Floating fruit

pepper jellyWe have had several people ask about why the fruit that they are canning floats in the jars. Floating fruit doesn’t affect the taste or the safety of the fruit just the appearance. There are several reasons why this may happen.

To limit the floating fruit:

  • Can fruit using a hot pack where the fruit is heated before adding to the jar. This is especially true for peaches and pears.
  • Use light or medium syrup instead of heavy syrup.
  • Pack the fruit as closely as possible without crushing it in the jars. Heating drives the oxygen from the tissues of the fruit so if the jars are loosely packed the fruit will tend to float.
  • Be sure to use the correct time and processing method for the fruit you are preserving. Over processing destroys the cell structure and makes the fruit lighter.

If you have a question about processing times and methods for the fruit you want to preserve give us a call at AnswerLine!

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Time to make Jelly

Strawberries are ready at the “pick your own” farm near my home. My family enjoys fresh strawberries, but if I pick more than we can eat in a few days I enjoy making strawberry jam.

These days we have several different options for preserving jams and jellies. We can make freezer jam or the cooked jam that can be preserved in canning jars. Any jam or jelly recipe should be followed exactly as written. You should not double or cut these recipes in half—the jelly may not set if you do.

Freezer jam is the easiest product to make. You simply prepare the fruit, stir in the instant fruit pectin and ladle the jam into clean jars. After a short standing period the jam is refrigerated or frozen. Remember, you can’t can freezer jam.

Strawberry jelly1
Strawberry jam ready to process.

Cooked jam or jelly takes a bit more effort. Fruit or juice is prepared, then heated, pectin is added to the juice or fruit, sugar added, product boiled for a minute, and lastly the jam or jelly is placed into clean jars with ¼ inch of headspace. The product is processed in a boiling water bath canner for 5 minutes (10 minutes if the altitude at your home is over 1000 feet and under 3000 feet).

If this puts you in the mood to make some jam, check out the recipes at these sites: Preserve the Taste of Summer publications through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Or, go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. You can also find recipes on the package inserts of commercial pectin packages. If you have any questions, please contact us at AnswerLine.

We are always happy to help you.

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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