Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ingredients of Preserves

1. Fruit: Always use just ripe or slightly under-ripe fruit as the pectin levels decrease substantially in over-ripe fruit.
2. Vegetables: Cucumbers should not be waxed.
3. Garlic Cloves : In pickles, this may turn bluish green.
4. Tomatoes: Acidity values of tomatoes falls close to the dividing line between high and low acid foods, so precautions must be taken to can them safely in a boiling water canner. Put 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid per pint directlyinto each jar before adding the tomatoes. This is to prevent the growth of harmful and potentially fatal bacteria.
5. Sugar: Granulated lump or preserving crystals are the most suitable. Brown sugar can be used, but it will alter the colour.
6. Vinegars: Use with an acetic acid content of at least 5%. This includes all red and white wine, and most cider vinegars. Pickling vinegar has 7% acidity. If a less sour pickle is desired. Add sugar rather than reducing the amount of vinegar.
7. Pectin: This is essential to achieving a good set.
8. Oils: Use a neutral flavoured oil that does not compete with added flavourings.
9. Salts: Use only pickling salt in pickles and pickled products. Iodine in table salt can make brine darken and can cause a cloudy appearance.
10. Hard water: Hardness reduces the acidity of pickling solutions and can affect the growth of bacteria. Use only distilled or soft drinking water.

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