Bet you probably thought that sugar HAD to be used to preserve fruit. I sure did! When a friend asked me what could he do with 15 lbs of blackberries the other day so he wouldn’t use up every square inch of his freezer, my first reaction was that he’d have to use ‘some’ sugar, honey or something else to preserve his haul. But for a number of reasons, he also wanted to avoid using sugar to preserve the fruit, if at all possible.
There’s a great site, http://pickyourown.org/canning_without_sugar.htm . This site not only gives you a way to find ‘Pick Your Own’ farms in your area, but they also had a super article on how to can produce – fruits and veggies – without sugar and little or no salt. I’ll take some of the ideas they give and add a few of my own. But this ought to be a great resource for anyone who does like to have the taste of fruit to create recipes with nature’s bounty.
My idea would be that you could do a blackberry apple cider vinagrette using grape seed oil. You could also use the canned blackberries to go into smoothies, or energy drinks. You could make a gravy, and at the last second add whirled, strained berries and adjust the seasoning to make a dark gravy for a roast, steaks, chicken, tofu or nut loafs. And you could just sit there one morning in February with a cup of organic yoghurt and pour your preserved manna from your garden or pick your own over the yoghurt for a divine treat. Blackberry soup is also another option.
Whatever he does, I told my friend to work with the berries while they were as fresh as possible. And I’ll keep you posted with what he decides to do with them. I think he has a few hundred bushes out back of his place. So I think he may be needing a few recipes. Hint! Hint!!
It’s been years since I’ve done large batch canning, but the results were always good. And as long as you follow the boiling and sterilization tips TO THE LETTER, you ought to have healthy, safe and delicious, low cost and as natural as you can way to preserve the fruit so that you’ll make meals that will make even Martha Stewart drool.
To your good health…
P.S. I’ve been humming the vintage Pointer Sisters’ song, “Yes You Can Can” while writing this blog. I loved watching and listening to them.