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MAIN FORUM MESSAGE BOARDS => Home Grown Food RECIPES & BREWS => JAMS & Preserves => : Big Gee August 02, 2014, 06:59:14 PM

: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: Big Gee August 02, 2014, 06:59:14 PM
It strikes me that bottling (fruits etc.) is becoming a lost art. Many these days seem to just throw everything in the freezer. Now I have nothing against freezing, but don't you think you sometimes miss out on the variety of tastes & textures you get with bottling?

What's your view on the subject? Do you still bottle or are you a throw in the freezer hoarder of gluts! Incidentally for our friends from across the pond I believe you sometimes refer to bottling as 'canning' - here in the UK canning is the process of putting baked beans in a metal tube that's sealed at both ends  :-)snigger
: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: aftermidnight August 02, 2014, 09:25:44 PM
I have to admit I'm a big fan of freezing but there are some things that I just have to 'bottle' :) like peaches and pears,  cherries and applesauce. I make freezer raspberry jam, don't care for freezer strawberry jam, so make the cooked version but then I freeze it, helps keeping that fresh lovely flavor. I make blackberry, crabapple (if I can find some) and Paradise Jelly (quince, apple and cranberry) ( I know someone with a Quince tree). When I top the jelly jars up with paraffin/wax I embed a piece of string in the wax, letting the end hang over before I screw the lids on, real easy to dislodge the wax when opening a new jar.  What I miss though, is making damson plum jam. These are very hard to find in my neck of the woods. My grandparents had a damson plum tree in their garden and she made the most delicious damson plum jam.  Now my mouth is watering just thinking about a slice of buttered bread slathered in damson plum jam and a nice cup of tea. Oh well I just made some fresh strawberry jam, that'll have to do.

: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: Poppa Tommo August 03, 2014, 12:03:10 AM
You've got my mouth watering too, Annette. Luckily here in Devon Damson Plums can be found in the hedgerows so we're never short.

So, Freezing or bottling? Well it depends what it's for really and what sort of freezer space you've got. The trouble with freezing is three-fold, really. First is the amount of space, versus, production levels and second is the cost of running freezers, and third is the condition known as 'freezer burn' where the freezing action actually dries out the produce rendering it virtually inedible.

I get over the freezer-burn by vac-packing. This really does make a huge difference to quality.

With bottling, once you have acquired the bottles/jars you can keep re-using them, there are no running costs as such and as long as you keep them in the dark, the contents should easily do 12 months.

So really, as Annette points out, it is a matter of what does best in what method. Certainly, Ruth does bottled pears and peaches beautifully. We grow so many tomatoes (what! I hear you say! You, Tommy with tomatoes!) and eat so many versions such as simple chopped tomatoes, tomatoes in a lentil sauce, ratatouille, tomato purees (see the recipes board) etc that bottling is the only serious option. We also bottle gherkins mmmm, and a whole range of sauces and pickles and chutneys. On the back of our levels of consumption we invested in a pasteurizer - basically a Burco Boiler with a timer and thermostat - so we cook up the mixture, jar it, seal it and then pasteurize it. Pasteurizing destroys any lingering bacteria or fungi in the airspace between the food and the lid. The contents seem to be very stable.

As for jams, well we don't eat much, mostly because I try to keep my blood sugars down and also, if I as much as look at a scone with Raspberry jam and clotted cream (well you just gotta sometimes) I put half a stone on,  but I do have a following who demand my jams so making up jams from vac-packed frozen fruit is the only way to deliver it anywhere near fresh tasting. Even frozen strawberries seem to perform well for me.
: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: Big Gee August 03, 2014, 12:42:37 AM
Mama mia - I'm putting on weight just reading your posts!  what:-o

The other thing you didn't mention Tommo - how can you compare staring at a white purring box to a shelf laden with bottled preserves & fruit?

Having said that we'd be lost without our freezers, but I still have a soft spot for stuff you boil and cram into jars that you can drool over during the dark months! With the freezer it's often a case of "oh I'd forgotten all about that" when you're rummaging for something else! With glass jars you can browse the contents daily.

