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Fruit Preservation

Savor the taste of Summer and Fall all year round by preserving your produce so you can enjoy the goodness of these delectable fruits long after the harvest is over.

 

Apples

Apples can be dried, made into applesauce or apple butter, or even made into a delicious apple pear jam. 

When selecting your apples, remember that their flavor is best when they are at the peak of maturity. To judge the maturity of apples, do not go by size. Different varieties have different typical diameters. Choose apples that are free of defects, such as bruises, skin breaks and decayed spots. Little brown spots appearing solely on the skin of the apple, called “russeting,” does not affect quality. Beware and on the lookout for browning or broken skins that are evidence of actual spoilage such as rotting or mold. Also look for firm (hard) apples since soft apples tend to have a mealy texture and overripe flavor.

Cold Storage

  • If any apples must be stored, keep them in a cool, dark place.
  • They should not be tightly covered or wrapped up; a perforated plastic or open paper bag, basket or wooden crate are good choices.
  • If kept in the refrigerator, apples should be placed in the humidifier compartment or in a plastic bag with several holes punched in it (or in a zipper-type vegetable bag). This prevents loss of moisture and crispness.
  • Apples should not be placed close to foods with strong odors since the odor may be picked up by the apples.

Choose the Best Preservation Method by Variety

  1. Freezing: Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, andCripps Pink.
  2. Applesauce and Apple Butter: Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Jonathan,  Honeycrisp, Cripps Pink, Braeburn, and Jonagold.
    If making applesauce, apple butter or dried slices with your apples, use them as soon as possible after harvest.

By Elizabeth L. Andress
The University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension and the National Center for Home Food Preservation

To to learn more about how to preserve apples, click on the "Learn More" button


Pears

Refrigerating Pears

Remember, don’t refrigerate an unripe pear!

Ripened pears can be used at once or put under refrigeration (35º to 45º F) until you want to use them. Refrigeration will delay further ripening but will not stop it altogether, giving you adequate time to include fresh pears in your menu planning.  Remember, pears need to ripen at room temperature, so don’t refrigerate an unripe pear!

Preparation

Wash and peel pears. Cut lengthwise in halves and remove core. A melon baller or metal measuring spoon is suitable for coring pears. To prevent discoloration, keep peeled fruit in water with vitamin C made by mixing 1 teaspoon of crystalline ascorbic acid, or six crushed 500-mg vitamin C tablets, dissolved in 1 gallon of water.

Freezing

Don’t freeze more than 2 pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer capacity per day. To make syrup, mix 2-1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of crystalline ascorbic acid or three crushed 500-mg vitamin C tablets dissolved in 4 cups of water. Add 1 cup of syrup per quart of prepared fruit. To make a dry pack, mix 1/2 cup dry sugar per quart of prepared fruit. To package, fill pint– or quart-size freezer bags to a level of 3 to 4 inches from top, squeeze out air, leave 1-inch headspace, seal, label, and freeze.

Canning

Wash jars. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s instructions. Fruit in jars may be covered with your choice of water, apple or white grape juice, or with a very light, light, or medium syrup. To make a very light syrup for a canner load of quarts, mix 1-1/4 cups of sugar in 10-1/2 cups water and heat to dissolve; or mix and dissolve 2-1/4 cups sugar in 9 cups water to make a light syrup; or 3-3/4 cups sugar in 8-1/4 cups water to make a medium syrup.

WATER BATH CAN

Hot Pack: Place drained fruit in boiling syrup, juice, or water and boil 3 minutes. Fill clean jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe sealing edge of jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Adjust lids and tighten screw bands. Process jars in either a boiling water bath canner or a pressure canner.

Raw Pack: Pack fruit, cover with boiling syrup.

To process in a boiling water canner, preheat canner half filled with water to 180 degrees F. Load sealed jars into the canner rack and lower with handles; or load one jar at a time with a jar lifter onto rack in canner. Add water, if needed, to a level of 1 inch above jars, and add cover. When water boils vigorously, lower heat to maintain a gentle boil and process for recommended time. 

Recommended processing times for pears in a boiling water canner  

Process time based on different altitudes

HOT PACK

  • Altitudes 0-1,000 ft.: Pint - 20 minutes, Quart 25 minutes
  • Altitudes 1001-3000 ft: Pint - 25 minutes, Quart 30

COLD PACK

  • Altitudes 0-1,000 ft.: Pint - 25 minutes, Quart 30 minutes
  • Altitudes 1001-3000 ft: Pint - 30 minutes, Quart 35 minutes

To learn more about preserving pears, click on the "Learn More" button.


Cherries

Rinse/Pack/Freezing

Freezing Northwest Sweet Cherries is as simple as 1-2-3.

  1. Rinse firm, ripe cherries in cold water, drain thoroughly.
  2. Pack cherries in plastic freezer bags or freezer-proof containers. Remove excess air, cover tightly.
  3. Freeze. 

Freezing Tips:

  • Before freezing, label and date each plastic bag or container.
  • Freezer should be 0°F. or lower.
  • Do not overload freezer.
  • For fastest freezing, place bags directly on freezer shelves. Leave space around each bag until contents are frozen.

Serving Tips:

  • Remove amount of cherries needed, reseal plastic bag or container and return to freezer immediately.
  • Serve cherries partially frozen for best flavor and texture. Dip in chocolate for a special treat.
  • Remove stems and pits; add to salads, sauces, toppings and batters.

Canning Northwest Cherries 

Select firm, ripe Northwest fresh sweet cherries.

Rinse, drain, remove stem and pits, if desired. Pack cherries into clean hot canning jars and cover with medium hot syrup (1-1/2 cups sugar to 2 cups water), leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal according to manufacturer's directions. Place jars on rack in canner. Process 25 minutes for pints and quarts in boiling water bath with boiling water two inches above jar tops. Remove jars from canner. Cool away from drafts. Remove rings from sealed jars after 12 hours.

At high altitudes processing time varies.

For more information, see USDA information Bulletin #539 or click on the "Learn More" link.