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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • U of M Extension News: Canning Fruit 101

  • The best way to enjoy the garden bounty is eating the fruit freshly picked. A close second is to enjoy the fruit long after the garden has been put to bed. In order to maintain a safe wholesome product that will keep until it can be used requires attention to a few details.
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  •     The best way to enjoy the garden bounty is eating the fruit freshly picked. A close second is to enjoy the fruit long after the garden has been put to bed. In order to maintain a safe wholesome product that will keep until it can be used requires attention to a few details.   
        Selecting equipment, preparing fruit, processing, and understanding the spoiling facts are important to know before canning. Other
    important things to know are to never use overripe fruit or open kettle canning methods, never use an oven (electric, gas, or microwave), always follow up to date canning instructions step by step, and check your jars for seals within 24 hours after canning.
    Equipment   
        Water bath canners or any metal container can be used as long as it is deep enough and has a tight fitting cover. Make sure to have wire or wooden racks as well so that the jars are not touching each other or the edge of the container. The container should be four to five inches taller than the jars to allow enough water to cover the jars. When using pint jars the container should be at least ten inches deep, but for quart jars the container needs to be at least 12 inches deep.   
        A deep pressure canner can also be used as a water bath canner but do not seal the lid when you cover the canner. Leave the petcock open too so that steam can escape and pressure does not build up.   
        Mason jars are recommended because they do not break easily. If the lids do not fit perfectly on the jar sealing can be hard and there can be problems. Discard any jars or lids that have cracks, rust, dents, or chips. Wash all jars and lids before use. If you have trouble removing hard water films or scales soak in a cup of vinegar for every one gallon of water. Keep the jars warm until ready to fill and seal. When using a two part lid, the lid can only be used once, however, the screw bands can be used multiple times.
    Preparing fruit   
        Choose fruit that is firm and fresh from the garden because the sooner the fruit is canned, the better. Sort your fruit according to size and ripeness for even cooking. Handle your fruit with care and wash it. If you soak your fruit it may lose its flavor and nutrients. When some fruits are cut or peeled they become darker. Some ways to reduce darker coloring are the use of ascorbic acid solutions or citric acid and lemon juice solutions, which can be found in any grocery store. Always drain your fruit from the solution.   
    Page 2 of 2 -     A way to make your fruit hold color and shape is to add sugar. All methods of preparing fruit for canning are the same whether or not sugar is added. Some things you can add to your fruit jars are sugar syrup, extracted juice, sugar mixed directly with fruit, sweeteners, and artificial sweeteners.
    Processing   
        In a hot water bath, place filled and capped jars on a rack in the boiling water bath canner or deep kettle that has been half filled with hot (140 degrees F) water or very hot (170 degrees F) water. When the canner is full add boiling hot water to the container to cover at
    least an inch or two above the jars without pouring the water directly on the glass jars. Turn the heat on high until water is boiling, cover the container with a lid, turn down the heat to the recommended level, and maintain that temperature until time is up. When times up turn the heat off and remove the jars. Put the jars on a rack, dry towel, or newspaper. Allow to cool for 12 to 24 hours before checking the seal. Store the jars in a cool, dark, dry place. With these conditions the canned fruit should be good for up to a year.
    Spoilage   
        Do not taste or use food that shows any sign of spoilage! Look at every jar before opening or using. A protruding or swollen lid or dripping jar is a sign of spoilage. Look for other signs such as spraying liquid, a bad odor, or mold after opening a jar. Throw away all spoiled canned foods where it cannot be eaten by people, pets, or other animals.   
        This information was provided by Katie Klar, UM Extension summer intern. For more, contact us at 800-450-2465, stordahl@umn.edu or klarx011@crk.umn.edu Source: Colorado State University Extension

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