Preventing Fruit Discoloration

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These guidelines will help ensure that your canned fruits keep their color and flavor during processing and storage:

  • Use only high-quality foods that are at the proper maturity and are free of diseases and bruises.
  • Use the hot-pack method, especially with acid foods to be processed in boiling water.
  • Can prepared foods as soon as possible.
  • While preparing a canner load of jars, keep prepared apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and pears in a solution of 3 grams (3,000 milligrams) ascorbic acid to 1 gallon of cold water. This procedure is also useful in maintaining the natural color of mushrooms and potatoes, and for preventing stem-end discoloration in cherries and grapes. You can get ascorbic acid in several forms:Pure powdered form—seasonally available in supermarkets in the canning supply aisle. Use 1 teaspoon per gallon of water as a treatment solution.Vitamin C tablets—economical and available year-round in many stores. Buy 500-
    milligram tablets; crush and dissolve six tablets per gallon of water as a treatment solution.

    Commercially prepared mixes of ascorbic and citric acid—seasonally available in supermarkets in the canning supply aisle. Sometimes citric acid powder is sold in supermarkets, but it is less effective in controlling discoloration. If you choose to use these products, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

This document incorporates information from the “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA (Revised 2009) and information available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

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