Bottling/Preserving/Canning

Call it what you like either way it all ends up the same. Bottles and bottles of lovely fresh fruit preserved so they will last during the year and be ready to eat at a moments notice.

We are incredibly lucky that Ashley works for some of the fruit growers and is always given heaps of fruit – most of it straight off  the tree.

Working hard
Sorry rotton photo – must remember to give Mum the camera next time not the Iphone as it was a bit hard for her to work.

A few days of ripening on the bench and the girls and I were all hands on deck getting the peaches, nectarines and apricots bottled today.  I even took a day off work with Ashley to get everything done.  There was no time for slacking off just lots of  chatting and the slight of busy hands preparing fruit.  It reminded me strongly of the days when my grandparents were alive and we would all gather in their shed to “do” apricots and peaches.

Bottled Peaches, Nerctarines and Apricots

To the left bottles waiting to be “cooked”, under the towels nectaries cooling and in the persever are more nectarines.

I am now working my way through all the bottles we have done and getting them into the very old Fowlers Vacola Perserving unit that we have.  This is the same unit that my grandmother used for a great many years and I love it.

One of the discussions that the girls and I had was whether the fruit was first or second grade fruit and if it was second grade fruit was it ok to use? Personally I don’t care if it is seconds and by the end of the discussion we had all agreed that as a society we seem to be far too focused on perfection and that blemishes (on fruit, people or anything else) is not seen as acceptable. (I love having discussions like that with my kids – I feel that some old fashioned values are being adsorbed as we talk and debate and discuss topics).  Seconds fruit tastes just the same as first grade fruit it may just be slightly odd shaped, have a mark or two on it or be too big or too small  for the supermarkets but there is nothing wrong with it and whats more we love it not just because it tastes good but also because it isn’t perfect!!!  In the course of our work Ashley and I have seen fruit by the tonne thrown away as it is seconds fruit and the supermarkets won’t take it.  The growers can’t sell it so it’s wasted.  It’s such a shame when you see so many going hungry and shortages all round but no one wants to pick it up and the growers are barely making ends meet at times so shipping it for them isn’t an option either.

I guess it’s one of the dilemmas of the society we live it.  There is food there but not the resourses to deal with it and with supermarkets expecting perfection and “their” sizes of fruit and only wanting to pay limited amounts of money so much is wasted.  Perhaps the answer is plant a fruit tree and/or a vegetable garden.   Support your local grower or farmers market if you don’t have the room or time.  Many of the fruit growers will sell and often give away seconds fruit if they are asked. Be self sufficent.  Resuse, recyle and make do.  Become independant of the supermarkets and their vast buying power – make your own decisions on when and where you will spend your money.

I’m hopping down off my soap box now….vbg…but I feel this may be a topic that will be mentioned more on my blog.  When it happens you will see it here.

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4 thoughts on “Bottling/Preserving/Canning

  1. My father was a market gardener and a diabetic from the age of 18 when they sent folk home to die. He and his Dr increased food, insulin and work in balance until he lead a normal life…pretty much till he was 60. I think 2 bad batches of insulin in a row, hastened his death. We caught the first one…..but I digress….He would bring home from Market boxes of fruit. We had pears and some apples but I do not wish to think of the stone fruit I stoned and cut, tomatoes, grapes…you name it. He ate fruit 3 times a day so we bottled it.
    I did finally give away the vacola unit but have planted my second nectarine, have a vigorous peach growing from one I had to cut down, and fruiting, a narabeen plum, an apricot grown from seed and fruiting and put in a new aprciot and a cherry this year. I have a lime, a lemonade, a lemon and a kumquat in pots and lots of crab apples and a couple of apple trees planted in the same hole that bear very well. I do not understand why people do not grow their own fruit and vegetables. I almost cried when I saw the chestnut trees being pulled out due to virus in the north east.
    My fingers can almost feel your pain………LOL.

  2. Your jars of fruit look like jewels Catherine. I love the look of the jars so different from the ones I use. I’d take seconds if they were free as well. I live in apple tree area and they do sell seconds at the orchards that you can buy. I’m not sure if they do the same thing where they sell peaches.

    It’s sad because when I was a girl I can remember nice juicy peaches, now they ship them half raw and they just don’t taste the same any more.

    I like the idea of growing my own trees but the reality is there is a lot of disease around here and unless you’ve access to some pretty strong chemicals most of the fruit goes bad on the tree. I don’t know if it’s better where you live. We’ve cut down all our fruit trees, too much work.

  3. Often the seconds taste better than the firsts, they have more flavor. I’ve never preserved fruit, my Aunt does and gives it to us but maybe that is another thing you can teach me!!! We are getting a lemon tree for Christmas – does that count??

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