This is termed the Best Way because the resultant product is definitely superior to that of any other method. The flavour is better preserved, the colour retained, and the appearance and texture maintained to a superior degree.
To bottle by this method we shall re-quire – a supply of proper bottling jars – a sterilizer, with false bottom, a thermometer, sugar (for making syrup), and, if the sterilizer is a homemade pan, a pair of bottle tongs will be indispensable, and a packing stick or long-handled spoon.
To make understanding easy, I shall deal with the process in easy stages and to make reference still more simple, I am giving here the six various steps: (1) packing the fruit into the bottles; (2) pouring in covering liquid: (3) putting on the caps; (4) heating in the sterilizer (water bath); (5) taking out and allowing to cool; (6) testing and storing away. (1) Packing the Fruit. The bottles must be spotlessly clean and the fruit properly ripe, disease free, and clean. It is a wise insurance to test the covers before using and to fit new rubber rings each time.
Proper packing is far more important than is general ly realized. Carelessly done, one finds after sterilizing that a part of the jar contains all liquid, the fruit having shrunk, fallen, or risen to the top.
This, apart from spoiling the appearance of the bottle as a whole, is uneconomical in that it is possible to waste 3s. Worth of jar space on a dozen 2 lb. Bottles apart from the waste of heat and the fact that when required for use 2 bottles will have to be opened in place of one.
Packing can only be done by using a long-handled spoon or stick .
Large fruits such as plums are packed layer by layer, coaxing one close down beside another. Should the plums be rather large for the diameter of the bottle, water should be rinsed round the bottle and that will make the fruit slip better into place.
The perfect packing is tight, but not to break any fruit. Small subjects such as raspberries are shaken into place by jarring upon the hand.
Rhubarb is packed in sticks to fit the height of the bottle or else in pieces 1 inch long. (2) Pouring hi Covering Liquid. After the bottle is packed right to the level of the top, either water or sjTup , is poured in to fill. Syrup is far preferable as it aids brightness of colour, improves the flavour and tends to hold the fruit together better.
It should certainly be used if the fruits are tart or sour, as when bottled it has time to work right into the fruits and considcrabty improves their taste.
Fruit bottled in water will keep just as long, and in some shows it is a condition that water only must be used. The syrup must be allowed to become cold before pouring into the packed bottles, or they may crack. (3) Adjiisting the Caps. When putting on the fittings take great care to see that they are flawless and also the top of the bottle, and be sure to use new rings.
In the case of spring-clip bottles, the clip should bs fitted right down, the springiness of the clip allowing the heated air to escapo. With screw-top bottles the screw band is screwed right down and then unscrewed half a turn. (4) Sterilizing. When the bottles have been packed with fruit, the covering BOTTLING FRUIT liquid poured in and the caps adjusted, they are then ready to sterilize and they are stood upon the false bottom in the sterilizer.
The greatest economy in heat is effected if the sterilizer is filled and it matters not that the bottles touch one another, although it is best that they do not touch the sterilizer sides. Cold water is then poured hi to reach to the tops of the caps, the thermometer put in .and the lid put on. If one is sterilizing bottles of different heights, cover to the highest ones as it does not matter if the smaller ones are quite immersed.
Sterilizing should be gradual (this is important) so that in 1 ½ hours 165° F. is reached, and this is maintained for 10 minutes. For black currants, cherries, mulberries, pears, mixed fruit and figs 180° F. for 20 minutes is necessary.
Fruits must never be brought to boiling and there should be no guesswork. Fruits so sterilized as advised may be turned out cold. Larger bottles (4 lb. Or so) and closely-packed halved fruits should be heated for a further 10 minutes. (5) Taking Out. When the correct tem perature has been reached and properly maintained, the bottles are taken out of the hot water one by one and the screw bands screwed right down. Spring clips should be casually examined, but need no further adjustments. The hot bottles should be stood upon a wooden table, not upon a metal surface, a plate, upon enamel or in a draught, or they may easily crack.
They are then stood upon one side until thoy are cold. The sterilizer should be emptied and wiped round while hot – this to prevent rusting. (6) Testing and Storing
When quite cold (i.e.. next day) the bottles should be tested for perfection of sealing.
The screw bands or spring clips ara taken off carefully and the caps (glass or metal) tested to see if they are held 387 firmly upon the bottle top by the vacuum inside.
If this is the case and if heating has been correctly maintained one can rest assured that the fruit will keep perfect for years.
Should one find that some of the caps have failed to seal properly, then they must be examined for a flaw, which is remedied when found and the bottle re-sterilized within twelve houra.
It is important to note that neither the screw bands nor the spring clips are put back upon the bottle but are stored away in a box separately, ready for next season.
The storing place must be dark, cool, and dry.
To use properly, if bottled in plain water, heat the fruit juice separately, add sugar to taste, bring to boil and then add the fruit. If bottled in syrup they can be used cold as dessert or heated or used in pastries in any way desired.