Saturday, February 2, 2008
Summer in bottles
What could be more satisfying than the joys of preserving gorgeous summer fruits? Today I began just that. I was very excited to find early Golden Queens out at a reasonable price and also delicious Black Doris Plums. I spent the afternoon bottling these glorious fruits and they worked out at roughly $1.00 per bottle. A bottle is waaaaay more full and waaaay bigger slices than your average can of peaches that you can buy and absolutely far tastier.
A few people have indicated that they would like to preserve but are unsure how. So here is my beginners guide to this easy pastime:
First gather together your supplies. I use Ajee bottles (i have many from op shops and family but you can buy them from Supermarkets), lids that youcan only use once, and screww tops, again available at Supermarkets or op shops. A lot of Sugar, a large stainless steel pot, wooden spoon, salt, plastic bowl or bucket.
First I make sure the bottles are totally sparkling clean and without chips around the rim or cracks in the sides. Then I sterialise them.
I put them in an oven at 120C for half an hour and take them out only prior to preserving so that the hot liquid does nor crack the glass.
For the syrup I add one cup of sugar per two cups of water, and heat until boiling point. While syrup is cooking I prepare the peaches: peel and halve or quarter and put into a bowl of salted water so that peaches do not turn brown.
When the syrup and peaches are both ready for the off i add them togehter and cook them until JUST soft. Not too much , not too little. its a try as you go thing until you get the hang of it.
Once cooked the jars are, one at a time filled with the peaches and then pour in some syrup until rim is reached. Now I put a long knife down the sides of the jars to let any air out and with a tea towel fill up the tiny gap left with boiling water. The lid is then pushed on and pressure applied and then the screw top is put on to hold it all together. The pressure as the bottle cools will pull in the top and it is them properly sealed. Do not remove screw tops until next day. And Done!!
I am wanting to fill all my jars this season, and there are are a lot!! Its my thing since I have gone past the strawberry season and have no berries to jam!
So far I have bottled six large and two half jars of peaches and two large and one half of plums.
Dont they look pretty cooling in the summer evening on my window sill. Summer in a bottle!