General Methods for Canning Fruits and Pickling Vegetables
Select the best quality - inferior products don't become "better" when you can them.
Sort the fruit by size and ripeness.
Wash the fruit in small batches, but don't let fruit soak in the water.
Peel, pit or core, and cut as desired. Scald tomatoes and peaches to remove the skins.
Pack. There are two methods of packing - hot and cold pack. Most fruit is improved by precooking in a light syrup and packing into hot sterilized jars.
Process in boiling water bath canner for the appropriate length of time.
Cool, label, and store.
Hot Pack Method
In this method the fruit is heated or cooked before it's canned. You may use a syrup of sugar and water, in water alone, or extracted juice. Juicy fruits and tomatoes may be packed hot in the juice that cooks out when heated, then you don't have to add any additional water. Pack the fruit loosely in jars and cover the fruit with juice or syrup. A wide mouth funnel is a good investment.
To make a syrup for fruits:
thin 1 cup sugar per 3 cups water
medium 1 cup sugar per 2 cups water
heavy 1 cup sugar per 1 cup water.
All syrup should be boiling when added to jars of fruit
Cold Pack Method
Cold, raw fruit is put into sterilized containers and covered with hot syrup, water or juice. This method allows for a more attractive packed jar, the fruit can be arranged in uniform layers. Raw foods should be packed tighter than hot foods, since they shrink during the processing time. I usually jam as many tomatoes as I can into jars, and I found that by quartering the tomatoes first I can usually end up with a full quart of tomatoes. The first few times I tried it, I ended up with half a quart of tomatoes and half of quart of water.
After packing the fruit, run the blade of a knife around and down the insides of the jar to remove all air bubbles. You may need to add more liquid after removing all the air. Make sure you wipe the jar rim with a clean dry cloth and put on the cap and tighten. I usually tighten my jars tight, then back off a tiny turn back. Now its ready to go into the water bath.
The Use of Sugar in Canning Fruit
Sugar helps canned fruit hold its color, flavor and shape, but it is not essential to prevent spoilage. Fruit will keep without sugar, providing it is processed correctly.
To can without sugar, pack prepared raw fruit into hot, sterilized jars and fill the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top with boiling fruit juice or water. Or you could preheat the fruit with a little water for about 3 minutes and then pack the fruit with its own juice into jars. Process exactly the same way for sweetened fruit.
To can with sugar, if the fruit or berries are very juicy and you are using the hot pack method dry sugar may be added to the fruit. Measure the fruit into a large kettle and add from 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar for each quart of raw fruit. Let the fruit and sugar stand in the kettle for approximately 2 to 3 hours, or until the fruit starts to juice out. Slowly bring the fruit up to the boiling point and boil for 5 minutes- being careful not to let it scorch. Its best to do this in small batches. Pack the fruit and juice in hot sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Wipe tops and seal, then process in water bath.
Fruits Suitable for Hot Pack
Fruits Suitable for Cold Pack
all soft berries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
grapes, use a light, medium or heavy syrup
peaches do well with cold pack also
pears also, hot or cold
plums, hot or cold
tomatoes, hot or cold
Select young, tender veggies at their peak of flavor
Sort by size and ripeness
Wash in running water to dislodge any dirt or insects
Cut into uniform size
Blanch! Authorities recommend that you blanch all veggies before canning. this partially cooks, and shrinks the veggie allowing you to pack more into the jar. Blanching also drives the air out of the cells of the veggie, thereby reducing the destruction of vitamins by oxidation during the processing. It cuts down the processing time and assures that the veggies will be thoroughly heated. The blanching water should be used to fill the jars instead of boiling water, for it contains any water-soluble vitamins that were leached out during the blanching process.
Pack the veggies loosely into hot sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch from the top.
Remove the air bubbles using a knife
Seal and process
Remember only tomatoes and pickled veggies can be water-bath processed. Everything else goes into the pressure canner.