The Cottage Smallholder

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Bottled fruit: enjoying the bounty seven months later

Photo: Home bottled balckberries and blueberries

Photo: Home bottled balckberries and blueberries

When I sat down to savour the superb third day of creamy Greek yoghurt and organic blackberries and blueberries bottled last October from our own garden, I just had to take a photo. This is now pasted on the kitchen wall to  remind me how good bottled fruit is when I’m caught up in the bottling frenzy that dominates September and October.

I do enjoy bottling fruit but sometimes it seems a bit of a palaver if I have other things to do.

Sitting by the pond on a clear and sunny morning as the fruit and yoghurt combination burst in my mouth I realised that home bottled fruit is to be treasured. Packed with flavour, harvested from our garden so it’s organic with not a trace of long life enhancing chemicals. Bliss.

Last year I was scratching around for jars in September. The local shops were packed with ridiculously overpriced jars so I ordered some Kilner Jars from Lakeland to supplement my stock of Le Parfait jars. I made the mistake of buying 1 litre jars. We don’t have a large family – just the two of us and the menagerie. The blackberries and blueberries were bottled in old 200 ml Le Parfait jars (with new seals)  and each jar gives me enough topping for five breakfasts. Somehow the bottling process enhances the flavour of the fruit so you need far less than the expensive imported fresh super fruits that are in the supermarkets now. And there is also the juice. So if you have a family of four then 500 ml jars would be perfect.

Our bottled fruit is so good that I’m already trying to get my jars lined up for The  Autumn Onslaught. Lakeland sale is now on but unfortunately the Kilner jars and Le Parfait jars are not on sale. Danny groans each time a Lakeland catalogue drops on the mat and This week suggested that it was unwise to even vist the site. Perhaps I’ll manage a quick peek when he is snoozing or engrossed in the football World Cup…or both!

Finally a penchant for football does have its benefits for widows – even if it’s just window shopping.

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  1. robert buckingham


  2. Many thanks for your responses.

    The idea of adding flavourings to the sugar syrup came from the Good Housekeeping “Complete book of preserving” (1991) where it was just mentioned but no details given. I’ve now found some info elsewhere that suggests adding the flavourings to the ‘finished’ sugar syrup while still hot ” so I’ll try a small batch with orange zest (as well as a batch of unflavoured) & see if we like the result!

  3. pattypan


    I have successfully over the past few years bottled plums in a sugar syrup. I use the hot water bath method (quick version). You can vary the strength of this syrup, and add flavourings. Check a good cookbook like Good Housekeeping (older versions of the book) for strengths of syrup.You can use red wine and cider too for pears – the only way you will find out whether you like a flavoured syrup in preference to just a sugar syrup is to try it. Make a batch and split half and half. Then next year when you do double the batch you will know which way you prefer. It is very much trial and error on what your own palate and that of your family like. You will find recipes that you love and those that you are not so keen on. Make sure you keep those that you like! Blackberries and blueberries are lovely done like this as are cherries. apricots, peaches, red fruit salad and fruit salad. I also make loads of passata sauce – but I always add lemon juice to the bottles to make sure the acidity level is correct. Basically the food is preserved by extracting the air from the bottles, and fruit preserved in the syrup is more attractive than that just bottled in water. Tomatoes can also be bottled in brine.

    Hope this helps.


  4. We’ve got more Czar plums than I know what to do with this year & we can only eat so much plum jam ” so I’m planning to experiment with bottling for the first time ever.

    I’ve read up on the various methods ” but I’m a bit confused as to which would be the best (i.e. the most foolproof) for these fruits.

    Also, I’ve read that various things, such as orange rind or spices can be added to the sugar syrup. Does anyone have experience of this?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Sue

      The hot water bath method would be my choice for plums. I haven’t experimented with orange rind or spices. Wouls love to hear how you get on.

  5. Clay Earth Cafe

    Blackberry time again! I was planning on bottling some berries at the weekend but was rather put off by some advice to stick to harder fruits. Any tips for bottling soft fruit? Should I leave in sugar overnight to firm them up for example?

  6. Hello Kathy – I have posed your question in our forum here.

    Michelle – try this recipe for passata. It really is very good.

  7. Kathy Beverly

    Hello do you have any tips and/or recipes for bottling gosseberries please asap!? Thank you

  8. michelle

    Could anyone give me a good recipe for passata please? Is it possible to preserve strawberries by the same method eg pureeing them and bottling them? If possible I want to preserve them without sugar or cooking – they’re to be used for smoothies and baking.

  9. patricia ellingford

    Thank you very much – it is more or less like the one that Vigo stock except about one-third of the price. Will look into this.

    Thank you once again

    Tricia (aka pattypan)

  10. My store doesn’t have it listed either but they had about 4 others left. These are the details for it from another site:

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