Preserving fruit

Old Jan 4th 2008, 5:03 am
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Default Preserving fruit

No I'm not going bonkers or starting a bizzare thread, I'm actually looking for someone to tell me how to get started on this.

There is so much fresh fruit around at this time of year and relativley cheap too that I thought I might try my hand at preserving it so we have a supply for the winter.

I have 'googled' preserving fruit but what I have read so far assumes that I have some idea what they are talking about, as far as equipment goe, which I don't . also don't want to have to spend a small fortune in getting started.

any SENSIBLE!! suggestions gratefully accepted.

Ta
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 6:36 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by kev&sarah View Post
No I'm not going bonkers or starting a bizzare thread, I'm actually looking for someone to tell me how to get started on this.

There is so much fresh fruit around at this time of year and relativley cheap too that I thought I might try my hand at preserving it so we have a supply for the winter.

I have 'googled' preserving fruit but what I have read so far assumes that I have some idea what they are talking about, as far as equipment goe, which I don't . also don't want to have to spend a small fortune in getting started.

any SENSIBLE!! suggestions gratefully accepted.

Ta
ok you need some jars in which you can do your pickling/preserving.
The jars with a clip down lid and rubber seal are great.
If pickling avoid jars with rubber seal as these will deteriorate.
Most jars are suitable - my nan used coffee jars, and then sealed the preserve with a waxed paper circle, and then a special film that stretches taught as the preserve cools.

So you need jars, wax paper, whatever this special film is, and some elastic bands, ooo yes and labels!

A note about the special film - if you are using a jar that had a screw lid I dont think you need film. But make sure the screw lid is scrupiously clean otherwise you will just grow penicillin.

What is really important is that the jars are sterile. Wash them in hot soapy water, then set your oven to about 120degrees.
Lay a sheet of newspaper on a baking sheet, turn the jars upside down (if i recall correctly - google wil correct me) onto the newspaper, then put in the oven for a couple hours to sterilise.

Whilst this is going on, your prepared fruit (washed, cut, bug free) can now be cooking with some sugar and whatever else the ingredients require. Add sugar pound for pound for fruit with a low pectin level. You will have to google your fruit to find out if you need to reduce your sugar or not. Or indeed if you need to add pectin. Back in the uk you could get sugar specially for jam making with added pectin from Tesco. Maybe these supermarkets do too?

PEctin naturally occurs in fruit - this causes the jellyfying effect (yes, thats my made up word).

You can see my knowledge is rusty...

So gooseberries for instance are very high in natural pectin, so you dont have to use so much sugar or added pectin.

You need a heavy jam pan. Doint use a normal casserole or saucepan - the sugar will burn.

Boil your fruit and sugar and test by sticking a metal spoon into the mixture. When it sticks and doesnt drop off the spoon then the mixture is ready. Now this is jsut a guide - if your jam has been boiling for 90 minutes I would think it is done by now. If it starts to turn dar, or brown, then it is in fact burning. About an hour, to 90 minutes should do it, check your recipe

Next using a funnel, (cos spoons are messy), put the jam into your hot jars, leaving about 5mm from the top. Place your wax paper disc onto the jam (so it fits inside the jar), place the film onto the jar and secure with string or elastic band. It needs to make a tight seal.

Label up your jars - and a few weeks down the line will be ready.

Start off by making small quantities - a pound of fruit for instance... otherwise you could have two dozen jars of crap jam.

So thats how I would do it - perhaps now google will make a bit more sense?

(send me a sampler!!)

Last edited by dreamfish; Jan 4th 2008 at 6:38 am. Reason: Clarification about the film.
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 7:22 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

AArrgg ! This does my head in coz I am no good at it.

Redcurrants:-

Pick 'em fresh off the bush. Leave on their little tassles.
Wash the blighters. Spread on a tray and freeze. Once frozen , collect together, box and store in said aforementioned freezer.

Plums:- The bane of my life right now. We have so many , we can no longer give them away.

Wash the plums with the skin on. Halve and take out the stones. Either slice quite thick, or quarter. Again, place an trays and freeze. Once frozen store in containers in the freezer.
Once taken from the freezer use straight away.

For preserved fruit - See Dreamfish and the excellent post above ^. I'm total cr*p at it , although I did manage a good feijoa compote once, which everyone got sick of.


(send me a sampler )
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 8:04 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

I am glad you started this thread. My wife has been looking for the jars that at home were sold with the rings and the metal lids with the rubber seal attached. We didn't bring ours. We can't seem to find any here.

We did tomatoes, peaches and other things at home. We used a hot water bath. After sterlizing the jars by boiling, we filled the jars with the contents, put the lids on and screwed them down. Then boil for a time, not sure how long it was. Then the cooled and a vacum was created which sucked the lid down.

My mom used to make black current jam when I was a kid. She used to top the jam with wax and then seal the top of the jar. The jam seemed to keep for a long time as we would from time to time be sent to the basement to the cupboard to get a new jar of jam. She also did plums and made apple sauce in addition to the tomatoes, pears and peaches which we grew in the back garden.

Anyway, we want to buy the canning jars and would appreciate to know if anyone has seen them. You were able to help me with how much Persil to use in my front loader, now please help with the jars. This forum is full of helpful hints, not just about life in NZ.
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Mitre 10 always have them in assorted sizes. Good ones with that little 'pop' thing on the lid to tell when it's OK and sealed or not. You will see them in the supermarkets depending on the season.
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 8:25 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

I saw some jars with the green lids and sealing 'circles' in Countdown last week
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 8:32 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by kev&sarah View Post
I saw some jars with the green lids and sealing 'circles' in Countdown last week
Plums .
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 8:33 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by BEVS here View Post
Plums .

Same to you missus!!!!!
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 9:16 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by kev&sarah View Post
Same to you missus!!!!!
Dear Lord - buy preserves it's way easier, like bread, cookies, pickles, chutneys ... I am renowned for my culinary skills - bacon and cauliflower cheeses anyone?!
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 9:35 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by kev&sarah View Post
Same to you missus!!!!! :
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 9:58 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by Am Loolah View Post
Dear Lord - buy preserves it's way easier, like bread, cookies, pickles, chutneys ... I am renowned for my culinary skills - bacon and cauliflower cheeses anyone?!
You should know by now hun, if there's a hard way or an easy way to do something, I always choose....
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Off to the library in search of books on said subject. I will update you all on my progress next week
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Old Jan 4th 2008, 11:23 pm
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by kev&sarah View Post
Off to the library in search of books on said subject. I will update you all on my progress next week
Great thread Sarah! Can't wait to hear of your progress. Am getting inspired to try my hand at this, too.
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Old Jan 5th 2008, 7:36 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

This is fantastic, I am going to bake bread I think tomorrow.

My mom used to grind the wheat on Saturday morning. She would run in through the grinder twice. Then she would bake enough bread to last the week, putting several loves in the freezer. The windows in winter would be covered in condensation and you never knew who would show up for fresh bread, butter and honey.
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Old Jan 5th 2008, 9:47 am
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Default Re: Preserving fruit

Originally Posted by CAN2NZ View Post

My mom used to grind the wheat on Saturday morning. She would run in through the grinder twice. .


Feeling inadequate here. My last effort at jam cost me a new pan & a stinky , sticky kitchen.
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