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Preserves checklist

This checklist has been developed to help home caterers, with a good knowledge of preserve and chutney making to produce them safely, in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning and food complaints.

This guidance is written to enable a person to produce and sell preserves and chutneys from home or at a stall, such as at a farmers’ market. If you plan to sell to a retail shop please contact us for further labelling advice.

Your kitchen

  • constructed of materials that are easy to clean
  • and without cracks and crevices that could harbour dirt and allow access to pests
  • designed to allow good access to areas for cleaning, sanitation, checking and maintenance
  • suitable size for the nature of your business
  • used exclusively for the purpose of the food business while such food is being prepared
  • not used for any purpose which is likely to contaminate or adversely affect the food
  • cleaning equipment i.e. hot running water, cloths and cleaning chemicals, sink, dishwasher


  • makes cleaning easier
  • prevents build-up of bacteria and contaminants
  • reduces access to pests
  • removes harmful bacteria and stops them spreading

Personal hygiene

  • provide hand wash equipment i.e. hot and cold running water, soap and towels
  • wear clean clothes and remove jewellery
  • tie long hair back and keep fingernails short
  • be in good health – do not bake if you have got a heavy cold or cough, open wounds, or symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea
  • remove nail varnish


  • prevents harmful bacteria from spreading onto your food
  • prevents foreign bodies from getting into food e.g. metal, hair, nail


  • safe storage of fruit, vegetables, ingredients and packaging
  • use good quality fruit, vegetables and ingredients i.e. not bruised, damaged or showing signs of mould
  • transport and store fresh fruit and vegetables separately from other foods
  • use fruit or vegetables that do not contain chemical residues
  • store all ingredients away from allergens e.g. nuts


  • prevents contamination by bacteria, pests and foreign objects
  • prevents tainting and producing a poor quality product
  • prevents allergic reactions in consumers

Preparation and storage

  • always follow a reputable recipe
  • always wash the outer surface of the fruit or vegetables in clean running water
  • sort produce, and remove spoiled, mouldy fruit, vegetables, cores, stones, etc.
  • accurately weigh or measure all ingredients according to the recipe
  • cook the fruit or vegetables and other ingredients until the desired percentage of soluble solids is reached
  • wash containers in hot water with detergent and rinse well prior to using, or wash in a dishwasher
  • sterilise the jars by submerging them in boiling water or heating in a hot oven for 10 minutes. If you use the boiling water method, allow each item to drain and completely dry on a clean surface. Keep hot and store inverted until you are ready to fill them
  • carefully fill containers with hot preserve or chutney in a way that prevents the container rim and lid seal becoming contaminated
  • leave an air space between the top of the preserve or chutney and the lid. Put the lid on the container while the contents are hot
  • allow jars to cool and check they are sealed. One way to check this is the “button” on pop lids has sucked down by the vacuum created inside the jar


  • to ensure the correct legal compositional requirements are met

Labelling requirements

  • apply correct label to the container – food sold pre-packed for direct sale does not require full labelling, only the name of the food, list of allergens, and whether any ingredients have been irradiated or genetically modified
  • Guidance on honey labelling


  • to ensure the correct legal labelling requirements are met
  • to inform the customer of the contents of your product

For further help please contact South Gloucestershire Environmental Health, phone 01454 868001 or email

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