How to Make Your Own Canning Syrup

Make your own canning syrup and you'll better preserve all your favorite fruits. Learn how with this excerpt from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.
From the United States Department of Agriculture
July 13, 2011

Raspberries are just one of many fruits you can better preserve with homemade canning syrup, which helps maintain a fruit's color, shape and texture.
Photo By Matka_Wariatka
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When storing fruits for an extended period of time, canning syrup can make the difference between a perfectly plump, scrumptious peach, and a shriveled, colorless pulp. And if you make your own syrup, you can save calories by selecting a lighter type to use for your canning, instead of the heavy syrups in which fruits are typically packed. This prevents the addition of extra calories from an unnecessary amount of sugar. This helpful excerpt from the United States Department of Agriculture's Complete Guide to Home Canning you'll learn the benefits of canning fruits with homemade syrup. Use this and our other canning resources to stock up after your harvest.

The following is an excerpt from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, detailing why and how you should make canning syrup to preserve your fruit.  

Adding syrup to canned fruit helps to retain its flavor, color, and shape. It does not prevent spoilage of these foods. The following guidelines for preparing and using syrups offer a new “very light” syrup, which approximates the natural sugar content of many fruits. The sugar content in each of the five syrups is increased by about 10 percent. See a detailed chart in the Image Gallery for the quantities of water and sugar needed to make enough syrup for a canner load of pints or quarts, provided for each syrup type. Decide which type best suits your purpose by using the descriptions below. Be sure to check out the Image Gallery for a detailed chart on how to prepare each syrup type.

Syrup Types

Very Light: Approximates natural sugar level in most fruits and adds the fewest calories.

Light: Very sweet fruit. Try a small amount the first time to see if your family likes it.

Medium: Sweet apples, sweet cherries, berries, grapes.

Heavy: Tart apples, apricots, sour cherries, gooseberries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums.

Very Heavy: Very sour fruit. Try a small amount the first time to see if your family likes it.

Procedure: Heat water and sugar together. Bring to a boil and pour over raw fruits in jars. For hot packs, bring water and sugar to boil, add fruit, reheat to boil, and fill into jars immediately. Light corn syrups or mild-flavored honey may be used to replace up to half the table sugar called for in syrups. See the section, Canned foods for special diets, for further discussion.

Have a smartphone or tablet? Download the free MOTHER EARTH NEWS library app for access to our How to Can resource (also free!). Find it in the iTunes App Store and Google Play. It’s the power of canning know-how in the palm of your hands!








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