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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Canning > Canning basics 10: Canning foods for special diets

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Canning basics 10: Canning foods for special diets

William Schafer

The high cost of commercially canned, special diet food often prompts interest in preparing these products at home. Some low-sugar and low-salt foods may be easily and safely canned at home. However, the color, flavor, and texture of these foods may be different than expected and be less acceptable.

Canning without sugar

When canning regular fruits without sugar, it is very important to select fully ripe but firm fruits of the best quality. Prepare these as hot packs as described later in this publication, but use water or regular unsweetened fruit juices instead of sugar syrup. Juice made from the fruit being canned is best. Blends of unsweetened apple, pineapple, and white grape juice are also good for filling over solid fruit pieces. Adjust headspaces and lids and use the processing recommendations given for regular fruits. Add sugar substitutes, if desired, when serving.

Canning without salt

To can tomatoes, vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood, use the procedures given later in this publication, but omit the salt. In these products, salt seasons the food but is not necessary to ensure its safety. Add salt substitutes, if desired, when serving.

Canning baby foods

You may prepare any chunk-style or pureed fruit with or without sugar, using the procedure for preparing and processing found in this publication. Pack in half-pint, preferably, or pint jars and use the following processing times for all Minnesota altitudes.

Recommended process: Boiling-water bath, half-pints or pints, hot pack, 25 minutes

Caution: Do not attempt to can pureed vegetables, red meats, or poultry because proper processing times for pureed foods have not been determined for home use. Instead, can and store these foods using standard processing procedures. Puree or blend them at serving time. Heat the blended foods to boiling, simmer for 10 minutes, cool, and serve. Store unused portions in the refrigerator and use within two days for best quality.

Reviewed by Deb Botzek-Linn 2010

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