, blackberries and loganberries should first be soaked in a salt and water solution to draw out any maggots or grubs, and then carefully washed and drained in a colander. Peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines may be bottled whole or halved and stoned. Pears and apples may be halved or quartered and cored, or they can be bottled whole.

Fruit may be bottled in water or syrup. However, fruit bottled in syrup generally has a better flavour. The syrup may be thin, medium or thick, depending on the tartness of the fruit being used. For a thin syrup, use

4 ounces of sugar to

1 pint of water. For a medium syrup, use

8 ounces of sugar to

1 pint of water. For a thick syrup, the proportions are

1 pound of sugar to

1 pint of water. Average proportions are 8 ounces of sugar to pint of water. This is suitable for all but very acid fruits, such as blackcurrants and damsons.

Tomatoes, unlike other fruits, are not bottled in syrup. Tomatoes may be bottled whole, peeled or unpeeled, peeled and pulped in their own juice or as a puree. If they are to be bottled whole, they should be covered in hot or cold brine. To make the brine, add 1 table-spoon of salt and ½ tablespoon of sugar to 2 pints of water and bring to the boil.

Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, rinse them in cold water, then drain them, leaving the insides wet. Fill the jars with the prepared fruit, packing it in carefully and tightly, using the handle of a wooden spoon if necessary. Leave inch between the top of the fruit and the cover.

There are six methods of bottling. 1. Slow Heating in a Water Bath For this method you require a pan which is deep enough for the jars to be completely immersed in water and which has a rack or inner bottom. Wash the jars, drain them and then fill them with fruit. Pour in the cold syrup or water. Put on the rubber rings and lids tightly, then very slightly loosen the screw-bands or grips on the lids to allow for expansion.

Stand the scaled jars in the pan so that they do not touch each other or the sides of the pan. Completely cover the jars with cold water, cover the pan (if it does not have a lid, use a pastry board) and heat the water slowly. Sec the processing chart for times and temperatures.

Using the tongs, lift the jars out of the pan, one at a time, and stand them Carefully, but tightly, pack the fruit into the prepared jars.

Depending on the fruit used, top up the jars with syrup, water or brine.

After bottling, test the seals by lifting the jars by the lids.

Fruit processing chart

Preparation Method 1 Method 2 Method 3 Method 4 Method

Temp. °F. Time maintained min. Temp. °F. Time maintained min. Time maintained at Sib. pressure min. Time

1-4lb

5-10lb. min. min. Time

1-4lb

5-10lb min. min.

Apples (in syrup) Peel, core and slice. Keep under salted water (1 level tablespoon salt to 1 quart water). Drain and rinse before bottling. 165 10 190 1 30-40 45- Apples (solid pack)

Apricots Prepare as above. Blanch in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes or steam over boiling water until just tender. Pack warm. Remove stalks. Pack whole or in halves.

180

180

15

15

190

190

20

10

3-4

1

50-60

65-80

40-50

55- Blackberries Remove stalks and leaves.

165

10

190

2

45-55

60-75

30-40

45- Cherries Remove stalks.

180

15

190

10

55-70

75-90

40-50

55- Cherry Plums Remove stalks.

180

15

190

10

55-70

75-90

40-50

55- Currants Remove stems and broken fruit. (Black, Red, White)

180

15

190

10

55-70

75-90

40–50

55- Damsons Remove stems.

180

15

190

10

55-70

75-90

40-50

55- Gooseberries (for pies) (for dessert) Top and tail. If using syrup, nick the ends to prevent shrivelling.

165

180

10

15

190

190

2

10

45-55

60-75

55-70

75-90

3010

45-60

40-50

55- Greengages Remove stalks. This fruit is often cloudy when bottled.

180

15

190

10

40-50

55- Loganberries Remove stalks. This fruit attracts maggots so pick over carefully.

165

10

190

2

1

45-55

60-75

30-40

45- Peaches Peel (see Tomatoes). Pack in halves or whole.

180

15

190

20

3-4

50-60

65- Pears Prepare as for apples in syrup. Pack and process as quickly as possible after preparing. Cooking pears should be stewed until tender.

190

30

190

40

5

60-70

75- Plums’ Remove stems. Fruit may rise.

180

15

190

10

1

55-70

75-90

40-50

55- Plums (halves) Cut in half, remove stones, replace a few kernels if desired.

180

15

190

20

3-4

50-60

65- Raspberries See Loganberries.

165

10

190

2

1

45-55

60-75

30-40

45- Rhubarb (for pies (for dessert) i Preserved when young so no need to peel. Wipe and cut stalks.

165

180

10

15

190

190

2

10

1

1

45-55

60-75

55-70

75-90

30-40

45-60

40-50

55- Strawberries Remove hulls. This fruit loses colour and rises on bottling. It is better made into jam.

165

10

190

2

30-40

45- Tomatoes (whole) Remove calyx. Preserve with or without skins. The skins can easily be peeled off if the tomatoes are put into boiling water for 5 to 15 seconds and then dipped in cold water. 190 30 190 40 5 80-100 105-125 60-70 75- Tomatoes (solid pack) Peel, cut in halves or quarters. Pack tightly in the jars, sprinkling salt on each layer-2 level teaspoons to every

2 pounds of toma-toes. A teaspoon of sugar added to each jar will improve the flavour. Press the tomatoes well down in the jars but do not add any liquid.

