Surplus fruits and vegetables can be canned for later.

It seems to me that the reason that so many of the kids I grew up with do not like apricots is that they were so common when we were younger. Because there were still several abandoned orchards, and most of us had at least one apricot tree in our backyards, we ate apricots in every form imaginable; fresh, dried, in pies, in cobblers, as jams, as apricot nectar (juice) and of course, canned. By the time we grew up and moved on, we were done with apricots.

Apricots happen to be one of the many ‘high-acid’ fruits that are remarkably easy to preserve by canning, which is how and why they are available as jams and canned apricots at any time of the year. In fact, almost all of the fruits that were so commonly grown in the vast orchards of the Santa Clara Valley, like prunes, plums, cherries, nectarines, peaches, apples and pears, are also high-acid fruits that are relatively easy to can in various forms. ‘Low-acid’ vegetables, like broccoli, corn, pumpkin (squash), spinach and beets, as well as meat and poultry, were not so commonly canned only because they take considerably more work to can with the use of a pressure cooker (in order to achieve higher temperatures).

Because home canning can potentially be dangerous if done improperly, it is best to learn something about it first. This is why the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy has arranged for UC Master Preserver Susan Algert to conduct the workshop ‘Safe Methods for Food Preservation and Canning’. Participants will learn the importance of canning to kill toxic pathogens, and why high-acid produce gets canned in a hot water bath while low-acid foods need to be canned in a pressure cooker. Canning is an alternative to freezing for preserving overly abundant produce from the garden.

(Outdated information regarding classes has been omitted from this recycled article.)


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