Is bottling food preservation method for you? How much do you love your own homemade food? If the answer is “a lot”, then bottling your own food may be a good idea for you. This especially works if you are a home foodie and want to enjoy your homegrown veggies and fruits all year round.
Do you love food but hate the prep and cleanup? If so, then bottling your own food may be an excellent option for you. Do the cleanup and prep once, and enjoy the results later!
It’s a fun hobby that takes little time, and it’s also a way to have access to healthy ingredients 24/7. Bottling your own food is relatively easy to do. With some helpful tips from an experienced food bottling expert, you can begin your own home food-bottling business or just have some tasty home-canned foods.
If you want to start bottling your own food but don’t know how to get started, read on for some valuable tips on how to bottle your own food like an expert.
What is Bottling Food Preservation?
You’re simply preparing fruits and vegetables for long-term storage when you bottle your own food. You can use any glass container for bottling food preservation, but food-grade bottles or jars are the best options since you’ll be putting food in them.
When bottling your own food, it’s essential to follow specific procedures to ensure your food stays fresh and edible for as long as possible. One of the most critical steps is sterilizing your equipment and bottles.
You can either put your equipment in boiling water or put it through the dishwasher (on the sanitize setting) to kill any germs that may be present.
When you’re ready to bottle your food, it’s important to ensure you’re using the right amount of liquid. You want your food to be entirely covered by the liquid, but you don’t want it to be too full.
If it’s too full, the pressure from the air inside the bottle could cause your lid to get damaged. If it’s not covered enough, your food may go bad.
Why Bottle Your Own Food?
Bottling food preservation is a great way to save money and eat healthily. You can buy in bulk from local farmers, so you’re getting high-quality produce at a low price.
Plus, you can use your own home-brewed vinegar for more economical and healthier recipes. If you’re worried about storing your produce long-term, you’ll want to bottle it.
Bottling your produce lets it last longer, so you don’t have to worry about consuming it too quickly and having nothing left to eat. If you’re growing your own food, you’ll want to bottle and store it so you can enjoy it later in the year when the plants aren’t producing as much food.
Finding Fresh and Organic Food
If you want to start bottling food preservation, it’s important to find high-quality, organic produce. Fresh, organic produce will look and taste better, and you won’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals.
Start with your local farmers. There are likely small farms in your area that are growing organic produce. You can usually find them at local farmer’s markets.
If you can’t find anyone in your area growing organic produce, you can buy your produce online. This is an excellent option if you’re able to purchase in bulk, preserve it and store your produce properly.
Equipment You’ll Need
You’ll need only a few different pieces of equipment to start bottling your own food. You’ll need glass bottles, or jars, lids, and a large pot for hot water in order to sterilize your bottles and caps.
A jar lifter might also be handy if you use jars.
As mentioned, before you bottle your food, you’ll need to sanitize your equipment. You can either put bottles and lids in boiling water or run them through the dishwasher on the sanitize setting.
Let them sit until they’re completely dry. You don’t want any moisture inside your bottles, or you risk growing mold.
The Bottling Food Preservation Process
Once your food is ready to be bottled, you can follow this simple process to make sure it stays fresh and edible for as long as possible.
- First, wash your produce thoroughly. This will remove any dirt and bacteria that may be present.
- Next, you’ll want to cut your fruit and vegetables and make whatever you want from them according to your recipe.
- Place the preserves into the jar with the help of a funnel if needed. Make sure to leave the recommended headspace according to the recipe.
- Wipe the rim of the containers with a clean cloth and fit the lid on with a ring.
- Go through the recipe to determine the processing time. Start counting time when the water comes to a boil. Utilize jar lifters to place the jars on the canning rack.
- If using a pressure canner, choose the canner pressure (PSI) specified in the recipe.
- After the processing is complete, let the jars sit undisturbed until they have cooled.
- When the jar is sealed, you will hear a “ping” sound for water bath canning. The lid will be concave and should not depress when pressed.
- If any jars do not seal properly, they can be reprocessed or placed in the refrigerator. Store the jars without their rings in a cool and dry place.
