Canning Fruits

Canning fresh fruit is a great way to preserve large quantities of ripe fruit in a short period of time. Buying fruit when it's in season saves money, and you can be assured of the best flavored fruit. Canning fruit is easy to do. Just fill your jars with fruit and hot liquid and process them. With canned fruit readily available you have an easy snack or a quick side dish.

The best fruit for canning is freshly picked, ripe fruit. Harvest or purchase only top-quality fruit at its peak of flavor, texture and color. Do not use overripe or diseased fruit. Some growers offer a "pick your own" option. Ask growers at farmer's markets or check your local phone directory for location in your area. You'll need to bring your own containers for the picked fruit.

Fruit from your supermarket isn't the best choice for canning because it's often picked before it's fully ripened in order to compensate for the time it takes to get the fruit from the field to the store shelf. Local growers, a farmer's market, or your back yard is your best source.

Canning a few jars of fruit, prepared whole sliced, as a sauce and juiced, makes them even more versatile for serving and cooking. Follow recipe guidelines for complete directions for preparing each fruit.

Fruits may be packed in a sweetened syrup, water, their own juice, or in a flavored liqueur. Fruits may be canned in a combination of two or more fruits. Some recipes requite peeling, cutting and pitting while others may recommend the fruit be canned whole without peeling.

Fruit sauces make a wonderful accompaniment to entrées and add flavor to baked recipes. Sauces are easy to prepare. The sauce may be sweetened or spiced, if desired. Another way to preserve fruit is as a juice. Juice may be canned unsweetened or sweetened.

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