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Saturday 21 July 1917 – Fruit and vegetable bottling lecture

Category World War I: The Home Front
The Evesham Journal
Transcription of article


An interesting and instructive lecture and demonstration on fruit bottling, pulping, and fruit and vegetable drying was given on Wednesday week at Littleton & Badsey Grower’s Association’s new drying shed at Blackminster, by Miss Francis (County Council lecturer). Mrs Sherwin, of Bretforton, presided over a large audience.

The lecturer first took bottling fruit, and gave demonstrations with gooseberries and black currants. The gooseberries must be picked, wiped, and placed according to their grade into bottles, which are filled up with cold water. The lids of the bottles, which are screwed not too tightly, and placed into a pan of cold water on a moderate heat. Between the bottles may be packed brown paper or hay. The water is brought to a boil and left so for half an hour. Then the bottles are taken out and the lids screwed down tightly.

Blackcurrants are picked and placed into bottles, which are tied up with brown paper, and placed in the oven in a slow heat. As they sank the contents of three bottles were used to fill two. After being in the oven for fifteen minutes they were taken out, and the bottles three parts filled with fruit must then be filled up with boiling water, and with a layer of mutton fat poured over. The bottles are then tied down with an air-proof bladder, or with three thicknesses of tissue paper brushed over with milk, and when this is dry it may be brushed over with the white of an egg. All kinds of fruit can be preserved in this way. The lecturer then took the pulping of fruit, and demonstrated on raspberries. The fruit is picked and placed into a pan which has been previously washed out with cold water. If the fruit is hard a table-spoonful of water may be added in the pan. This is brought to the boil, and must simmer for 45 minutes for soft fruit, but hard fruit will take longer. It must be stirred constantly while boiling, and when it sticks to the spoon it is ready to pour into jars. This must be fastened down into jars with bladder, parchment, or tissue paper as before mentioned. To sterilize, before pouring the pulp in, sulphur may be used, by placing it on a stick and lighting it, holding it a short time inside the jars. This pulping is a very satisfactory method of putting by fruit, because a large quantity can be put by in a small space. A saving of sugar for preserves is to use half a teaspoonful of salt to half a pound of sugar to one pound of fruit. Glucose and honey were mentioned as substitutes for sugar, and also corn syrup. Much interest was taken in the drying of fruit and vegetables, such as apples, pears, peas and beans. It was pointed out that it is necessary to have all sound fruit and not too ripe. Apples take about twelve hours to dry. When dry they should be hung in a muslin bag in a dry store cupboard or sunny room ready for use. Plums such as Pershores, damsons, greengages, must be placed on trays in a slow heat, and when they look as though they would burst, they must be taken out to cool down, and placed afterwards in the oven again.  This can be repeated two or three times.  Vegetables, such as beans and peas, are prepared as if for cooking and dried in the same way.  The lecturer mentioned that fruit bottles could be obtained through Mr C A Binyon or Mr F Bubb.  At the close of the lecture Mr Binyon expressed a wish that the new drying shed might be used for many more meetings of a similar kind in the future.