- When preserving vegetables, add peppers and garlic. You can cut or grind your peppers and garlic. This will ensure they’re thoroughly mixed with the rest of your food.
- For the best flavor, please wait until the last day you can pick your produce to bottle it.
Storing and Rotating Your Produce
Once you’ve bottled your food, it’s important to store it correctly so it will last as long as possible. For best results, rotate your bottled food to use the oldest bottles first.
You’ll also want to store your food in a cool, dark place to slow down the bacterial process. While bottled produce will last longer than fresh produce, it’s still important to rotate your bottles.
Food spoils when exposed to too much oxygen, bacteria, and fungus. Bottled produce is no different. If you don’t open your bottles in time, the food will go bad, just like it would in a sealed bag.
Selecting the Right Foods to Bottle
If you’re new to bottling and aren’t sure what to start with, here are a few suggestions.
Tomatoes – are great to bottle because they taste great with just a little bit of salt and sugar. These are also the easiest vegetable to bottle, so they’re a great beginner project.
Peppers – like tomatoes, peppers are easy to bottle and taste great with just a bit of salt and sugar. You can also try adding a bit of vinegar to give them a different taste. Peppers are also great because they last a long time. Once they’re bottled, they should last at least a year.
Hot peppers – these peppers are great to bottle because they’re very spiced and flavorful. You can bottle them with a bit of vinegar, salt, and sugar. Hot peppers also last a long time once they’re bottled.
How to Bottle Beets
When you grow your own beets and want to bottle them, you must prepare them first. Cut off the tops and leaves of the beets, and then clean them by scrubbing them with a vegetable brush. However, you can scrub them also after cooking.
Cook the beets until they are soft, which should take roughly 15 minutes. Save two cups of the cooking liquid, then remove the excess and take off the skins of the beets.
Now, prepare your bottles:
- Sterilize them with hot water first.
- Make sure you leave about four inches of space at the top of each bottle.
- Fill your bottles with the beets.
Now, you want to cover the tops of the beets with a mixture of sugar, vinegar, salt, and water — one part mixture and three parts water. Seal the bottles with tin foil or a lid; you can also use a cork.
Store the beets in a dark, dry place. As these pickled beets have been processed, they remain safe to store at room temperature in a sealed package for up to a year.
However, beets that have had their packaging opened must be kept in the refrigerator and will stay fresh for around three to four days.
How to Bottle Your Own Tomato Sauce
Harvest some tomatoes and start by juicing them. You need to have three times more tomatoes than the amount of water you use.
Now, pour the juice into a pan and boil it until it reduces to a thick sauce. Let it cool, and then pour it into sterilized bottles.
Now, you need to seal the bottles. You can use a cork, or you can also use a self-sealing locket. Make sure you put the bottles in a dark, dry place. As with the beets, for about two months, tomato sauce remains safe to store at room temperature in a sealed package for up to a year.
How to Bottle Your Own Salsa
Make the salsa by combining peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro in a large bowl. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar, then cover it and let it sit for an hour.
Now, spoon the mixture into sterilized bottles, and make sure you leave about two inches of space at the top of each bottle.
Now, you need to add an acid to preserve the salsa for about a year. The best choice is lemon juice, but you can also use vinegar. Use two tablespoons of acid for every 12 ounces of salsa.
Add the acid after you put the salsa in the bottles, and then seal the bottles. Now, put the bottles in a dark, dry place.
Nothing is better than enjoying homemade food, especially when you know exactly what ingredients you have put in it.
Do you remember the first time you tasted something so good that it left you speechless? Perhaps it was an apple from your grandfather’s garden, a peach from your neighbor’s tree, or a grape from your schoolyard.
You can never forget the taste and smell of something so fresh and authentic. If you have such fond memories about the food you had as a child, why not bring it back home and fill your pantry with these fruits, vegetables, jams, pickles, and more?
If you are interested in learning how to bottle your own food, you should start with some easy recipes. Once you get the hang of it, you can move on to more advanced recipes.
Keep in mind that you will need to prepare your bottles and other equipment ahead of time, and you will also need to sterilize everything to avoid contaminating your food. And remember to keep your bottled food in a cool, dry place for the best results.