Summer preserved in a bottle at Bass

With summer over and the fruit trees losing their leaves, it was the time to capture a bit of that summer sun in a bottle.

The beginning of March saw an enthusiastic group of future ‘bottlers’ gathered at Bass Community Hall to learn the basics of preserving fruit.

This was another free ‘Future Homes’ event run by Bass Coast Shire Council and Bass Coast Landcare Network aimed to assist residents to prepare for a healthy, sustainable future.

Susan Davies led attendees through the process of preparing and bottling fruit for preserving using the Fowlers method. Susan grows and preserves her own fruit and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. The Fowlers Vacola system, first developed in 1915, has traditionally been the most popular method of home preserving seasonal fruit in Australia.

While todays Fowlers Jars may look just like those you saw in your grandmother’s cupboard years ago, there has been some improvement in the ease and efficiency of the preserving methods that have evolved over the years. Susan had many tips and suggestions to pass on and made the process easy. Everyone at the workshop went home with at least one bottle of fruit which they had learned to preserve themselves in the space of just a few hours.

It is very clear to see that food production, cooking and preserving is again a growing trend in Australian households. In past eras, it was essential for most households to preserve food for out-of-season consumption, but for many of us now, modern life has left us without the skills of past generations.

This is changing as Australians move towards a healthier and more sustainable diet. Fruit trees and vegetable patches are springing up on balconies, roofs and in courtyards these days as we now know more about the health benefits and therapeutic effects of growing our own produce. Preserving our own produce has similar benefits and is also a cost effective method of eating a healthy diet all year round.

The Bottle It Up and Put a Lid On It workshop was a huge success; not only for the new bottling skills learned from Susan, but also for the roundtable exchange of ideas and knowledge about everything from salami making to sourdough starters.

The ‘Future Homes’ program has two more free sessions before July – Keeping Carbon on Farms and Community Gardens for Everyone. Enquiries can be directed to Rosie Scott-Thompson at Bass Coast Landcare Network at or call 0409 366 914.