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Bottle Excess Food To Preserve The Harvest

November 28, 2011 by  

Bottle Excess Food To Preserve The Harvest

Canning and preserving your own food is a great way to save money and ensure that your family consumes only healthy foods that contain no harmful preservatives, additives or pesticides. Preserving food at home is becoming popular as more and more people are realizing that home-canned food is far superior to that of store-bought.

There are several names for food preservation, such as: canning, bottling, preserving, putting up or putting food by. The preserving process involves sugaring or salting and boiling to kill any bacteria that might be in the food, then sealing it by placing jars into boiling water, which seals the lids tight on the jars.

Benefits Of Canning Your Own Food

Foods that are preserved at home are by far the healthiest you can provide your family. You can cut your food bill and save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year by canning and preserving your own food. The process of canning food is fairly easy; and you can rest assured that the food your family consumes is fresh, healthy and contains no harmful pesticides, chemicals, preservatives or additives. You control the amount of sugar and salt in foods that you preserve at home. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I bottle my harvest.

If you really want to get into preserving food, I suggest you purchase one of the great books on the market that explains the process step by step. There are instructions on the Internet as well. To learn how to preserve food, click here. The Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving is a great book to have.

Preserving The HarvestCanning Or Bottling

Most of our grandmothers knew how to can food. Their pantries were filled with preserved fruits, jams, jellies, vegetables, stews, soups and meats. As the years have gone by, people have become more dependent on grocery stores and fast food restaurants. However, people now are realizing that we must get back to our roots and grow and preserve our own food to be healthy.

The canning process is one way we can preserve our harvest. The process stops or slows down spoilage of homegrown foods, preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, fungi and other microorganisms, as well as slowing the rancidity of fats. Canning provides a typical shelf life of about two to five years if the jars are kept in ideal conditions, which are cool, dark and dry.

Sugar Or Sweetener

Use sugar to preserve fruits. Make a syrup with sugar and water, then pour the syrup over the fruit. Then seal the jars by using the boiling-water method. When I bottle fruit, I like to use pineapple or apple juice as the sweetener so that I am not adding extra refined sugar to my fruits.


Foods with low acidity (a pH higher than 4.6) need sterilization with a higher temperature (116-130 degrees Celsius). A pressure canner must be used to reach temperatures above the boiling point. Foods that must be pressure-canned include most vegetables, meats, seafood and dairy products. The only foods that may be safely canned in ordinary boiling water are highly acidic food with a pH lower than 4.6, such as fruits, vegetables or other foods to which lemon juice or vinegar have been added.

Preserved FruitEquipment Required For Bottling Or Pressure-Canning:

  • Bottles (better known as canning jars): The most popular sizes are pints and quarts.
  • Lids and rings for the jars: The lids are best if they are new, however the rings can be used over and over. Lids and rings can be purchased from any grocery store, usually during canning season.
  • Wooden spoon with a long handle: This helps pack the fruit into the bottles.
  • Jar-lifting tongs: Tongs keep the hot bottles from burning your hands.
  • Thermometer: For making jams and jellies.
  • Canning pot: This pot can be purchased in any grocery store or kitchen store. This pot must be large enough to hold six or more jars of food and deep enough to cover the jars with water. This method is used for processing some fruits and vegetables.

Apple PieApple Pie Filling

This recipe came from

Try this easy recipe and feel the satisfaction of bottling apple pie filling at home, just like our grandmas used to do.

You will need:

12 cups sliced peeled cored apples, (about 12 medium apples) treated by soaking them for 15 minutes with ½ cup lemon juice in a large size bowl of water to prevent browning. Drain the water off before proceeding.

2-3/4 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup ClearJel® (cooking starch used for preserving)

