….Fruit Bottling Month.
aka Get All the Fruit in the Coolroom into Bottles and Preserved so I have some more room in said Coolroom Month!
We are incredibly lucky that a great many of the fruit growers that Ashley works for – getting their cool rooms running properly, sorting out problems with the packing machines or labelling machines – very generously give us trays and trays of beautiful fruit as a thank you for his prompt service. For a great many growers and the packing sheds any down time caused by their machines breaking down can cost them wages of up to 30 people standing around until the machinery is fixed, which as you can imagine cuts deeply when it comes to the end of the week and wages have to be paid and balanced against what has been earnt for the week.
As always I tend to put off bottling the fruit for as long as I can. It’s not that I don’t like doing it – it’s just a messy job. Fruit juice everywhere, sugar syrup to be made, bottles, rings and lids to be found and it’s generally hot….and I do mean really hot when the fruit is ready to be done. Having said that it’s always a fantastic feeling to get the fruit bottled and into the cool room afterwards knowing that we have plenty of lovely, preservative free fruit for the coming twelve months.
The children are starting to learn that when Mum says we are bottling fruit they are expected to be in the kitchen, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to help. No excuses are accepted. Nighties and PJ’s may be worn so long as you get on with the job.
James is my main man. He finds the bottles, rings, lids and jar clips for me. This year he also mixed up the sugar syrup (I do a light syrup to preserve the fruit in – 1/3 cup sugar to 1 cup water). He also carries the finished jars into the laundry so they can be put into the big Fowlers Vacola Bottling Unit that was my Grandmothers.
Nicola and Elise peel the fruit and cut it up for me. They both do a fantastic job and are becoming quite expert at the whole event.
Nicola of course had to see if she could peel off the longest piece of intact peel.
As no one else was game to try – she won….vbg.
James thought it was easier to connect the jar clips and see how long he could make them.
Again he was the only one trying this – so of course he won that event.
Elise and I both competed in the who has the comfiest pj’s/nightie to wear. I personally think I won, but that’s a win that’s still being debated.
And yes if I look tired in this dreadful photo it’s because I was!! We were nearly finished by this stage thank goodness.
An hour and a half after we started we had finished with 16 bottles of nectaries and 8 bottles of peaches all waiting their turn to put through the bottling unit. Even the kitchen was clean and a well deserved cuppa was being enjoyed.
There is still another tray of peaches in the cool room waiting to be done – they weren’t quite ripe enough – and I have asked Ashley to get more peaches if we are offered any fruit as he does like peaches and ice cream, and peaches and custard and peaches and jelly for sweets. Not necessarily all at at the same time but most evenings.