Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bottlin' It Up!

Peeled tomatoes, waiting for preserving

As summer comes to a close, I am enjoying bottling some of these glorious summer fruits before they disappear off the shelves for another winter.

Last weekend, Nath and I sorted the bottles we had been given or collected over the past couple of months. We ended up with four boxes of Fowlers Vacola preserving bottles and one box of Fowlers Vacola ginger beer bottles, as well as an assortment of reusable jars for bottling jams.

Jars, lids, rings and clips... all collected secondhand, most free

Ginger beer bottles, wrapped in paper from 1977

We dropped in at the fruit and veg market yesterday and picked up some bulk lots of fruit (apricots, plums, lemons and tomatoes) to bottle over the weekend. I had run out of apricot jam, and also wanted to preserve some whole peeled tomatoes and make spicy plum sauce and lemon butter.

Sealed jars in the preserving bath

These 'tinned tomatoes' cost me $1.50 - total

During the last week I had begun some peach schnapps and cherry liqueur, which will be ready as we come into the cooler months.

Summer fruits steeping in alcohol

Beautiful apricot jam
I am loving preserving and bottling. There is a lot to learn (and a lot that can go wrong!) but our trials seem to result in more successes than errors, and it is such a flavoursome way of eating seasonal food all year round - not to mention the money we are saving and the additives we are avoiding!

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