Cottage bottling is an excellent method which will appeal to those folks who want to spend as little as possible on the preservation of their fruits, although it should be noted that vegetables can not be preserved in the same way.
No special bottles have to be purchased and no sterilizer used, and the amount of heat required is very small.
Any bottles or jars one can find about the house will do perfectly well, but the 1 and 2 lb. Jam jars are the most popular. They must be clean. The fruits are gathered and selected and packed firmly in the jars to reach within I inch of the top, NOT to the level of the top. No water or syrup is added.
The packed jars are placed in an oven and to prevent cracking of the bottoms of the bottles they are stood upon asbestes mats or upon a sheet of thin three-ply wood. Paper mats should not be used; in some types of oven they burn up and smell badly. To prevent undue drying of the top layers each jar has a saucer placed upon the top.
The important part is to heat gradually and only a tiny flame will be necessary. In one hours time the fruits should begin to change colour and shrink in the bottles.
While the fruits are heating in the oven, water and syrup (I lb. Sugar to the pint of water) is being brought to the boil, and when they have been heated properly, the jars are taken out one by one and filled one by one with the boiling water or Sstup. It is important that each jar is filled and sealed before another is brought out of the oven.
Filling is done only to the shoulder or to within h inch of the top, and sealing should be done as quickly as possible to prevent any cold germ-laden air from entering.
When the seals are affixed, the bottles must always be kept upright and storage must be in a dry place.
If the proper bottling jars are not used then we must cover the jars with seals of our own making.
Paraffin Wax (obtainable cheaply at the chemist)
This is heated to make it liquid and as soon as each jar is filled with the boiling water or syrup, the neck inside is wiped free of surplus moisture and the liquid paraffin wax poured in to a depth of ½ inch. The jars must remain unmoved until the wax has solidified, or the liquid will creep up the sides and the seals will be useless.
Mutton fat can be used in the same way but it must be clean, pure, and strained to be free from meaty particles. Olive oil is sometimes used and covered with paper to keep out the dust, but there is the difficulty of removing the oil when one needs to use the fruit.
Corks are splendid and we can generally buy from the chemist specimens of a correct size to fit. They are first sterilized by heating in boiling water, then inserted and finally painted with liquid paraffin wax.
This is the most preferable. Three sheets are stuck together with starch, milk or flour paste, left to dry and cut up to size. When required for use, one side is pasted and that side placed over the hot filled bottles, and pressed down firmly all round.
As a further safeguard a rubber band can be put round, or it can be tied with fine string. When cold it can be tested for vacuum by tapping on the top, when a drumming sound indicates that all is WPII.
Linen or some other material is dipped into the following hot mixture which sets when cold, and is tied over the hot necks of the jars after boiling. The mixture is: esin, 8 oz.; paraffin wax, 1 oz.; beeswax, 2 oz.; and vaseline, 1 oz.