Top 5 – Summer Fruits and Methods to Preserve them

In November I bought a Fowlers preserving kit on eBay.  Annoyingly my mother gave hers away a few years ago.  The kit I bought used to belong to a woman who was moving into a retirement village.  The woman has 8 sons.  Imagine how much food you’d have to preserve for 8 teenage boys.  I guess that’s why the steriliser came with 120 size 27 jars.  Now I don’t think I will use quite that many, although I do like the thought of a cupboard full of tomatoes, but I do intend to use some.  Have I preserved any fruit yet this summer?  Well except for some strawberry jam, err no, but when I do this is what I’ll start with.

Peaches – Fowlers – I grew up on peaches (and other fruits but most memorably peaches) preserved in Fowlers jars.  For those outside Australia, Fowlers is the most used preserving system here.  Unfortunately Fowlers Vacola are currently updating their website so I can’t include a link but essentially you bottle things in glass ‘Fowlers’ jars which are then sealed with a rubber ring topped with a metal lid.  The lid is secured with a clip while you sterilise it in the Fowlers unit (either electric or stove top).   Peaches fit nicely into the jars and they preserve well.  I think clingstone peaches are best peach variety to preserve and the season has just started so they should be cheap enough to start soon. 

Plum Jam

Apricots – Jam – Apricots also preserve really well in Fowlers jars but I also love jam and in particular apricot jam (although plum jam is also a big favourite).  I find summer fruits  are really well suited to jam making.  In fact the 5 fruits I have included here all make sensational jam.  Jam gets eaten a lot in my house.  On pancakes, mixed through yoghurt, spooned straight from the jar…you get the picture.   As a result we get through a fair bit of jam so I try and make as much as I can over summer.

Berries – Frozen – Personally I love berries in their natural state best of all but if I do get a large amount at one time (like when we go to the pick your own farm) then I freeze them.  My kids adore eating frozen berries and I have been known to eat a bowlful of frozen raspberries from time to time.  The best thing you can do with frozen berries though is to make daiquiris.  Is there any drink more delicious than a frozen strawberry daiquiri on a hot day?  I think not!  Can lead to headaches though……

Figs – Dried – A great many summer fruits lend themselves to drying.  Personally I love dried apricots.  Whenever I went to my grandmas as a child the first thing I would do was head to her pantry and raid her dried apricot jar.  The dried apricots she bought, and the ones I love, aren’t as moist as the Turkish ones sold in Europe, they are the ones dried in Australia.  They are more rubbery than the European ones and slightly sour.  Frankly they are absolutely delicious.  As are dried figs.  Figs are one of my favourite summer fruits in that they are only available for a short time each year and then they are gone.  Whilst I’ve never dried figs myself I buy them dried often and imagine that they would dry easily.  Anyone tried it? 

Plum Vodka

Plums – Vodka – My mum and dad have a plum tree and this year they managed to save a few fruit from the cockatoos and rosellas.   I’m going up to get a bagful on Thursday.  Many will be eaten fresh, Miss 6 is a big plum fan.  Some will become jam and some will become Plum Vodka.  Very Russian, very good!

So Top 5 summer fruits with Top 5 preserving methods – two top 5’s for the price of one this week.  Next week I’ll continue with the preserving theme with the Top 5 summer vegetables and methods for preserving them.  In the meantime I would love to know what fruits you have or plan to preserve in summer.

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13 Responses to Top 5 – Summer Fruits and Methods to Preserve them

  1. Mark Willis says:

    You’ll have to start thinking about building an Annexe to house all the stuff you preserve…
    The Fowlers method of preserving seems to have fallen out of fashion here in the UK, but it is often mentioned by my blogging friends in the US. Do you ever make your fruit into Rumtopf? This is something we experienced years ago in Germany and loved it.

  2. kitsapFG says:

    I love to freeze berries too. They are a great quick add to my work day lunches… by the time I get to them at noon they have mostly thawed and are a chilled sweet treat!

  3. Norma Chang says:

    I have not tried drying figs but I do freeze them. They are easy to freeze, just wash, bag, date, label and freeze. Delicious eaten partially frozen or thawed.

  4. Sarah says:

    I love making jams and freezing berries for a hit of a summer flavours in the depths of winter. I’ve made damson vodka, but never thought to do the same with plums – a project for later this year… I also didn’t know that you can freeze figs – thanks Norma!

  5. Nina says:

    I’m looking forward to your reports on the Vacola! I think I mentioned that I invested in a ‘pressure canner’ but I’ve not tried it out yet, either. I need the time AND the produce.

    Not being sweet of tooth, I don’t expect to be making jam anytime soon but someone has promised to bring in a pile of plums for me – I need a non-jam recipe to use them up! Plum vodka sounds PERFECT – any chance of the recipe?? 🙂

    • Liz says:

      Halve a kg of plums leaving the pips in. Combine with 700g of sugar and 1.5 litres vodka. Leave for 6 weeks, occasionally shaking to dissolve the sugar. Strain and bottle. You can also use the plums as an alcoholic addition to ice cream etc.

  6. Dave's SFG says:

    Rather than grow strawberries ourselves, we visit some of the pick your own farms in the area. A favorite way to preserve some of the flavor of fresh strawberries (before I gave up sugar) was to make freezer jam. You use liquid pectin and sugar with crushed strawberries. They have to sit at room temperature for a day or two to make sure all the sugar dissolves or you get gritty jam. The nice thing about this type of freezer jam is it preserves the pure flavor of the fresh fruit without adding a cooked, plummy taste to the jam. Great on toast or spooned over ice cream with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

    • Liz says:

      Wow, I’ve never tried that method of jam making – sounds really interesting. We too frequent the pick your own – perhaps its time to have another visit.

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