Bottling or Canning Fruit and Vegetables -
Introduction & Equipment
Preserving Fruit and Vegetables
History of Bottling & Canning
Glass Preserving Jars are available
along with rubber sealing rings, preserving pans and other equipment
from the Allotment Shop Cookware
-Jam & Preserving Equipment Section
The best size jars for bottling fruits usually
are 1lb (500 gr) or 2lb (1 Kg)
Until the nineteenth century human beings were dependent on the natural processes
of drying, fermenting, salting, pickling, and in northern climates freezing
for food preservation.
In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte offered a 12,000 franc reward to anyone who could
devise a method for the food preservation in order to provide his troops with
daily rations in order to keep his armies adequately supplied while on the
march. After years of experimentation, Nicolas Appert submitted his invention
of bottling and won the prize in 1809.
A year later an Englishman, Peter Durand, adapted the process. He placed
wholesome food in clean metal containers, which were then sealed and boiled
long enough to kill the spoilage-causing micro organisms. These were similar
in shape to tea canisters and the name can came into common parlance.
After 1900, home canning of all types of food, mainly in glass jars, became
popular as a means of utilizing home garden products, providing better diets,
and reducing the cost of living
In the UK this process of preserving food is known as bottling but in the
USA it is usually known as canning. For domestic food preservation the terms
are effectively interchangeable.
In the USA home canning, using special equipment in actual tin cans was quite
popular but the requirement for special sealing equipment and low cost of
canned food caused a decline in the practice of home canning although bottling
remains quite popular as in the UK.
Bottling or Canning Fruit and Vegetables
Usually used for fruit domestically but it can be used for vegetables, bottling
or canning is a relatively simple method of preserving, providing it is carried
out correctly and efficiently. Heating to the appropriate temperature, using
the right container, keeping at temperature for the right amount of time and
secure sealing of the bottles is essential.
Equipment Required for Bottling or Canning:
Sterilizing Pan - If the bottling is to
be done on the hob this is essential. This can be a purpose-built sterilizer
complete with false bottom and thermometer, a large preserving pan or the
base of a pressure cooker. What is essential is that it needs to be deep enough
to contain a false bottom, a wooden or wire rack is ideal, and still hold
enough water to completely cover the bottles. The bottles must not come into
direct contact with the pan or they will crack.
Bottles - There are two types of bottles
available from numerous manufacturers, one with a spring-clip top and the
other with a screw band, available in several sizes. The most useful sizes
are 1lb or 2lb size (500 ml or 1 litre).
- Spring-Clip Top bottles – Normally have a glass top and a rubber ring
between the lid and the rim of the bottle. This helps to form a complete
seal when the bottle has been processed.
- Screw Band bottles – Usually have a glass or metal lid fitted with
a rubber ring kept in place by a band which screws on. During processing
(except be the oven method) this band should be loosely screwed on and
then tightened while the bottle is cooling.
Note: Rubber bottle rings – If you use
separate rubber rings make sure they are the correct size. Always use new
rings – once they have been used they stretch and may not form a satisfactory
Bottling & Canning are amongst the self-sufficiency topics covered
in our book, How to Store Your Home Grown Produce
For more information on the book see
How to Store Your Home Grown Produce
Thermometer – Special thermometers registering
up to 110° C (230° F) are available for bottling and jam making and,
although, not essential make life a lot easier. You can find a jam
making thermometer at very low cost on this site that reads up to 200°C
Long Handled Wooden Spoon – For packing
fruit into larger bottles.
Bottling Tongs – Not essential but helps
when handling hot bottles
Large Baking Tray – For the oven method
of bottling to stand the bottles on.
Pressure Cooker – For processing fruits
using this method.
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