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Canning: Fruits of summer

Jul 2nd, 2015 | Category: Cooking

by Susy Hymas

The fruit canning season is on us early this year. I missed out on my usual bulk strawberry picking. The grower I like had strawberries in early May, so they were done by the third week in June. I have been picking raspberries in my garden for a couple of weeks and apricots are coming to market as I write this.

Cinnamon pears in apple juice (above) and spiced prune plums (below). PHOTOS BY SUSY HYMAS

Cinnamon pears in apple juice (above) and spiced prune plums (below). PHOTOS BY SUSY HYMAS

Fruits are naturally high in sugar.  If you are trying to cut down on added sugar in recipes, there are some tricks to preserving fruits with either little or no added sugar. Freezing or drying are excellent ways to preserve fruits without added sugar, but if your freezer is full or you do not have a dehydrator, you may want to can.

Fruits can be safely canned in water, however doing so may negatively affect the taste. Due to the process of osmosis, once canned, the sugar will leach into the water, leaving you with bland tasting fruit and sweet tasting water. A better solution is to can fruits in fruit juice. Below is a recipe for canning pears in apple juice. You can also use white grape, pineapple or pear juice. (Check out www.freshpreserving.com for recipes and guidelines.)

For fun last year I tried making pickled plums for the first time.  This old fashioned method is one that is safe and yummy. Pickled fruits are not low in sugar, but can be used as a condiment on meats or a dessert. Personally, I look forward to my pickled plums on vanilla ice cream.

My brother-in law Michael loves to cook for family and friends and gave me a jar of apricot mango habanero barbecue sauce for Christmas. I like spicy stuff, but thought the habanero would be too much for me. To my delight it was not only delicious, but not too hot. If you are trying to limit spicy foods, you could substitute a milder pepper. Mangos are great when mixed with apricots, but if you prefer a local fruit, you can substitute peaches.spiced plums web

If you have any questions contact me at daylight@fidalgo.net.


Spiced Prune Plums



5 cups of prune plums  (about 1¾ lbs)

½ cup red or white wine vinegar

¼ cup water

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon pickling salt

4 thin slices of fresh or pickled ginger

1 cinnamon stick

¼ teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon allspice berries



Using a paring knife, half plums and discard the pit.

Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil stirring to dissolve sugar. Add plums and return to a boil.

Pack spices into washed warm quart jar or 2 pint jars. With a slotted spoon add hot plums, pressing down to pack into jar. Add hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1/2” head space. Remove air bubbles and seal.

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let cool for 12 hours and store in a cool place.  Allow 6 weeks for flavor to develop.

Makes 1 quart


Cinnamon Pears in Apple Juice



Use 1 – 1 ½ lbs of pears per pint, unsweetened apple juice and cinnamon sticks



When canning in fruit juice it is recommended that you use the hot pack method.

Prepare boiling water canner. Wash jars and lids. Keep warm until filling.

Wash pears. Drain. Peel, core and cut into halves. Treat to prevent browning with lemon juice or powdered citric acid.  Dissolve 1 tablespoon of either in 2 qts of water before placing fruit in solution.

To hot pack, cook pears in water one layer at a time only until hot throughout. Heat apple juice to a boil. Pack hot pears, cavity side down, into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Place 1 cinnamon stick in each jar.

Ladle the hot juice over pears leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and seal.  Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  Let cool for 12 hours and store in a cool place.



Apricot Mango Habanero Barbeque Sauce



1 med onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow pepper, roasted, peeled, and

1 habanero pepper, roasted, peeled,

and seeded
1 1/2 cup water
2/3 cup dried apricots
1 cup apricot preserves
3 mangos, peeled, and chopped
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons powdered mustard
1/4 cup habanero hot sauce
Salt to taste



Saute onion and garlic in small amount of oil in skillet. Add bell pepper, habanero, water, apricots, preserves, mangos, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Reduce heat, and simmer about 15 minutes until apricots are soft. Put in food processor when cool, with mustard, hot sauce, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Let cool for 12 hours and store in a cool place.

Makes about 2 pints



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