Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600511
Most fruits will have better texture if packed in sugar or syrup although sugar is not necessary to preserve the product.
There are three ways of packing fruits whole or in pieces- syrup pack, sugar pack and unsweetened pack. Fruits can also be packed crushed, pureed and juiced.
Your selection of the packing method will depend on the intended use. Fruits packed in a syrup are generally best for dessert use.
Even though some unsweetened fruits may yield a slightly lower quality product than packs with sugar, directions are for unsweetened packs and are included whenever they are satisfactory because they are often needed for special diets. Fruits, such as gooseberries, currants, cranberries, rhubarb and figs, will give good quality packs with or without sugar.
Syrup pack A 40-percent syrup (1 cup water to 3/4 cup sugar) is recommended for most fruits. For some mild-flavored fruits, lighter syrups are desirable to prevent masking of flavor. Heavier syrups may be needed for very sour fruits.
In the directions for each fruit, syrups are called for according to the percentage of sugar in the syrup. Below is a master recipe from which any of the syrups can be made. It takes one-half to two-thirds cup of syrup for each pint package of fruit.
SYRUPS FOR USE IN FREEZING FRUITS ------------------------------------------------------------ Type of syrup Sugar Water Cups Cups 30-percent syrup...... 2-1/4 5-1/4 40-percent syrup...... 3-1/4 5 50-percent syrup...... 4 4-1/4
To make the syrup, dissolve sugar in lukewarm water, mixing until the solution is clear. Chill syrup before using.
In general, up to one-fourth of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-color corn syrup is selected.
When packing fruit into containers be sure the syrup covers the fruit, so that the top pieces will not darken. To keep the fruit under the syrup, place a small piece of crumpled parchment paper or other water-resistant wrapping material on top and press fruit down into syrup before closing and sealing the container.
Sugar pack Cut fruit into a bowl or shallow pan. Sprinkle the sugar (quantity needed given in the directions for each fruit) over the fruit. To mix, use a large spoon or pancake turner. Mix gently until juice is drawn out and sugar is dissolved.
Put fruit and juice into containers. Place a small piece of crumpled parchment paper or other water-resistant wrapping material on top to hold fruit down in juice. Close and seal the container.
Unsweetened pack Pack prepared fruit into containers, without added liquid or sweetening, or cover with water containing ascorbic acid. Or, pack crushed or sliced fruit in its own juice without sweetening. Press fruit down into juice or water with a small piece of crumpled parchment paper as for syrup and sugar pack. Close and seal containers.