Canning fruits is a great way to preserve summer's bounty. Whether it's your own garden or the local orchard, you'll want to be prepared with some good recipes.
There are some important things to know about canning fruits; for example, how much sugar should you use? Can you reduce sugar? What canning method should you use? And what kinds of fruits can you actually preserve?
My site will answer all these questions for you. There is actually not that much to know about the process; it's as simple as "wash them, can them, eat them!"
What kind of fruits can I can?
It really depends on what kind of fruit you are wanting to can. Most fruits can be canned safely with no problem, but there are a few that should be frozen instead. There are also fruits that may be canned but will taste better in jams or butters, rather than canning them whole.
Fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, pineapple, mango, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, apricots, grapes, and cherries may be canned whole (or sliced/chopped).
Fruits such as bananas, strawberries, rasberries, blueberries, watermelons, canteloupe, honeydew, and kiwis may be canned as well; however they should always be canned as a jam, jelly, or butter. You can make excellent pickled watermelon rinds, as well.
The reason for not canning fruits like these by themselves is because of their high water content. Fruits like apples or pears are firm and contain less liquid, so they will keep pretty firm even after they have been canned. Berries and melons, however, contain so much water that they will basically turn to mush after canning them. When you mash these fruits ahead of time into a jam, however, they turn out great.
There are many delicious fruit jams and butter recipes that may combine some of these fruits together.
What about canning equipment?
Another question you may be asking yourself is "just what kind of equipment do I need to start canning fruits?" Very good question. You are going to need a water bath canner, canning jars, canning lids and rings, and a good pair of canning tongs.
The good news is that most of what you buy is only a one-time purchase. The up-front costs of a canner, for example, can be rather daunting...but you'll never need to buy another one! And with the exception of an occasional breakage, canning jars are another purchase that should last you quite a long time.
Click here to read more about choosing a canner and other supplies.
Canning Fruits Recipes
Canning Apple Pie Filling
Canning Blueberry Pie Filling
Selecting the fruits
You should always choose ripe fruit that is at its quality peak for fresh eating. This will depend on the fruit you are canning, but many fruits can be bought year-round at the grocery store. Most fruits though, like peaches or strawberries, are seasonal and can only be bought fresh certain months out of the year.
Frozen fruits may be used as well, and most will can quite satisfactorally. This works especially well for jams and butters. When using frozen fruit for this purpose, let the fruit thaw until you can mash or crush it easily.
However, if you are canning fruits whole, (frozen fruit) never allow it to thaw out completely; just let it thaw until the fruit can be broken into separate pieces or chunks. This will help it to stay firm during the canning process.
Canning fruits that are over-ripe and mushy will result in a soft and mushy end product. Because canning with sugar helps to keep the fruit firm after processing, canning without it requires that you choose firm ripe fruit.
What canning method should I use?
Because fruits fall into the high-acid content category, they should be
water bath canned.
This is because certain foods have a high level of acid in them. Acid kills bacteria. Foods with lots of acid in them don't require much heat to successfully kill of all the bacteria found in them. These foods (usually fruits) are canned using the water bath canning method, because they don't need a lot of heat to get rid of all the bacteria. Boiling fruits for 10 or 20 minutes will usually take care of it all.
If you are canning fruits whole, (by themselves), then you will be canning "cold-pack". Cold pack canning simply means that the food you place in your jars is cold; not cooked. If you are canning fruits that have been made into a jam, which is cooked right before canning, than you are canning "hot pack".
Directions for Canning Fruits
1. Wash your fruit well in cold water. You can fill up your sink to do this (make sure your sink is clean first), or you can wash each piece under running water one at a time. Just make sure that the dirt is removed.
2. Cut out any bad spots or bruises. The condition that your fruit is in when you can it will be the same when you eat it. There are no points gained by canning bad fruit; in fact, you are actually adding to the bacteria by doing this.
3. Slice, chop, or dice your fruit whichever way you prefer.
4. Fill clean, sterilized
with fruit. As you fill your jar, periodically stop and shake the jar gently to settle the contents. This will make more room for more fruit.
5. Fill with liquid. This can be juice, water, or a home-made syrup.
Light Syrup: 2 C. sugar + 4 C. water = 5 C. syrup
Medium Syrup 3 C. sugar + 4 C. water = 5 1/2 C. syrup
Heavy Syrup 4 3/4 C. sugar + 4 C. water = 6 1/2 C. syrup
To prepare syrup, heat water over medium heat and add sugar. Bring to a boil (this allows the sugar to dissolve.) Stir frequently. Pour into hot jars packed with fruit.
6. Wipe the rims of your jars clean with a clean damp cloth. Dry well, and place lids and rims on the jar.
7. Place jars in water bath canner, or a large pot if you have one. Make sure your jars are covered with two inches of water. If you are using a soup/stock pot, the pot should be deep enough for whatever size jar you are using to be covered in two inches of water.
8. Process according to directions.
Have a Favorite Jam Recipe?
We can all benefit from new recipes. Do you have a favorite jam recipe that people rave about? Share it!
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