Collect all the blackberries from the hedges

Food shortages were tackled by encouraging people to pick and preserve homegroown and wild fruits.

Fruit Bottling

It is again by the kindness of the President that the Committee are able to announce a large supply, one hundred dozen, of bottles. These have been bought on special terms from the Ministry of Food, and will be obtainable at cost price from the Wargrave Shop.

Notes on Fruit Bottling

1. Clean and dry the bottles thoroughly; and always remember in dealing with glass vessels of any sort not to put them when cold into hot water, or when they are hot not to put them into cold water or even stand them down on a cold surface such as some stone slab, or on bricks, or you will be almost certain to crack them. If you are going to wash a dirty glass bottle put it first into luke warm water and, if necessary, increase the heat gradually. A bottle taken out of very hot water should be stood on a wooden surface or a blanket may be placed over a stone slab to take off the first shock of the cold stone. The very smallest crack in a bottle may make the contents go rotten.

2. Pick your fruit when it is just ripe and no more. Clean it and dry it. Pack it closely in the bottles, which should be quite full. Apples and pears should be cut in quarters; and all other fruit should be put in whole. Then fill the bottles with clean warm water, and put on the rubber ring and the glass lid, and next put the metal rim loosely over them. At present do not screw the metal rim down tight. Stand the bottles up to their necks in cold water in a fish kettle or open boiler, which should have a false bottom so as to prevent the bottles standing on the thin metal of the kettle which gets so hot as to occasionally crack the glass*. Put a little hay round the bottom of the bottles to prevent their hitting one another when the water boils, and so getting cracked. Bring the water in the kettle very slowly to the boil, and let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, with a cloth in your hand to prevent the bottles burning you, take each bottle out one by one, and without a moments delay screw the metal rim down tight upon the glass lip and rubber ring below it, whilst the water in the bottle is at boiling heat. Then take out the next bottle and serve it the same, and so on till all your bottles are tightly screwed down. The neglect to screw the lid down tight IMMEDIATELY the bottle is taken out of the kettle is at the bottom of almost all failures.

The above is a rough and ready method, but it will be found to answer if you will

3. REMEMBER –
To fill your bottles with fruit
To fill each bottle with clean warm water, but do not use any sugar
To leave the metal rim and glass cover just loose while cooking
To have a false bottom in the kettle and to put a little hay round the bottom of the bottles
To fill the kettle with cold water
To boil up the water in the kettle very gradually, and then
To keep it boiling steadily for 15 to 20 minutes
To screw each bottle down quite tight the moment you take it out of the boiling kettle, one minute’s delay may spoil the whole bottle of fruit.

4. Gooseberries Raspberries, Currants, Plums, Damsons, Blackberries, Apples, Pears, and most other fruit may be preserved in this way. Strawberries are not recommended.

5. Do not forget to collect all the Blackberries from the hedges, and remember that for bottling they should not be too ripe. By doing this, even the very young children can help to increase the food supply.

6. How to use bottled fruit:- Unscrew the metal rim and if the glass lid does not come off easily lift it carefully by inserting a blunt screw driver between the bottle and the indiarubber band. The contents of the bottle can be used in any way in which fresh fruit is used, by cooking it in puddings, or pies or by stewing it with a little sugar.

Anyone desiring more detailed information should obtain the R.H.S. Pamphlet (Price 6d.) on Fruit and Vegetable Bottling and Storing R.H.S. Office, Vincent Square, Westminster, SW1.

Wargrave parish magazine, July 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

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