I haven't got a damson plum tree Annette, but I tell you what I have got & that's a plum called 'Jubilee' (also known as Jubileum) it is best thought of as an improved large-fruited Victoria plum, or as an improved strain of Victoria. It has larger fruit, is sweeter & ripens about a fortnight sooner than Victoria, but flowers at the same time. It's a fantastic variety. Well worth you getting your hands on if you can. It's sweet taste is something to die for. I wonder if it's available in Vancouver? It will produce in 2 - 3 years and will reach peak production around 5 years old. definately one to get into your jam pot!

: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: aftermidnight August 03, 2014, 03:07:22 AM
Gee, unfortunately I don't have space for fruit trees, our peach when I had it, an 'Early Red Haven' was espaliered on the side of our house under the eaves, so I didn't have too much trouble with peach leaf curl. I bottled most of them as they came ripe. We have a pretty heavy duty propane burner which we fire up outside and I do all my canning/ bottling :) outside, when finished we pour the hot water on weeds growing in our gravel driveway, want not waste not, if I manage to hit a slug, a snail, or two, bonus  >:D.

Talk about clotted cream, now you've got me thinking I must make some scones tomorrow, I've got some fresh made strawberry jam and we do have bottled Devonshire Cream in the dairy department at the local grocery store and it's only a couple of blocks up the street. Not as good as the real thing I guess but it'll do in a pinch, not ever tasting the real thing I really don't know what I'm missing. I'll just eat salad for a couple of days  usf:-(.


: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: Poppa Tommo August 03, 2014, 07:38:06 AM
Canning isn't something that we hear a lot about over here, Annette. If you've done that I would love to hear more about it sometime.

I suppose that the fact that you can see the stuff in bottles/jars and, therefore, see the state of the contents does lean me towards glass rather than steel.

Yes, Gee, it's a lovely warm feeing I get when I delve into the understairs pantry for something and am presented with such an array of preserves.

AS for staring at a white box...actually I find that rather cuddly too, it's a bit like looking at a row of potato ridges and wondering what treasures lie within. They symbolise a season of hard work, allotment pleasure and reward and as I have 4 large 'white boxes' in their own dedicated shed on the car park I get 4 times the pleasure. Ruth loves it, every time she comes back up to the house with her carrier bag (re-cycled of course) full of grub for tea or Sunday lunch from 'the freezer shed', she gaily announces that "I love going shopping down there."
: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: aftermidnight August 03, 2014, 07:59:14 PM
Tommy we use the term canning for both bottling and putting things up in tins, anything that is not safe to do in a hot water bath I leave to the experts. We have a cannery close to where we live, it only took us a few minutes to drive up, drop off the fish we caught and have them can them for us.
We haven't gone salt water fishing for a few years now but we've caught and had canned many a salmon. We ate the springs we caught either fresh, smoked or gave  them away.  The coho we canned what we wanted and gave the rest away. Sockeye makes the best canned salmon but you have to fish for them on the west side of Vancouver Island we pretty much stuck to the east side when fishing.

The very first time I hooked a big one (spring) between 25 /30 lbs. it yanked me off my feet and sat me down on my ...  this one just grabbed the hook and took off like a bat out of hell. Needless to say I had a big bruise you know where for a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed those evenings out on the water drift fishing. We still get our fair share of fresh fish, crab, and prawns, our son-in-law keeps us well supplied :).

: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: Poppa Tommo August 03, 2014, 08:21:13 PM
Move over, I'm on my way. I absolutely love sea fishing. I have a 19ft Orkney Fastliner laid up in Cornwall that I and a couple of mates go out on from time to time. We have plenty of Fish in the freezer mostly Pollack and Whiting. I really envy you catching salmon and being able to can them. A dream of mine. What a life you lead.

Should we ever take a trip to Canada it will have to be at a time when you can take me to catchi a salmon.
: Re: Bottling versus freezing - what's your view?
: Big Gee August 03, 2014, 11:14:39 PM
Looks like you've hooked yourself an original member of the 'Birmingham Navy' there Annette! That's what we call Brumies that come to Aberaeron to show us how to sea fish after their experience in the Midlands canals!!!  lol(1)

By the way, we also have pretty good salmon rivers here too: