Fast Water Bath Bottling (Canning) Method

This is a little cheating to reduce time and energy use compared to the slow water bath method but you may have problems with loosely packed fruits rising in the jar.

Fast Water Bath BottlingPack the jars but add hot syrup, ideally at 60°C, 140°F to the fruit. Place in the pan as before and cover in warm water (around 40°C or 104°F). Once again your thermometer comes in handy. If you don’t have one, then use your judgement; 40°C is just a little over blood heat.

Bring the temperature up to simmering point over half an hour and then hold as per the chart below. and then remove the jars to a cooling rack, leaving space between the jars for airflow. Check and tighten the lids. Allow to cool and then label with contents and date before storing in a cool, dark place. Although the produce will store well, light can cause discolouration.

Double check the seal on the lids is tight the next day when the jars are at room temperature. The way to do this is to carefully undo the clips or unscrew ring sealed jars and then gently lift by the lid. If there is a good seal, the lid will stay on due to the vacuum in the jar. Where you are using the thin metal lids, check if the centre of the lid can be depressed. If it is flexible then it has not sealed correctly.

With metal screw rings, a rub over with a little Vaseline will prevent corrosion and ensure it unscrews easily after months on the shelf.

If the seal is broken then you can re-process the fruit and syrup separately but be aware the quality will not be so good. Alternatively place in the fridge for use over the next couple of days.

Fast Water Bath Method Temperature & Time Chart

Bring to simmering temperature as described above and then hold for the time listed. Timings are based on jars up to 1 quart (1 litre) size

If you don’t have a thermometer, this method is preferable as the ideal temperature is 88°C / 190°F which is just about the temperature of a slow simmer and easy to judge by eye

Fruit Time (Mins)
Apples – in Syrup 2
Apples – Solid Pack 20
Apricots 10
Blackberries / Loganberries / Raspberries 2
Cherries 10
Citrus Fruits – Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit etc 10
Currants – Black, Red or White 10
Gooseberries – for cooking in pies etc 2
Gooseberries – for uncooked use in desserts 10
Peaches 20
Pears 40
Pineapple 20
Plums and Damsons 10
Rhubarb – for cooking in pies etc 2
Rhubarb – for uncooked use in desserts 10
Strawberries 2
Tomatoes – Solid pack 40
Tomatoes – in Brine 50

Instructions for Bottling Brine for Tomatoes & Bottling Syrup are here

Safety of Bottled Food

Whilst the process is very effective, things can go wrong. As with all food preservation, hygiene and attention to detail are critical for successful and safe storage.

One obvious risk is the seal breaking and allowing microbes access to the food. These will develop and produce gas, often leading to an increase in pressure. With commercial canned goods where the tin has been damaged, a sure sign the contents are spoiled is the can swelling. In the grocery trade, they’re known as ‘blown’.

If you open a home bottled jar and there’s a release of pressure, the food is spoiled. Usually the obnoxious smell will make this very obvious but please don’t trust the food even if it smells OK.

More On Bottling (Canning)

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