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Have you done any apricot bottling lately? Or any other fruit? If you’ve never tried it before, we highly recommend it.

Bottling is easy, and a great way to preserve the summer bounty of fruit to enjoy through winter. It’s like capturing a little bit of sunshine in a bottle to warm the cold, dark days of winter.

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At our place, we demonstrate how you can grow and preserve an entire year’s supply of fruit for your family.

We practise what we preach each year and bottle a heap of fruit to see us through winter. We aim to preserve enough so we don’t need to buy fruit at all, except for things we can’t grow ourselves.

That means that throughout summer and autumn, we’re steadily filling the pantry whenever we have a minute to put a few bottles through the processor.

Putting the ring seal on a jar
Putting the ring seal on a jar

We usually start the preserving season with apricots and cherries.

Apricots are some of our favourites, so we aim to fill lots of jars with them. Bottled cherries are a great treat to make into a special dessert when we have guests.

It goes without saying that we also eat as many as we can while they’re fresh and in season, as well as cooking with them.

Plus, we share a lot around with family and friends when we have a surplus.

Cutting up apricots for bottling (photo: Biomi)
Cutting up apricots for bottling
(Photo: Biomi)

What other fruit can be bottled?

We also harvest lots of berries in summer, and while a few go into the freezer, they also are great to bottle. As the season goes on we also bottle peaches, nectarines, apples, quinces, and pears.

In fact, most fruit can easily be preserved by bottling.

One of the things we love about it is that you don’t need fancy equipment, but can do it with equipment found in most home kitchens.

It’s also a wonderful low-energy way to preserve fruit for a long time (years, in fact) without needing to use any energy.

Boysenberries in the farm shop garden
Boysenberries in the garden

Berry tart recipe

As important as it is to preserve fruit for use over winter, it’s also great to eat as much as possible while it’s in season.

Berries are usually prolific in our garden in early summer, which is also when we tend to do a lot of entertaining, so they inevitably find their way into lots of desserts.

Berry tarts (or pies) are one of our favourite ways to eat berries. They are quick and easy to make, and very delicious. The whole thing only takes about half an hour from start to finish.

Here’s the recipe to make about 24 tarts:

Gluten-free pastry

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1/4 cup besan flour
  • knob butter
  • milk

Make pastry your usual way. Roll out, and use a glass or pastry cutter to cut tart-sized rounds. Cook in greased tart tins (like shallow muffin trays) for about 8 minutes or until done.

Berry tarts
Berry tarts

Berry filling

Put about 400g berries in a saucepan and add enough of your preferred sweetener to taste. This will depend very much on the berries you’re using, so be prepared to taste to make sure you get the right balance of sweetness with tartness.

We’d usually use about 1/2 cup raw sugar for this quantity of boysenberries, which are quite tart.

Cook, stirring all the while until the sugar is completely melted and a syrup is forming. It’s great if some of the berries retain their shape.

In a cup, mix 2 heaped teaspoons of cornflour with just enough water to make it liquid. Add to berry mixture, and stir until the cornflour is completely cooked and the mixture starts to thicken. The mixture will go cloudy when you add the cornflour, so keep cooking until it becomes clear again.

Fill pastry cases with berry mixture and set aside to cool and set.

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Fruit trees to good homes

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Our goal is to send our organic fruit trees to good homes (and gardens) far and wide. There’s always room for one more fruit tree, right?

read more

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