I have always considered the bottling of fruits to be a bit old fashioned and that following the advent of freezers bottling became a little redundant. Then, on holiday in France I once picked up a jar of bottled raspberries in a beautiful artisan shop and having tasted them – I changed my mind. The fruits, still whole have a wonderful depth of flavour and can be used as a topping for icecreams, sponge puddings, added to a coulis to enrich the fruits or simply served as they are during those long winter months when fresh raspberries are a fond, distant memory. I personally love them with my breakfast cereal and a blob of natural yoghurt.
You will need a large preserving pan
The fruit needs to be firm and dry.
The jars need to be perfectly clean then placed in a warm oven (100°C, Gas Mark ¼, 212°F) until ready to use.
Place the sugar and the water in the preserving pan and dissolve until clear over a low heat. When the sugar has dissolved add the vanilla then turn up the heat and bring to a fast boil for 1 minute. . If you have a sugar thermometer and the temperature needs to reach 105°C (221°F).
Turn off the heat then add first the firm fruits (cherries and redcurrants), give them a stir then add the strawberries and raspberries and stir slowly and only enough to coat them in the syrup. Be careful not to break up the fruit.
Return to the heat and bring back to the boil then simmer for just 6 minutes stirring gently once or twice so that they don’t burn. Transfer then to your warm sterilised jars, screw the tops on then leave to go completely cold.
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