1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice

1-1/4 cups cold water

1/2 cup lemon juice

7 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


  1. Wash all jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well. Place the jars in a pot of hot water to temper them so they don’t break when they are put in the boiling water. In a separate small pan, heat water and put the metal lids in the hot water until you are ready to use them. You will need a wire rack on which to place the jars inside the pot, so that the jars do not touch the bottom of the pot. If you do not have a wire rack, you can line the bottom of the pot with a kitchen towel folded over so that the bottles do not touch the bottom of the pot.
  2. Prepare the apples, using the best-quality produce possible. I like to sort through and use up the apples that are going soft first. Peel the apples and cut them into apple pie-sized slices. Blanch the apple slices (6 cups at a time) in a large pot of boiling water for about one minute. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon and keep them in a bowl.
  3. In a separate large, stainless-steel saucepan, combine sugar, ClearJel®, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in apple juice and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil for one more minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain any excess liquid off the apple slices and immediately fold them into the hot mixture. Before canning the apple pie mixture, continue cooking until the apples are heated through. (ClearJel® can be purchased from kitchen or food storage stores that sell canning equipment. Or click here.)
  4. Spoon the cooked pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a butter knife into the mixture in the canning jar. Clean the rim of the jar, center the lid on the jar and apply the band until it is tight.
  5. When the jars are ready to process, place them into the pot of simmering water with either a wire rack or folded towel on the bottom. The jars must not touch the bottom of the pot or they will crack and break. Make sure the water comes up over the top of the jars.
  6. Usually, seven quart-sized jars will process at once. Cover the pot with the lid and bring the water to a rolling boil. Begin the processing time. Process the jars in boiling water for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove the jars and place them on a kitchen towel. Do not touch them for about 12 hours. Check the seals and if the lids are concave and do not bounce back up when pushed down then they are sealed. If the lid does not seal after 24 hours and it can be lifted off the jar easily or if the lid pops up when depressed, it can be processed again. Clean the rim of the jar and check to see if there is a broken piece of glass on the rim. If so, then throw that jar away.

In addition to the classic pie, this apple pie filling allows you to quickly make luscious desserts such as apple turnovers, apple crisp or apple dumplings.

Food Storage And Self-Sufficiency Products Available

If you are interested in any of the seven books I have written, books on preserving food, such as Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook or Cookin’ with Home Storage, water storage tanks, ION water treatment, dehydrated or freeze-dried food storage sealed in gallon-sized cans with a shelf life of 15 years, wheat grinders, Bio-Clean sewage treatment, 72-hour packs or emergency medical supplies, click here and click on Go Shop. Select samples on the left hand column and order them to try before you buy.

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

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  • Marilyn

    This site has been an answer to my prayers. Thank You, trice over.
    Marilyn Kalandek

  • Sirian

    Isn’t it amazing that so few have a comment on this? Canning is a tradition in my family and continues on year by year. It is a very important skill to hold – not that hard at all to learn. But if things roll on down the road it’s on now, well, food is going to become extremely valuable. More so than many realize. Stock up folks, if you and your family hold any meaning, STOCK UP!!

    • Old Henry


      You are right on the money. Glad you are still gardening and canning. Before long there will be many in this country caught by surprise and going hungry.

  • Theotherhalf

    Ideally if you aren’t growing your own food, you are in a co-op. Canning grocery store food or even farmers market produce is just way too expensive.

  • Henry Ledbetter

    Thanks Peggy
    We got back into canning this year and my wife spent a week to teach our son at his house. I pray all had a great Thanksgiving with God and family.

  • Old Henry

    Great article Peggy. You never cease to amaze me with your knowledge and insight.

    We used to do a lot of canning from the late 70s into the early 2000s. In the mid 80s I filled the large garden with raised beds and buried weeper hoses in each one, connecting each bed with regular hose so as not to water areas that had no need for the water. I simply connected my garden hose to the end of the first buried weeper hose and could water the entire garden without wasting a drop of water as sprinklers do. It worked great for about 17 years until we needed a new drain field for our septic system at which time it all had to be removed. At the time I was working too many hours and did not have the time to re-make the garden so I planted blue grass. I guess in retrospect that was a mistake.

  • independant thinker

    My wife and I are self taught canners. I grew up long enough ago that men (boys) didn’t learn much kitchen stuff and my wife being the baby of the family didn’t help with the canning. We tried freezing everything but quickly ran out of room in the freezer so now we can most things and are prepared to can the stuff in the freezer if it should become necessary. I have a medium sized garden which I am continualy working to improve with compost and manure.

    • Old Henry


      Have you and your wife ever done any pressure cooking? My wife won’t hear of it as she is scared stiff of the thing blowing up.

      • independant thinker

        Nope O.H. we have done pressure canning but not cooking. My mother used to use a pressure cooker regularly and never had any problens though. I have thought about getting a pressure cooker but we aqre retired and just use the crock pot for things we would otherwise pressure cook.

