How to Start Homemade Preserves and Pickle Business

homemade preserves businessFruit preserves are fruits, or vegetables, that have been prepared and canned for long term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves traditionally involves the use of pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used as well. Depending upon which ingredients are used and how they are prepared will determine the type of preserve; jams, jellies and marmalades are all examples of different styles of fruit preserves that vary based upon the ingredients used.

Packing Fruits
Raw Pack (Cold Pack)– Pack raw fruit into jars and cover with boiling hot sugar syrup, juice or water. It is necessary to leave a head space between the lid and the top of food or liquid. This space is needed for the bubbling of liquids and fruit expansion. If the jars are filled too full the contents may overflow during processing. The amount of head space is usually between 1/8 and 1/2 inch. Check the individual recipe for the exact amount of head space.

Hot Pack– Heat fruit in syrup, in water or over steam before packing. Fruits with a high juice content and tomatoes can be pre-heated without adding liquid and then packed in the juice that cooks out.

To Fill Jars– Pack each jar to within 1/4 inch of top or as specified in individual recipe. For non-liquid foods(ie. peaches) it is necessary to remove any trapped air bubbles by running a rubber spatula or table knife gently between the solid product and the edge of the jar. Add more hot syrup as needed. Wipe rim and screw threads with a clean damp cloth, place lid on top and screw bands on tightly and evenly to hold rubber sealing lid (or sealing ring) in place. Sometimes it is necessary to position and hold down sealing lid while you tighten the band to insure the lid is centered on the top of the jar. Do not over-tighten. Jars are then ready to be placed on the rack inside hot water canner.

Processing Fruit Preserves and Pickles
Water Bath Method– The boiling water bath method is safe for tomatoes, fruits, jams, jellies, pickles and other preserves.

Place jars on rack immediately after packing. Lower filled rack into canner. Jars should be covered by 1 to 2 inches of water. Add additional boiling water if needed. If you add more water, pour between jars and not directly on them (this is where the extra pot of heated water comes in handy). Cover pot with lid. When the water comes to a rolling boil, start to count the processing time. Boil gently and steadily for the time recommended for the food being processed. When the cooking time is up, remove jars at once and place on a rack or on towels away from heat and away from any draft.

Test for Seal

After jars have cooled between 12 and 24 hours after processing, check seal. To do this press down on the center of the lid. The lid should be con-caved and not move when pressed. Another method is to tap the lid with the bottom of a teaspoon. If the jar is sealed correctly, it will make a high-pitched sound. If it makes a dull sound it means the lid is not sealed or possibly that food is in contact with the underside of the lid. Do not be alarmed if during the first the first hour or so of cooling if you hear a popping sound come from the jars. This is a good sound to hear as it most often means that the vacuum effect has taken place which causes the lids to pop down and seal.

After jars have cooled thoroughly, the screw bands may be removed if desired. Be sure to label canned jars with content and processing date. Store jars in a cool dark, dry place.

How to Make Sugar Syrup
Light Sugar Syrup- 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water
Medium Sugar Syrup- 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water
Heavy Sugar Syrup- 4 3/4 cups sugar and 4 cups water

Procedure: To prepare syrup, while heating water, add sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Bring to a gentle boil. Fill jars while syrup is still boiling hot.

Some Homemade Preserves and Pickle Recipes for your Business.
Strawberry Jam Recipe
“This is by far the easiest recipe I have found for strawberry jam without using a pectin. The jam is soft, spreadable and delicious.”

Keep in mind, though, that other similarly pulpy and juicy fruits can also be made into jam.

* 910 g fresh strawberries, hulled
* 800 g white sugar
* 60 ml lemon juice

1. In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C). Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. Process any unsealed jars in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don’t bother with processing, and just refrigerate.

To test for jelling– Place three plates in a freezer… after about 10 minutes of boiling place a tsp of the liquid of the jam onto the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate… if it doesn’t try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger) it’s ready to be canned! Recipe by Katharine found at Allrecipes.com.

Production Cost & Pricing

To compute for production cost, divide the buying price per kg of each of your ingredients by 1,000, then multiply result by the volume you actually used in making the product. For example, white sugar is P38 per kg. Divide that amount by 1,000 to get the cost per gram (a kilogram is equal to 1,000 grams). You will get a quotient of P0.038 per gram, which then has to be multiplied by 250g, which the actual amount of sugar you mixed with the jam. Do the same arithmetic for the rest of the ingredients. Add up the results to get your total production cost.

Add to this sum the cost of the bottle and add 10 percent for your overhead costs (electricity, gas and water).

You may price the jam at P80 to P100 per 230g bottle. However, depending on your market, all-natural fruit jams may be priced from P150 to P200 per 230g bottle. You may choose to just add 100 percent profit margin to your total cost.

Dill Pickles Recipe
* 8 pounds 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
* 4 cups white vinegar
* 12 cups water
* 2/3 cup pickling salt
* 16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
* 8 sprigs fresh dill weed
* 8 heads fresh dill weed

1. Wash cucumbers, and place in the sink (I use the bathtub!) with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice water for at least 2 hours but no more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required. Sterilize 8 (1 quart) canning jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.

2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.

3. In each jar, place 2 half-cloves of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 pound). Then add 2 more garlic halves, and 1 sprig of dill. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar’s rims of any residue.

4. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process quart jars for 15 minutes.

5. Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place. Recipe by Sharon Howard at Allrecipes.com

Packaging Fruit Preserves and Pickles
Use labels that will appeal to your target market. If you’re targeting kids, the labels must be colorful and attractive. If you’re targeting health buffs, it would be good to make the label carry health tips and cite the nutritional benefits of the fruit.

How to Register your Homemade Preserves and Pickle Business?
Click here for the steps on How to Register your Business. (Tagalog Version)

Where to Sell your Homemade Preserves and Pickles?
1. Sell it to your friends, relatives and neighbors. They will be your bases if your product is ready for a bigger market.

2. Join food trade shows and bazaars. This will gain enough visibility to leverage and showcase your homemade fruit preserves. Make sure you have different products to offer.

3. Sell it to grocery stores. Focus on the consumer first through grocery exposure, and then impacting them through restaurants and other food places.

Sources: canning-food-recipes.com, entrepreneur.com.ph, allrecipes.com, Wikipedia
Photo: wikipedia

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