What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

All things preserving - canning, water bath (vacola), freezing, drying your harvest. We discuss all methods and the pros and cons, be nice to each other, please we all have our ways of preserving.
pinkukulele
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What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby pinkukulele » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:17 pm

Hi Folks,

After my wildly successful tomato and eggplant chutney, I'm trying to figure out what to preserve next.

I'm going to make some pickled zucchinis - they look amazingly delicious. Also as many tomatoes as I can! I also want to do some fruit.

Lots of recipes that I've seen say to preserve fruits in sugar syrup, but my father in law is diabetic and I don't like things that sweet - is it safe to preserve fruits in just water? If so, which fruits can be done this way and which can't? I'm thinking about all of the beautiful stone fruits coming into season soon - apricots, plums, nectarines, cherries. Then apples, quinces and pears in the autumn. Do preserving times change without sugar? Do I have to cook the fruit beforehand, or can i just pack into jars then pour water on top and boiling water bath them?

Another BWB point - I've also seen conflicting advice on whether the bath water should come halfway up, 3/4 up or 2 inches above the bottles in the bath! Which is correct/standard?

Thanks for your help!

Cheers,

Carolyn

ellengray
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby ellengray » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:13 pm

I only do fruits in syrup, or I dehydrate them (I much prefer dehydrated fruits and they keep all their nutrients unlike processed fruits). Oh yeah, I also do fruits in alcohol. ;) Someone else might be able to help with the no syrup thing.

Hot water bathing - water must come over the lid by at least an inch - otherwise the top half never gets processed.

pinkukulele
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby pinkukulele » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:26 pm

Thanks for your quick reply!

Ooh, I like the idea of fruits in alcohol - but do you bwb them? Doesn't that make the alcohol go away?

I'm glad that you confirmed the level of water - I filled over the jars when I was making my batch this past weekend, just to be safe.

I hope that somebody can tell me about fruit in just water, I like the idea better than all of that sugar...

alicelt
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby alicelt » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:40 pm

I always do my fruits in only water unless they are particularly tart.

My DH is a diabetic too - so although he generally doesn't eat my bottled fruits, I am very concious of the genetic link with type 1 diabetes and I really don't want to give my kids' pancreas' any reason to give out and follow alone their daddy's path.

As long as you are taste-testing the fruit to ensure it's not too tart, and then water-bathing properly, it won't make any difference to the keeping qualities of the final product. Having said that, sometimes you will find that your fruit floats in the jar more when you bottle with water not syrup, something to do with the density. But again, if it's properly preserved all that means is that the jars don't look so pretty on a shelf, which to me means nothing at all.

Another option is to bottle in fruit juice - no added sugar style stuff. I've done pears bottled in apple and blackcurrant juice from the shops before and they are lovely - gives a nice pinky sheen to the pears too!

ellengray
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby ellengray » Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:21 am

Alcohol is a preservative in itself - it does not need to be hot water bathed. ;) You just need to use something at least 40% proof.

minnie
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby minnie » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:06 am

Hi Carolyn,

I do some fruit in water and some with brown sugar.

A few years back I did mandarins and messed them up by doing in water, they needed a good sugar syrup... what a pain as I'd painstakingly removed seeds and pith and had them looking perfect to come out not sour but bitter.

Yes Sara quite correct water above the lid.

Why not try tomato sauce or pasta sauce next?
:D
Vicki

ellengray
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby ellengray » Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:46 am

I am cross with myself because I got some rum for preserving on special recently and when I got home I read the small print and discovered it was only 37% proof. Drats, now I will have to drink it. ;)

So soon as I can get my hands on a good pineapple I am going to do a pineapple and red onion chutney - if it is any good I'll pop the recipe up.

minnie
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby minnie » Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:42 am

Hmmm Sara, that chutney sounds intereseting... let us know.

I love my chutneys. :P

Vicki

pinkukulele
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby pinkukulele » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:36 am

I'm absolutely going to do tomato sauces and passatas and such. I'm just waiting for the signs to start coming up around the neighbourhood "tomatoes for sauce and grapes for wine". Then I'll get a few boxes and have a tomato day!

I love the idea of fruits in alcohol. I want to try them in water to see what happens - can I put them in the bottles raw? I will also be buying various types of alcohols to try (and will say a very convincing "oops" when I realise they're under-proof!).

Thanks for the advice on mandarins, Vicki. That must've been devastating that they were bitter!

When bottling them in water do they go in raw? I'm thinking christmas presents...

I want to do more chutneys. I need to make some salt free ones - lots of relatives can't have salt any more.

Also, my mother has, in the last couple of years, developed an intolerance to all sorts of processed vinegars. The only acidity that she's allowed to eat is that which comes naturally in fruits, and she's not allowed to have much tomato. She's also allergic to sulfites (which means most commercial wine products), and all types of yeast, and benzoic acid which is a byproduct of cheese production. So the bottled fruits should be good for her. It's a horrible allergy mix - she can no longer have wine, cheese and bread which are some of the most wonderful things in life - it sucks that she has developed this so that's why I'll make her fruits, so that she isn't left out.

So many possibilities!

countrylife
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Location: Tasmania

Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby countrylife » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:13 pm

Hi Carolyn,
Yes, you put the fruit in raw and top up with water then water bath. I use the vacola method. so I guess it's the same.


Vicky, I wonder if you could have made manderin marmelade with the bitter fruit.

Katrina

minnie
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Re: What to do next? Preserving fruit questions

Postby minnie » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:05 pm

Hi Katrina,

Didn't even think of a jam... I rarely ever buy a jam, sometimes (read once a year) a marmalade for DH but otherwise we're just not jam eaters.

Hi Carolyn,

Watch the quality if they say 'tomatoes for sauce'. I always use good quality tomatoes even for sauce. Processed (supermarket brands) of tomato sauce use tomatoes that on picking up would run through your fingers they're so rotten. I know someone locally that all of his tomato sauce go mouldy and I wondered if he started with mouldy tomatoes. I know many years ago my Mum being given 'sauce tomatoes' from a lady on a nearby farm and they were full of maggots. :shock:

You put good in, you get good out... as with everything.

If people can't eat salt I wouldn't worry about your home produced products, they're getting as much if not more from the shop! So many people these days getting allergies it really does make me look at our food and what they're putting in it.

On the subject of product used for process products, I worked at an orange juice (Mr Juicy) factory years back for a little while (in the packing shed) and you should have seen the oranges used for fruit juice - mouldy, falling apart rotten smelly oranges, that turn up after processing in a nice plastic bottle with a label telling us how fresh it is! :twisted:

There's so much said about home produced food poisoning, but in Australia (not the US, which is where most stats come from) most food poisoning comes from food bought at a supermarket, take-a-way, restaurant... not from what we produce in our own homes. But that doesn't mean we don't do our very best where hygiene is concerned to ensure it stays that way. 8-)

Now I should give it a rest today, I really am far to verbose for my own good. :P

Vicki


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