Jamie Oliver

forum: Food & Drink

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#1 Sun 16 Aug 09 4:18pm

adlib

Member
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

I desperately need advice on how to efficiently bottle large amounts of fruit please ???"? Any experts out there ????

I have loads and loads of damsons, plums and apples in my garden and, as I'm living on the lowest possible income (ie benefits) as a single dad bringing up my son without a mum  around I need to be as thrifty as possible.

So, I know all about bottling having read various books like Mrs Beeton etc. All of them, without exception rabbit on and make the process of bottling sound about as complex as a moon mission or something. They talk about wiping slices apples with lemon juice and other ludicrously time wasting activities !

The main problem is they all carry on about putting the fruit in jars and then heating the whole, fruit packed jars in either the oven or in water in a large pan on the hob. This takes forever and is absolutely not conducive to dealing with large amounts.

If you think about it, using these methods in an old fashioned very large household (like a country mansion of 200 years ago, with a gazzillion people  - servants and owners family, living in it and needing feeding) it would take a million years of using their tiny ovens to preserve the large quantities of things they just had to preserve all the time.

Because I have made jam frequently (but never bottled anything ) I know that you just pour the finished jam into your hot and sterilised jam jar and seal and it never goes off and becomes rotten or anything.

So, my simple little question is this. Why cannot I (or anyone else) simply boil up the fruit for a few minutes in a saucepan on the hob to sterilise it and then just pour it into hot and sterilised jars from the oven and seal them just like you make jam ?

That way it is quick and simple ! and large amounts can be efficiently dealt with.

My worry is that for some some bizarre reason this simple way of doing it will not be sterile enough as bugs could (in theory) hang around to pounce into the jars of fruit when you pour the hot stuff in and just before you seal the jars with their lids. This doesn't happen with jam though, so why should it happen with plain bottled fruit ?

All the bottling advice and recipes in cookbooks say put the filled jars into the oven to then be heated to boiling point and immediately sealed to be absolutely certain the whole thing is sterile and the bottle stuff doesn't go off.

Obviously it is good advice and is guaranteed to work, but surely doing it my way (as in ordinary jam making) is going to also be sufficiently sterile ?

I just cannot process the amounts I need to by faffing around the way Mrs Beeton wants me to. I mean, you just try to wipe each bit of sliced apple from four large apple tress, producing more than a ton of fruit. Only a slight exaggeration; but do you get the point !

The trees do produce way more than a ton, but I will only be bottling enough to keep four people i supplied with vast amounts of apple puree for a year ! Ditto damsons and plums.

Any advice on this would be really welcome as I don't want to use my way of bottle tons of fruit only to have the whole flaming lot go off on m e !

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#2 Sun 16 Aug 09 4:46pm

SonomaEddie

Forum super champ
Occupation Chief cook and bottle washer
From Northern California
Member since Sat 10 Feb 07

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

Where to start?

First off, you don't need to wipe each slice with a lemon.  That's just to retard oxidation.  So what if it turns a little brown?  I never did that when canning or drying apples.

Next, don't use the oven to process jars.  It's not safe.  Any govt. publication on food saftey will attest to this.  You do need to process in a boiling water bath or steam in a pressure canner (depending on the acid content of what you're canning) to make sure all bacteria is killed. 
What sort of liquid are you using to pack your apples in?  Are you cooking them in the liquid first? 
If you want to save time you might think about making apple sauce and freezing it if you have a freezer.  It's much easier than canning.  I have a very productive tree and that's what I did this year. 
Get a proper book on preserving food, too.  Here in the US one of the best is "Putting Food By."  Another is "The Ball Blue Book."
They both have adequate information and easy-to-follow instructions.  It's not rocket science, but there are a few rules to follow.  Like I said, the main thing is to make sure bacteria is killed.

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#3 Sun 16 Aug 09 5:29pm

adlib

Member
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

SonomaEddie

Thanks for the reply.

My whole point is I know the official method is a boiling water 'bath', but I have three litre jars (about 7lbs) and they are too big for either oven or my most giant suacepan.

Any my key question is,  what is wrong with just ladling the boiled fruit into the hot and sterilised jars without all the performance of hot water baths ?

This is what everyone does for jam, so why not bottling ? It's easier  and much quicker
!

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#4 Sun 16 Aug 09 6:05pm

SonomaEddie

Forum super champ
Occupation Chief cook and bottle washer
From Northern California
Member since Sat 10 Feb 07

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

Bacteria!  Many canning books tell you to process jam in a water bath to be on the safe side.  If you're using a jar that large, you need to be doubly sure that all the bacteria is being killed.  Easier and quicker, unfortunately, does not equal safer.

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#5 Sun 16 Aug 09 11:52pm

Kye

Forum super champ
Member since Fri 04 Apr 08

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

Eddie is right the whole thing is about bacteria. Get those jar's boiling, heat them in the oven if you wan't but do not use them otherwise.

I have just bought some smaller jar's to hold green tomato chutney. The chutney almost ready, the jar's will be boiled just before the filling.

Boiled fruit then in....the jar firmly closed (don't forget the rubber circle that come's with it) and positioned upside down in order that absolutely no air enter's. After a few hours, say, when the jar is once again cool...turn upright and stock in a cool place. You will in this case be able to keep them for month's.

Once opened for use, depending on the sugar, don't keep the product for longer than you would keep an opened pot of jam in the fridge.

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#6 Tue 18 Aug 09 12:32pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

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#7 Wed 19 Aug 09 6:33am

libra

Member
Member since Tue 04 Nov 08

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

The reason jam keeps so well without spoiling (if it is cooked enough) is the large amount of sugar, which acts as a preservative.

I do tomatoes the way you suggest - cook first and put into sterile jars. But tomatoes are high in acid, which helps to fight bacteria. I wouldn't risk doing fruit this way. People have died, or become very ill from botulism by being careless.

You may have to get some smaller jars. Few people seem to have the time for fruit bottling these days, so you could probably pick up some cheap bottling jars someone no longer uses.  I see them in our local paper from time to time.

Best of luck smile

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#8 Thu 20 Aug 09 4:47pm

forager

Member
Member since Thu 20 Aug 09

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

I have been pondering the same question as you, adlib.  I do completely understand the point about killing bacteria.  But what I still don't understand, having read everyone's advice, is why you can't heat the jars in the oven while boiling the fruit, and then pour or ladle boiling fruit into boiling hot jars.  Can bacteria survive that?  I suppose maybe there is a risk of picking up bacteria from the ladle or the pouring funnel?

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#9 Thu 20 Aug 09 4:53pm

forager

Member
Member since Thu 20 Aug 09

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

SonomaEddie, you said "don't use the oven to process jars, it's not safe".  In what way not safe?  are you talking about exploding jars, or bacteria not being killed, or what?  I bottled a lot of fruit last week using jars in the oven and the stuff was absolutely boiling for at least half an hour.  Surely that will have killed the bacteria?

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#10 Thu 20 Aug 09 5:02pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: FRUIT BOTTLING ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED BY DITHERING SINGLE DAD !

I forget the website name, but this would be a good one for them to answer, it's a group of scientists who dispute common myths/beliefs, etc.  My understanding of why you boil it is that it's because you are not in a sterile environment and you are not sterile, neither is your hair, clothing, etc.  I could be wrong, but I assumed this is why in the case of something that is the perfect growing medium for the bad stuff, you take extra precautions to sterilize it once it's past that point of re-introducing bacteria.

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