Oven Dry Pack Bottling (Canning) Method

This method is not suitable for light coloured fruits which discolour in air like apples, pears, peaches, apricots etc. or for solid pack tomatoes. It is quite straightforward though.

Oven Dry Pack BottlingPre-heat the oven to Gas Mark ½ (120°C, 250°F). Pack the bottles with the fruit but do not pour over the syrup or liquid at this stage. Place the lids on top but without the clips or screw bands.

Put the bottles onto a baking tray in the centre of the oven, allowing at least 2 inches (50mm) between each bottles and sides of the oven. Leave for the amount of time indicated on the chart below. To be successful with this method you have to be quick filling and sealing the bottles as soon as they are removed from the oven.

After the processing remove the bottles one at a time and fill quickly to the top with boiling syrup or water, securing the lids with clips or screw-bands immediately. If the fruit has shrunk down in the bottles, add fruit from another bottle before pouring over the syrup or water. Leave for 24 hours and test for seal.

Packing the contents in when the jars are wet will help things slide in, using your wooden spoon to pack tightly. Soft fruits should be packed as tightly as possible in layers without squashing and adding syrup or water every 4 or 5 layers.

Hard fruits may be pressed down with the handle of a wooden spoon and the syrup or water poured down the sides of the bottle gradually until it covers the fruit.

Twist the bottle from side to side and gently agitate as you add the syrup or water to remove any air bubbles.

Oven Dry Pack Bottling Chart

Timings are based on jars up to 1 quart (1 litre) size. NR = Not Recommended.

Fruit Dry Pack (mins)
Apples – in Syrup NR
Apples – Solid Pack NR
Apricots NR
Blackberries / Loganberries / Raspberries 45-55
Cherries 55-70
Citrus Fruits – Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit etc NR
Currants – Black, Red or White 55-70
Gooseberries – for cooking in pies etc 45-55
Gooseberries – for uncooked use in desserts 55-70
Peaches NR
Pears NR
Pineapple NR
Plums and Damsons NR
Rhubarb – for cooking in pies etc 45-55
Rhubarb – for uncooked use in desserts 55-70
Strawberries NR
Tomatoes – Solid pack NR
Tomatoes – in Brine 80-100

Instructions for Bottling Brine for Tomatoes & Bottling Syrup are here

Instructions for checking the bottle seal

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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