To Bottle Fruit for Winter Use


Gather the fruit in the middle of the day in very dry weather; strip off the stalks, and have in readiness some perfectly clean and dry wide-necked bottles; turn each of these the instant before it is filled, with the neck downwards, and hold in it two or three lighted matches: drop in the fruit before the vapour escapes, shake it gently down, press in some new corks, dip the necks of the bottles into melted resin, set them at night into an oven from which the bread has been drawn six or seven hours at least, and let them remain until the morning: if the heat be too great the bottles will burst. Currants, cherries, damsons, greengages, and various other kinds of plums will remain good for quite twelve months when bottled thus, if stored in a dry place.

To steam the fruit, put the bottles into a copper or other vessel up to their necks in cold water, with a little hay between and under them; light the fire, let the water heat slowly, and keep it at the point of gentle simmering until the fruit is sufficiently scalded. Some kinds will of course require a much longer time than others From half to three quarters of an hour will be sufficient for goose berries, currants, and raspberries; but the appearance of all will best denote their being done. When they have sunk almost half the depth of the bottles, and the skins are shrivelled, extinguish the fire, but leave them in the water until it is quite cold; then wipe and store the bottles in a dry place. A bit of moistened bladder tied over corks is better than the resin when the fruit is steamed.