Preserving Your Surplus

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Preserving Your Surplus

To share ways of preserving what you've grown such as bottling, freezing, dehydrating.

Members: 318
Latest Activity: Feb 18

Jars: their are two types of jars (NZ). The old agee jars have an extra, thick glass rim about a centimetre below the top and need gold rings to screw down the seals, the 'new' jars need green rings to seal, see second picture. I inherited mine but I have often seen jars and rings in op shops. Perfit seals can be bought at the supermarket. Jars need sterilising immediately before using, I wash and then rinse them in very hot water and then put them in the oven at 75 degrees C upside down on the bottom rack the top rack may need to be removed . when they are dry they are ready. I get them out and fill them one at a time, as they are now very hot I use a rolled up teatowel as in third picture to hold them. Once they are filled with hot bubbling stewed fruit i place them on a wooden suface (a cold hard surface may cause the jars to crack). I use a small (1 pint / 1/2 litre) pyrex jug to scoop out the fruit from the pan and into the jars as this fills them quickly and easily.
SealsI have another small pot of water boiling on the stove, before I get a jar out of the oven I place a perfit seal in it (to sterilise). Once the jar is full to overflowing and placed on wooden surface, using tongs I place the seal on top and screw on the ring. I tighten it using a teatowel as it gets hot. As I fill jars and place them on the wooden surface I make sure they do not touch each other as I've been told this can also make them crack. As the jars cool the perfit seal should bow in the middle rather than being slightly raised, this shows It has successfully sealed.
Basic Fruit Bottling
Water I usually add as little water as possible just enough to cover the bottom of the pan well and bubble up through the fruit as a lot of juice comes out of the fruit.
Sugar i add sugar to taste after fruit has cooked slightly as I understand this gives more sweetness for less sugar added. Also I barely make it sweet as the longer the bottled fruit is stored the more the sugar content increases.

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Comment by Lynn on May 2, 2012 at 4:37pm

moggy's right - agar agar, and also carageen (Irish moss), are vegetarian alternatives to gelatine. I know that agar agar can be bought at some health food shops in sachets (around 25/30g I think) for about $3.50 to $4.00. 

Comment by moggy on May 2, 2012 at 3:00pm

if you don't like the idea of gelatine, there are other options including agar

Comment by Franzi on May 2, 2012 at 1:53pm

Thanks for those ideas! I don't like using gelatine, we are vegetarian. I am not so much worried about the setting, once the fruit is 'reduced' enough it will get thicker anyway because of the natural fruit sugars. There is a french jam-making company who make jam without sugar (it sells in supermarkets here) or any other preservatives in it. I guess honey would be a good option as it is anti-bacterial etc. Or just keeping it in the freezer as Lynn suggests. I also found out about a sugar-substitute called XYLITOL or WOODSUGAR  http://www.xylihealth.co.nz/  which is also good for Diabetics, good for teeth (!!) and is made from birch trees I think. Thank you for the honey recipe, I will try it as soon as I spot some grapefruit :)

Comment by Stephanie Lynch on May 2, 2012 at 12:41pm

Has anyone tried using honey in preserves?  I would love to know how people find it.  This is a looks like a good recipe but haven't actually tried it yet.  http://www.sweetreehoney.co.nz/More+Info/Recipes/Preserves++Sauces/... 

Comment by Lynn on May 2, 2012 at 10:04am

My diabetic neighbour switched to using stevia when I told her about it (and she learned of the risks with some artifical sweeteners). She still uses the gelatin and apples method for setting, the stevia helps with the sweetness, but it does have a slight after-taste that some people find takes a bit of getting used to. She did use the powdered stevia - I don't know if the liquid stevia would be any different - but I do know it would be more expensive.

Comment by Steph Clout on May 2, 2012 at 9:26am

Hi folks, curiosity forces me to ask: has anyone tried making jam using stevia instead of sugar? (stevia - the sugar plant)...apologies if misspelled! if yes, how did it work out?

;-) steph

Comment by Lynn on May 2, 2012 at 8:41am

Hi Franzi. I know diabetics who make their own jam. They use gelatin to help 'set' their jam. Most of them add apples to their fruit, as tart flavoured apples (like Granny Smiths) have good amounts of natural pectin in them to help the setting process. Some of them use artificial sweeteners, while one friend will not touch them, as she prefers 'au natural' - and has gotten used to her jam being a sharp tart flavour. I will see if I can get some recipes from them for you. Oh, they all keep their jams in the freezer too.

Comment by Jude on May 2, 2012 at 7:15am

Hi, yes, I'd be really keen too to hear of any recipes for jam and for preserving fruit that don't use sugar.

Comment by Isabell Strange on May 2, 2012 at 7:10am

My sister inlaw puts all her sugar made jam in the freezer as she says it keeps better and somehow doesn't freeze solid. perhaps you could try that and if it does freeze solid you could freeze it in ice cube or cup cake portions to get out a bit at a time.

Comment by Franzi on April 24, 2012 at 6:50pm

Hello there. Wow that membrillo sounds awesome! Can't wait for ripe quinces now :) 

I am new here and was wondering if anyone has any ideas about making jam without sugar? How do I make it so it doesn't grow mold? I have tried it with strawberries but all of them developed mold (I did sterilise the jar and filled in very hot..) any tips would be greatly apreciated! Oh and if anyone is having heaps of figs right now, chop them up small and mix them with almonds and sugar (if wanted), cover with water and boil it for about 45 minutes until it has reduced about 1/4th then fill it into the jars, this is an AWESOMELY delicious jam. Just got that recipe from my neighbor and it is so yum. So I thought was worth sharing! 

 

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