190

40

190

50

15

70-80

85- ?Increase process time for large jars (Methods

1 and

2)

3

4

10

5 and

6 lb. „ „

10 „ „ „ „ „ „ „

20 „

7 and

8 lb. „ „

15 „ „ „ „ „ „ „

30 „ (Note: Method 6 is similar to Method 1.) on a wooden table or board. Tighten the screw-band or grip on each jar as soon as it is lifted out of the water. Leave the jars to cool for 24 hours, then test the seal by unscrewing the screw-bands or removing the seal closures and lifting the bottles by their lids. If the lids come off the bottles, they must be sterilized again, or the fruit must be eaten within two or three days.

Quick Heating in a Water Bath Follow the instructions given for Method 1, but use hot syrup or water (about 140°F) to fill the jars and warm water (about 100°F) in the bottling pan. Twenty-five to 30 minutes after the processing is begun, the water should reach simmering point (about 190°F). It should be kept sim-mering throughout the bottling process. Remove and finish the jars as directed in Method 1. Test the seal before storing.

Processing in a Pressure Cooker

For this method you will need a pressure cooker fitted with a gauge or weight for 5-pound pressure. The quantity of water will depend on the size of the pan. Put a rack or inner bottom in the pan and pour in the water. Add a little vinegar to prevent the pan from staining. Bring the water to the boil. Place the filled and sealed jars on the rack in the pan and put on the lid. Heat the pan and process the fruit for the length of time given in the processing chart. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Remove and finish the jars as described in Method 1. Test the seal before storing. 4. Slow Oven Method With oven bottling it is more difficult to control the heating because the temperature in the oven varies from one part to another. Oven bottling is also less economical because only one batch of fruit can be processed at one time.

This method is suitable for goose-berries and dark-coloured fruit, but it is not recommended for such light-coloured fruits as apples, pears, peaches, light-coloured plums or solid pack tomatoes. The fruit will turn brown and the temperature is not high enough to pene-trate the solid pack tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to very cool 250°F (Gas Mark |, 130°C). Fill the washed and drained jars with fruit, but do not pour over the syrup or water. Stand the jars on an asbestos mat, or on a baking sheet lined with newspaper, on a shelf in the middle of the oven. Process the fruit for the time given in the chart, remembering to vary the time according to the quantity of jars in the oven. Two 2-pound jars, for example, should be given the same time as four 1 pound jars.

Remove the jars from the oven, one at a time, and place on a heat proof surface. As each jar is removed from the oven, fill it to the brim with boiling syrup or water (or brine for tomatoes) and seal it. Remember to soak the rubber rings in boiling water just before sealing. Fill and seal each jar before the next one is taken from the oven. Cool the jars for

24 hours. Test the seal before storing.

5. Moderate Oven Method

Any kind of fruit can be processed by this method, using whole fruit or solid pack. Preheat the oven to cool 300°F (Gas

Mark

2,

150°C). Fill the washed and drained jars with fruit and pour over boiling syrup or water. Cover the jars with the lids, but do not put the screw-bands on. Stand the jars about

2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with news-paper on a shelf in the middle of the oven. Process the fruit according to the times given in the chart. After processing, remove the jars from the oven and place them on a wooden board. Put on the screw-bands or grips. Cool for

24 hours, then test the seal before storing.

6. Pulping

This is a simple way of bottling stewed fruit, whether soft or hard, and it is an especially useful method for windfall apples or bruised plums, providing the bruised parts are removed first. Stew the fruit in a little water and add sugar if necessary. For tomatoes, you should add 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt to bring out the flavour. When the fruit is completely soft and pulped, pour it into the hot jars and seal them. Slightly loosen the screw-bands or grips on the lids to allow for expansion.

Place the jars in a pan similar to that used for Method 1 and cover them with boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes, except tomatoes, which require 10 minutes’ boiling. Remove and finish the jars as described in Method 1. Test the seal before storing.

Rising fruit may be caused by the fruit being packed too loosely in the jars, by over-heating during processing or by using too heavy a syrup. However, do not worry about the fruit rising-it will still keep well.

Mould may be caused by allowing too short a time and/or using too low a temperature for processing so that the fruit in the centre of the jar is not heated through, by putting too many jars in the oven at one time, by not completely covering the jars with water if using Methods 1 or 2, or by having a leak in the seal.

If there is only a small spot of mould, this may be removed and the rest of the fruit can be used. However, the flavour may not be very good.

Fermentation may be caused by any of the causes suggested for mould or by using over-ripe fruit. The seal of the jar will be broken if fermentation occurs.

There may be white sediment in the jar. Such sediment is usually due to the action of the fruit acid on hard water. If the fruit has fermented, however, the sediment may be due to yeast cells.

If a seal fails after only a short period, this is probably caused by allowing too short a time for processing. It may also be due to a pin-hole in the rubber ring or a faulty cover. The fruit may be used for cooking.

If the fruit turns dark at the top of the jar, it may have been processed at too low a temperature or insufficient water was used in the deep pan in Methods 1 and 2.

Botulinum

Botulinum are bacteria which live in the soil and which may grow in some im-properly tinned foods. The foods in which the botulinum bacteria may be present are usually low-acid, such as meat and some vegetables. The bacteria may or may not give an indication of its presence. If the spores have been active, the food may be of a soft consistency and some gas may be present. The lids of the cans may bulge. The toxin that this bacteria produces, however, may be present without showing any evidence. Botulinum spores can remain resistant to temperatures as high a§ 212°F after several hours of processing and, consequently, can produce a deadly toxin in the tinned product. The toxin can cause the sometimes fatal disease botulism.

If the cans are slightly bulging, it is advisable not to open them. Either throw them away or, if they have been bought recently return them to the shop.

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