It used to be a fairly common practice that is finding its way back into the mainstream. We are talking about fruit canning. You can save money and also have fresh fruits any time of the year that you want them.
Before refrigeration was common or widespread, people used to can foods to store food for the winter. The heating process of canning prevented spoilage. For fruit, canning was usually done for jams, jellies, relishes, fruit butters and marmalades. Preserving fresh fruit ensured that they were at their best when used – full of flavor.
Canning doesn’t have to be hard. Anyone can do it if they follow the step-by-step process. You don’t need fancy equipment either, depending on what you are canning. So, let’s get started.
What You Will Need
First you will of course need the fruit. Choose fruit that is at the peak of ripeness. Avoid pieces that are blemished or have poor coloring. If you must, only leave fruit to sit for at most a day before you prepare it for canning.
You will also need canning jars, lids and screw bands. Use Mason or Ball jars to can your fruits. They come in a variety of sizes. Your recipes will vary depending on the size of jar you want to use.
Don’t forget the slotted spoons or ladles to easily transfer your fruit from the pot to the canning jars. A funnel is also necessary to avoid spillage.
Hot water baths are used to remove any contamination from the lids and screw bands right before they are placed on the filled jars. You can use a 5-quart Dutch oven for this.
Jar lifters or tongs are useful for removing hot items from water baths and the canner. Yes, you need a canner as well. For fruits, since they have a high acid content, you will be utilizing a hot water bath canner. If you don’t want to invest in a canner, you can use a large stockpot with a rack in the bottom and a lid.
Steps in Canning Process
Assemble everything that you need before you get started. Have the hot water bath and the canner ready along with the fruit. Wash bottles, lids and screw bands in the dishwasher before using them.
Prep your fruit. However you plan on preparing it, do so right before you are ready to can it. Use a funnel to add the fruit mixture to the canning jar. Leave at least a quarter of an inch to half an inch of space between the jar top and lid.
Use a knife or spoon to remove air from the jar before adding the lid. Simply slide it around the edge of the fruit to release air bubbles.
Place a lid on the jar and a screw band. Use tongs to remove and place the lids.
Place the filled jars in the hot water bath canner. Be sure you have at least two inches of water covering the jars. Place the lid on the canner and bring the water to a boil. The usual time for this type of canning is five minutes.
No matter what canner you use, remove jars with tongs and sit them on a towel on the counter for 24 hours. Check seals to be sure they have not popped up.
Canning is a way to preserve fruits and other foods for long periods of time. Try it today.