How to Can Fruit
Fresh fruit gifts are popular around the holidays, so there’s a chance you may not have to buy fruit for yourself for a while! Or will you? After all, that fresh fruit gift won’t last forever. If you’re worried you won’t be able to use your gift of fruit before it goes off, there are steps you can take to make it last longer, ways you can use it up – or preserve it so you can enjoy it for a long time to come.
Best Fruit Gifts: Preserved Fruit!
Maybe more than one person sent you fruit and gift baskets this year, and you have more than you can eat. Or maybe it’s Florida citrus season and you’re tempted to pile up on those fragrant, delicious-looking fresh oranges for sale.
Regardless, we don’t believe you can ever have too much citrus! Apart from the easy ways for storing citrus, the excess can be turned into tasty, homemade preserves that make personal, impressive gifts!
What You’ll Need
Preserving fruit using the boiling water bath method is quite simple. All you’ll need is:
- Water Bath Canner. This can be any large, metal container with a fitted lid deep enough to hold a rack for the jars with 1-2 inches of water above them and an additional 2-4 inches for boiling.
- Standard Canning or Mason Jars with Lids. These will be made of soda lime glass and can be found in many hardware or department stores.
- Ensure the jars have no chips or cracks, the lids have no dents or rust on them, and the ring bands (if using) have no defects. Wash everything in hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and allow to air dry.
- Select the fruit you want to can, making sure it’s fresh and firm. Handling it gently to avoid bruising, wash it thoroughly with cold water.
- If peeling the fruit prior to canning, take steps to prevent the flesh from darkening by dropping it in a solution made up of ¾ cup of lemon juice and 1 gallon of water. Drain thoroughly.
To Sweeten or Not to Sweeten?
Fruit can be packed in hot water, or (for added sweetness) juice or sugar syrup. Sweetening your fruit is not necessary to preserve it, but sugar does help the fruit maintain its shape and color.
The method for preparing sugar syrup is simple – just dissolve sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. The amounts of each depend on how sweet you want the canned fruit:
- Just slightly sweet: Use ¾ cups of sugar, 6½ cups of water
- Lightly sweet: Use 1½ cups of sugar, 5¾ cups of water
- Moderately sweet: Use 2¼ cups of sugar, 5¼ cups of water
- Very sweet: Use 3¼ cups of sugar and 5 cups of water
In a large saucepan, dissolve sugar and water over medium-high heat.
- Fill the water bath canner with water and bring to boil. Using tongs, place jars, lids, and rings into the boiling water and let boil for 5 minutes to sterilize. Use tongs to remove to a towel and allow to drain.
- While jars are still warm, fill each with sliced or sectioned fruit and top with sugar syrup or juice, leaving ½” space at the top of each jar.
- Remove air pockets by pressing the fruit down with the end of a wooden spoon. Secure the jars with lids (and rings, if using) until tight and process in boiling water for 25 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the pot using tongs or a jar lifter and lay on towel to cool. Once the jars have cooled and lids have sealed, tighten them again.
- Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
Shop Delicious Treats from Hale Groves
Hale Groves of Vero Beach, Florida, offers the best citrus and fruit gifts money can buy. Order some for your friends, family or yourself.Shop Now