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Fruit Canning Basics

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 September 2013 at 18:48
I seem to have misplaced my Ball Blue Book, but what I'm looking for is a way to can some huckleberries using the least amount of sugar possible.

Given those parametres, this most likely eliminates syrup and jelly. I don't really know the difference between jam, preserves and conserve, but I was thinking of simply filling the (half-pint) jars with huckleberries, adding maybe a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of lemon juice per jar, then processing in a hot water bath for (fill in the blank) minutes. Not sure what this will result in, but it seems like a good way to go.

Thoughts?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2013 at 19:53
Ball gives both a raw pack and a hot pack method. Cold pack is recommended for red raspberries and others which do not hold their shape well; hot back for those like blackberries, that do. I'm guessing you can hot-pack the huckleberries, but don't count on my guess.

For raw pack: Make light or medium syrup. Wash berries in cold or ice water to firm fruit. Drain. Pour about 1/2 cup boiling syrup into hot jars. Fill jars with berries. Shake jar to pack berries closely without crushing, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Add more hot syrup, if needed, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubble. Adjust caps. Process pints 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes in boiling water bath.

For hot pack: Wash, drian, and measure firm, ripe berries. Put into sauce ot; add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar for eah quart berries. Let stand 2 hours. Cook until sugar dissolves and berries are hot through. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. If there is not enough syrup to cover berries add boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Procxess pjhts and quarts 15 minutes in boiling water bath.

There's also a method of canning them with no sugar, which Ball suggests is good if you're going to use the berries in pies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2013 at 19:57
Ron, there are technical differences between jams, preserves, conserves, marmalades, butters, and jellies. Primarily they have to do with the configuration of the fruit and the proportion of sugar.

For example, marmalades always include citrus in one form or another; conserves are usually mixed fruits (and other ingredients), jellies are made from juice, butters have a very high proportion of sugar, etc.

At base, does it really matter in practical terms?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2013 at 19:59
PS: Do you need directions for the various strengths of simple sugar?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2013 at 22:30
hi brook, and thanks for providing some great instructions. 

if you would be able to provide some basic syrup info, i'd be grateful. the main thing i remember is a simple syrup which is equal parts sugar and water, but less is better, if possible, due to melissa's mild diabetes. no sugar would probably be  best, but i can add a little if needed.

thanks again!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2013 at 22:59
I'll post all the ratios tomorrow, Ron, as I'm at work now.

1:1, which is how I was also taught, makes a heavy syrup; far more sweetener than you want for Melissa.

A medium syrup is 2 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/4 cups water---essentially 1:2. That sticks in my mind only because it's what I used with the apples. But there is both a light, and very light syrup, both of which use considerably less sugar. 

Keep in mind, too, that you can sub either honey or corn syrup for the sugar. While this doesn't effect the carb count to any great degree, simple sugars are easier for a diabetic (or anyone else, for that matter) to process. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 04:46
Hi Ron
few things to remember .
the best is 1:1 but you can do 1:2 . this is good rule for syrup and for jam .
1 sugar 1 fruit or 1 sugar 1 water . but remember longer you cook it sweeter it will be.
 i will do this.
1. for 1 kg fruit 1/2 kg sugar 1/2 cup water.
put in a pot and bring to boil simmer and stir till it looks syrupy and it coats the back of  the spoon .
add 1/2 cup pectin and stir till thicken . ohh you don't have pectin . here is a recipe how you can make it.
 Pectin
Ingredients:
3 pounds sliced, washed tart, green apples with peels and cores. Small, green, immature apples of most varieties work, too.
4 cups water
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Directions:
Wash, but don't peel, about seven large tart green apples. Put them in a pot.
Cut them into pieces
Add four cups of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice.
Boil the mixture until it reduces almost in half (about 30 to 45 minutes), then
Strain it through cheesecloth or a jelly bag.
Boil the juice for another 20 minutes,
Pour it into sanitize jars, and seal them to store in the refrigerator or freezer .

let me know how did it go .