      • Adriane

        I was afraid to use a pressure cooker too. But I bought one, and the new ones have a couple of automatic pressure relief options that keep them from ‘blowing’ like the old ones. The first time I used it I kept everyone away from the kitchen, but there really isn’t anything to be afraid of. It’s a great way to cook beans quickly. I’ve also put a whole chicken in it and then put it in the oven/broiler for a few minutes to brown up. Cooks things so fast! Go for it, the new ones are safe.

      • independant thinker

        Old Henery, there is an excellent article about pressure cookers in the December/January issue of Mother Earth News that just came out.

  • Joyce from Loris

    We grow our own food and can majority of it. I do not use a pressure canner, as I am afraid of it, and my grandmother never had one, and canned all of her vegetables, chicken, soup and stews with NEVER a problem. So, I will trust grammy. We did, however, have to purchase butter beans this year as mine did not produce (very hot, dry weather), so I got butter beans from a local farmer who shells, washes and vacume seals them. They must have been sour, because I lost all the jars of butter beans. I canned peas, squash and tomatoes, all at the same time, and lost none of those. All the butter beans were ruined, so they had to have been sour when I purchased them. I will try the soaker hose method of watering this coming year on my butter beans.

    • Old Henry


      Be sure to use the black porous rubber hose as it “weeps”, sort of like a sweaty copper pipe in the basement in the summer. As I remember they will water up to three feet on either side.

      They come in 50′ lengths, but can be shortened to whatever you need. You can then simply install a “repair coupling” with male threads on the cut end and crew on the cap that came on the hose.

    • charli chikn lady

      joyce…. butter beans have to be pressure canned. they do not contain enough acidity to can safely! nor does corn and a large host of other veggies! we DID buy a pressure canner this past spring and it works BEAUTIFULLY! waterbath canning is so much simpler but we have to be careful exactly WHAT is waterbath canned! ALSO!!! i have just learned a VERY old way to can DRY, DRY, DRY foods such as dry beans (pintos, etc.), grits, oatmeal, rice…. ANYTHING that we consider to be “DRY”! i’m collecting all my dry goods right now to get ready to do this amazing thing! YOU DO IT IN THE OVEN!!!!! and you need to get several dry foods together and do all at the same time! sterilize all jars and let dry. handle carefully and fill each jar with dry goods. set oven to 200 degrees. set a “jelly roll” pan on the middle rack. set all jars on the pan. close door and leave alone for TWO hours. wash lids in hot soapy water, dry. at end of 2 hrs. – pull HOT jars out of oven carefully and attach the seal and add ring to finger tight. let sit to cool and “can” itself. these products have a shelf life of guess what? INDEFINATELY!!!! i’m VERY excited to try this method! ANYTHING DRY!!! nuts may have too much oil… been growing our food garden for twelve years now and all my family love to “RAID” the pantry! good luck! oh! and give the pressure canner a try! we had a blast doing it together! me & hubby

      • Joe H.

        We have cold packed beans, corn, tomatoes(both yellow and red) Grape juice, pears, apples, pickles, peaches, and all kinds of other things. If done right, at the right temp, and in clean sterile canning jars, it is very safe!! I have eaten canned goods ten years old with no ill effects! the trick is to make damn sure they seal and watch the color of your goods!!

  • http://IE Krystyna Clark

    Canning is not money saving, unless you do it on quite a large scale. It is healthy but it is very expensive compared to shopping in the store. And unless you start from seed it’s even more expensive.

    • Old Henry


      Most of the cost is up-front, getting jars, lids, rings, cooking equipment. All can be used over and over except for the lids and they are relatively inexpensive.

      Also, part of Peggy’s perspective is that when the system fails you will not be dependent on the grocery store.

      If you cannot grow your own and must purchase it you can save money by purchasing in-season and from Farmers Markets, road-side stands, etc.

      If you watch your paper, or “network” among like-minded individuals you can sometimes find local farmers who are offering, say, sweet corn for the picking. Or, perhaps a farmer may have a crop of beans / peas that he has grown for a large canning company and they have rejected them for some reason. The farmer canno sell the produce, but they can give it away to folks who want to come out and pick it. We have done this in the past.

      • Joe H.

        Old Henry,
        so right!! we went last year and picked about four burlap bags full to the top with sweet corn that the farmer didn’t want to bother picking as it was in the corners of the field. his loss was our gain!!I grow my own beans, but if I need more, I know a farmer near by that I can go to and he will let me pick my own at a greatly reduced price as I did some welding for him on his equipment and didn’t charge him an arm and a leg!!


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