Friday, 1 February 2008


Here are the ways I bottle some of the summer fruit I gather. I love having it at hand all year for breakfasts or desserts. Some of them are special treats, some everyday foods.

**Nectarines (or figs or plums etc) in white wine syrup

This makes a wonderful dessert to eat throughout the year.

350gr sugar
2 strips of orange peel
700ml dry white wine
about 12 ripe but firm nectarines, (peeled) and halved, maybe more if they are very small

In a pan heat the sugar, peel and wine until sugar is dissolved. bring to a simmer and simmer gently 8 minutes.

Add the nectarines to the syrup and poach for 10 minutes until tender. I have written in my notes that this stage is not necessary with plums as they are softer.

Strain and pack the fruit into preserving jars. Boil the syrup for 1 minute, remove the peel and pour it into the jars. Add brandy to cover the fruit completely. It is really up to you how much wine : brandy you use, just try it and see. You may want to add a bit of water as well but I don't.

Bottle as normal (ie put the jars into the pan of water according to your instructions).

Store for at least 1 month before eating.

**Pears (or peaches etc) in Citrus Sauce

Juice of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
1 tbl honey
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 oranges (or 1 cup)
6 large pears

Combine all ingredients except pears in a medium saucepan and heat gently.

Peel and quarter the fruit.
Place them in the juice and cook gently 20 minutes or until tender but not completely soft. Omit this step for peaches.

Strain (or not), pack the fruit into the jars, seal and bottle as normal.

**Light syrup

This is fine for all fruit especially if you are going to be eating it for breakfast or using it in a recipe later.
For 8 1-litre jars dissolve 500g sugar or 1 cup of apple or pear juice concentrate in 2 litres (hot) water. Allow to cool to room temp before pouring it over the fruit in the jars.

This is approximate only. Even plain water will do but I have tried it and didn't like it much.

Pears stay pretty hard when bottled unless you cook them first, like in the recipe above. I think all other fruit is fine raw.
**Bottled Tomatoes
I also make all our bottled tomatoes for the year. Just chop the tomatoes, put into a pan and heat gently until they release their juices.
At this point you can either bottle them right away or add salt, pepper, herbs etc. or boil them down a bit more. I just bottle them plain (but I mash them a bit with the bamix to break up the skins) . I put them in various sized jars.
I add herbs etc later when I am using them in a recipe. So quick and easy - no packing carefully into jars or adding extra liquid and all year they are there in the cupboard - better than buying tins from the supermarket.
If I have mountains of tomatoes I sometimes make a really yummy pasta sauce and bottle that too.


Anonymous said...

Nice to have a simple, no frills method. Thank you!

gillian said...

Sounds like the recipe I need.We have a glut of tomatoes - picked 20lbs yesterday and are tired of making sauce. Also the freezer is full.
Do you have any liquid in your bottles?

Moi said...

This sounds terrific but do you sterilise the bottles afterwards i.e. using waterbath/oven methods?