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 07:21
Here, courtesy of the Ball Blue Book, are the various forms of simple sugar:

Extra Light (20%) 1 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/2 cups water.
Light (30%) 2 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/4 cups water.
Medium (40 %) 3 1/4 cups sugar to 5 cups water.
Heavy (50%) 4 1/4 cups sugar to 4 1/4 cups water.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 08:27
guys, this is great information; huge thanks to both of you! Beer

i'm glad i posted this, rather than simply going with my original plan - it sounds like i might have made a mess!

due to the wealth of information you both have provided, i believe that i'll change the title to "fruit canning basics," or something similarly appropriate.

ahron, i do happen to have some pectin here at home, but i want to try your formula for pectin when i get a little more experience with this type of thing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 09:32
Ron, here is the Ball online recipes if you wish another resource.
http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes.aspx
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 12:26
thanks, mark - i browsed through there and it helped come up with a plan. 

at first, i thought we were just going to process the berries in jars, counting on them to swell and "explode" and then simply be some sort of quasi-preserves that could be used  on toast or as a topping for pancakes, ice cream or whatever. after looking around, melissa decided she wants jam, and said not to worry about the sugar content. 

i did some measuring and found that we had just a little under 6 cups of huckleberries, so i will simply treat it as 6 cups. i then did a little googling and found a wild huckleberry jam recipe from the idaho department of fish and game:


converted for 6 cups of huckleberries/14 half-pint jars:
 
1.5 quarts (6 cups) huckleberries
7 cups sugar
1.75 cups water
4.25 oz. liquid pectin.

from there it is pretty standard:

wash huckleberries, place in deep saucepan or pot with water, slowly bring to a boil. add sugar, bring to a hard boil, cook for two minutes. remove from heat, add pectin, stir for 3 or 4 minutes. pour into jars, process.

i wanted to give the honey idea a try as mentioned above by brook, but 7 cups of honey is out of our budget today, so sugar it is. also, we have a small canister of powdered pectin rather than liquid, so with no real clue how to proceed i will try using the amount of pectin recommended on the canister (or until we run out), and if we end up with a "loose" jam, it's probably no big deal. the bottom line is that we should end up with something edible - hopefully.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 12:32
6 cups of honey would have been way too much. There is a lot more sugar in a cup of honey than a cup of sugar granuels. I don't have a conversion for it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 14:44
yep, i'd tend to agree at first glance that 6 cups would be too much, mark - i don't think i'm quite grasping a concept or two; for now, the recipe above will have to do, because i just gave it a go.

learning curve alert here. the recipe above is probably fine for liquid pectin, but do not use it with powdered pectin unless the recipe is correctly adapted (something i do not know how to do). if you try to use powdered pectin (as i did) and follow the procedure above, this is what will happen:

a) instead of 14 half-pint jars, we only got 9. i am guessing that the liquid pectin might have partially-prevented  prevented this smaller yield.

b) following the procedure above (adding the pectin after removing the berry/sugar mixture from the heat) is probably fine when using liquid pectin, but using powdered resulted in some pectin not being dissolved.

the jars are processing now in a hot water bath. i am sure the final result will be quite usable, but it could have been a lot better; i'll try to apply lessons learned next time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 14:55
Mark you are right  .
General Rule: 
1 cup of sugar = ¾ cup honey
 7 cups of honey it will give you 9.3 cups of sugar 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 15:04
great information, ahron - i'll keep it in mind next time!

all things considered, i think we'll have somethin that is going to be "ok" here. it wasn't perfect, but i think it will be some good stuff - just not quite jam. but then again, it is some nice, thick, huckleberry-looking stuff that will probably end up being somewhere between jam and syrup - so it's all good!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 September 2013 at 15:10
good products good hands must be good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 September 2013 at 09:18
I'm hoping so, Ahron - I think that it will be ok, just not quite "gelled;" more of a loose compote perhaps?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 September 2013 at 09:53
if so you must cook it longer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 September 2013 at 09:57
I'll get a photo when we crack one open - it looks like it will be delicious on toast or pancakes!
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