Most fruits can be preserved well – they will cook and change in consistency during processing though - firmer fruit will keep their shape, however softer fruits (i.e. berries) will lose shape but retain flavour. As fruits vary in density, some are “raw packed” into jars, whilst other firmer fruits (or fruits with high oxygen content) are warmed before packing. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages – choose which method suits the fruit and your preference.
Raw packing (also known as cold packing) involves fresh fruit being prepared and packed directly into jars without heating the fruit first. Apricots and other soft-fleshed fruits are best packed this way – pre-heating would otherwise soften the fruit and make it difficult to fill the jars properly/retain the fruit shape. As the oxygen is not removed from fruit, “fruit float” can occur with these jars – fruit separates from the syrup and rises in the jar during processing/cooling. To reduce the floating, use a shouldered jar (i.e. neck is narrower than sides) to help keep the fruit submerged and presented well in the jars, as discolouration may occur because the fruit has a higher oxygen content. Raw packed fruit often is processed longer than hot packed fruit.
The most common method of fruit bottling, hot packing involves preparing the fruit, blanching/warming for 30 seconds to a few minutes (for denser fruit) before packing into jars. Hot packed fruits do not float, and you will find they will fit neater into the jars because as they are heated, they reduce in size slightly. This pre-heating does not cook down the fruit, just warms the fruit through before bottling. Hot packed fruit is often processed for a shorter period than raw packed fruit.

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