I know apples normally store well wrapped in paper, but mine are not yet ripe and loads of nearly ripe apples are getting mouldy spots that drill right into the apple until it gets so ill it just drops off the tree. These are so nearly ripe that they are worth preserving after cutting off the mouldy bits.

Also, very annoyingly, my huge apple crop is rapidly diminishing to nothing as all those mouldy apples fall off the tree and I’m being left with very few left on the trees to ripen fully. I think it is the weather conditions encouraging mould. Spuds and tomatoes are already completely wrecked with it.

I have no freezer space. My thirty year old chest freezer had a tantrum when I gave it it’s once in two years clean and it stopped working. My daughter then gave me a newish little under the counter freezer from her old micro flat with it’s extra micro kitchen that was so small it made boiling an egg a challenge.

In my then research into the possibilities of buying a new chest freezer I discovered just how expensive ancient freezers are because they gobble electricity voraciously. I had already noticed mine was not only on all the time, but huge chunks of ice formed on the outside wall at the bottom as well as creeping out of the top and preventing the lid from being closed. It was obviously trying it’s best to heat up the entire planet at my expense.

Although the precious little thing recovered from it’s tantrum when the electric motor eventually dried out and it started working again, it was too late. There was no way I was going to pay about £400 a year in electricity to keep it going when all the modern freezers talk about annual costs of about £25. Anyway, I am so short of money I can’t afford even the most basic electricity bill at present. So, no silly extravagances like ancient power guzzling, manic, hyperactive freezers then.

And, when you have an income which is so low it is impossible to make ends meet anyway, you soon learn a simple rule of basic economics which is, if you can survive without it now, then don’t spend money buying it – whatever it is ! As I already have a very small freezer I cannot justify even thinking of spending anything at all on a larger one unless it pays for itself – which it wont.

I would have frozen all this fruit as I have done in the past, but I thought bottling it was an alternative and it might also preserve taste and texture better too as freezers destroy food over time. They are not what they are cracked up to be ! It also occurred to me that when things are frozen there is a constant ongoing cost of paying for electricity to keep them frozen, but once you have finished the bottling process, there is no further cost at all. Something to bear in mind !

Nobody has really told me the answer to my question. Can you just chuck boiled stuff in sterilised jars just like you do jam. The answer seems to be no. So I did it anyway and wait to see how long it lasts. I don’t suppose botulism will be a problem as it is more likely the fruit might ferment instead. We’ll see.

I have loads of Kilner jars as I used to make tons of jam once. In my efforts to make sure they were completely sterilised I made them too hot (something to do with having a lousy permanently overheating oven with almost no temperature control). So when I started plonking boiling fruit into two very large and expensive ones they just shattered . Aaaaaarrrrgh ! Usually that only happens when people don’t heat them up and just put hot stuff into cold glass jars. But I think my Kilner jars were so hot the glass was almost melting as I poured the boiling fruit in.

I don’t have time at the moment to make jams and chutneys etc, so will just try bottling stuff properly now and stop trying shortcuts as it has all been more hassle than just sticking to the idea of cramming the stuff into bottles and leaving them in the oven to sterilise.




  1. Boz Says:

    Errrr ?

    Easy peasy really. Just clean fruit ( that means getting rid of cores with apples and pears as well as just washing clean). Cut into suitable sized slices. Place in clean kilner jars or other sealable glass jars. Fill with water and sugar to taste. Place in oven. Heat to boiling temperature slowly and keep there for thirty minutes. Remove and close and seal lids as quickly as reasonably possible.

    That’s all you need to know. Translated into the blindingly obvious all you have to do is heat the fruit with liquid in a glass jar in the oven long enough to kill bugs, then seal.

    The contents then remain in a sterile environment for a virtually unlimited time.

    Probably better than freezing because A) it doesn’t continually cost money to keep frozen and more importantly B) the taste remains better as freezing always degrades all food over time.

    Of course I could write a thesis on the subject and most official recipes will rabbit on a bit more. But I doubt if they add anything useful.

    I tried to simplify the process slightly recently by just boiling fruit in a saucepan and bunging it straight into cleaned kilner jars heated and sterilised in oven.

    I thought that as that is what you do with jam it should work for bottling. I haven’t yet opened any of these so do not yet know whether things are more likely to become contaminated this way. I doubt it really.

    Freezers are new fangled inventions. Before that everything had to be bottled as the only way of permanent preservation. Anything could be preserved this way. I think potted meat just had loads of butter/goose fat poured over it to seal it without even being hermetically sealed in airtight containers.

    People seem to forget all that and think everything has to be frozen. Cobblers.

  2. deb hill Says:

    yes got rid of my huge ,half empty frosted up freezer also,hope my lecy bill is smaller this time! so please tell me how to bottle pears i have a load from my elderly dads tree,id love not to waste them

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