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After steralisation is complete the bottles should be left overnight  to cool. Once cool your bottles of fruit and veg are at the final stage ready for storage. To ensure the best chances of long term success you need to test the seals before you squirrel you produce away for the winter months.

The seal tests will depend upon the type of lid used however before you test the lids check that the glass container has not cracked during the heating and cooling process. If the glass is cracked or chipped discard the container and it's contents, which will not be safe to eat.

Checking the seals

Clip top containers - remove the clip and hold the container by the lid, it should remian firmly in place.

Banded screw top lids - remove the screw band and hold the container by the lid, it should remian firmly in place.

Bush button lids -  the button may well have popped in as the container cooled, if it did not tap the button and see if it pops in. If the button does not pop in the seal is not good.

In any of the above if the lid comes off or the button is out then the seal is broken and the food will not store.In this case you should consume the food as quickly as possible assuming the glass container is not damaged. If the glass container is damaged discard the  container and it's contents.

Preparing for storage

You might need to clean the outside of your bottles if they have spilt syrup on them. Make sure they are clean, dry and grease free. Write up labels for each container including the date your preserves were made. You might want to add a nice lid cover especially if you plan to give them as gifts or enter them into your local show.

For storage the best place to keep you produce is a cool dark cupboard. Light will effect the colour of your produce, particularly at risk are strawberries and green vegetables. Ensure that you use the oldest first if you have made more than one batch.

Enjoy!

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