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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

Why?

  • 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

Why?

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Why?

  • 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

Why?

  • 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

Why?

  • 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 foodandhealth@southglos.gov.uk

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