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Feb 24, 2011 07:25 AM

New to canning

So I'm thinking about starting canning this summer as a way to eat local unseasonal foods when it's cold out. I've decided to get a pressure canner (any suggestions about which model?). I started looking at recipes and I'm having trouble finding what I want. I'm looking to can without the use of processed sugar and without commerical pectin. I'm hoping to use juice concentrate or stevia, etc for a natural sweetener and I'm open to adding some apple (or whatever fruits are naturally high in pectin) to avoid the boxed stuff. I tried looking online and looking in some books for sugar and pectin free recipes, but I guess it's not so common! I've looked at some of the old posts here, but it seems most of them mention only eliminating either processed sugar or boxed pectin, not both. There's some mentions of making your own pectin from unripe apples. Do you think I could use apple juice concentrate for both sweetening and gelling? Do you guys have any recipes or tips for me?


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  1. I've substituted homemade pectin for store bought pectin when making wine jelly (to serve with cheese platters) ... see recipe You won't be able to use apple juice concentrate as a substitute for the pectin since much of the "magic" comes from the core and peel ...

    2 Replies
    1. re: CocoTO

      Hm, what's the conversion rate for homemade pectin to the powdered stuff? Does it have to be a specific kind of apple? Or just any unripe kind?

      And does the canning process remove the alcohol from the wine in wine jelly?

      1. re: jewel460

        I've never used powdered pectin, only the liquid kind and I've simply substituted one for one. I do believe the kind of apple can make a difference, although all apples have pectin. I used the granny smith as recommended. And some of the alcohol cooks off, but not all of it ...

        (sorry, don't know the answer to your newly posted question below as I simply use the water submersion method in a big pot)

    2. okay, i have another question. hot water canners can do high acid foods, and pressure canners can do low acid, right? so can you do high acid with a pressure canner?

      1 Reply
      1. re: jewel460

        Yeah. It's just that it ISN'T generally safe to can low-acid foods in a hot water bath.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. the presence of sugar is not only to make things sweet, but to inhibit the growth of pathogens. Stevia won't do the job.

          While I totally admire your desire to get away from processed foods, remember that by canning you are making a processed food -- and that it's one of the rare areas of cooking where you really do need to follow the recipe like it's written. Screwing up a pot of soup is no big deal, but screwing up a batch of jam or pickles can land somebody in the hospital.

          I would recommend that you take a class from your local county extension -- this would teach you the discipline and the hows and whys of the chemistry and the hygiene. THEN you could go on to search out and try the recipes that are more in line with your desire to stay away from what you want to avoid.

          If there isn't a county extension near you, at a minimum buy the Blue Ball Guide to Preserving (about $12-15 at most stores, or from Amazon) and read it well.

          It will explain most of the things you're puzzled about, and will teach you the basics.

          4 Replies
            1. re: jewel460

              take a sounds like you really need a good introduction to the basics. THEN you can ask them if they give supplemental courses or could guide you toward resources for the rest of it.

              1. re: sunshine842

                I'd second taking a course. A friend canned tomatoes without much instruction, only to have the glass jars explode about a month later.

              2. re: jewel460

                The Blue Ball Guide to Preserving has a section on canning for diabetics that should give you some recipes that have substitute sweetening ideas.

            2. if you scroll down the page below the last response you will see ten home cooking discussions about canning - you may find some answers in those topics.