Fruit Preservation by Lotus & Jerry Gehrke

Drying, Canning & Freezing was discussed in a lively open format with Lotus & Jerry Gehrke leading the discussion at the Sept 8, 2015 monthly meeting at the Land Trust Bldg.  Many of the members’ preservation recipes & harvest spoils were featured on the refreshment table:  Pear Compote, Stewed Apples, Plum Jam/Cream Cheese on Crackers, Dried Cherries, Dried Plums, Dried Bartlett Pears, Grapes on the Vine amongst them.

Among the many tip & tricks imparted from the membership were:

  • Drying of apples – Jamie Sherman likes to soak apples overnight in cinnamon & ascorbic acid before placing in the dehydrator.
  • Frozen apples for pies – Place frozen apple slices in plastic bags, then in pie thin before freezing so it is ready to go when needed.
  • Frozen cider – Yes, it can be frozen.
  • Mix of dried & fresh apples is recommended for pie.
  • Drying of hard pears – After drying, place in paper sack to rehydrate.
  • Asian pears – Peel first, then dehydrate.  Asian pears must ripen on tree.
  • Bosc pears are sandy when dried.
  • Dried plums – Split in half, then criss cross w/ knife before drying.
  • Canning of fruit – Lotus likes to use apple juice instead of water & sugar in her steam canner.
  • Brandied cherries – Cook lightly in brandy, then place in jars.
  • Cherry pie – Use only pie cherries (i.e. sour cherries).
  • Sweet cherry popsicles – Jerry Gehrke likes to freeze sweet cherries on cookie sheets for popsicles.
  • Frozen pitted cherries can go in food processor and be ready for your recipe.
  • Dry then freeze fruit – Jerry Gehrke recommends drying fruit, then freezing on cookie sheets, then placing in Ziploc bags and then back into the freezer.
  • Blackberry infused vinegar – Place blackberries in hot vinegar.  Ready in 3 days to 2 weeks.
  • Frozen nectarines – Jerry G freezes them whole and prefers Hardy Red variety.
  • Figs – Best fresh or dried, not frozen.  Cut in half and place in dehydrator for 72 hours.
  • Strawberry freezer jam – a unanimous club favorite
  • Kiwis & lime juice
  • Tomatoes – today’s tomatoes are not acid enough so use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per pint of tomatoes when canning to avoid spoiling and maybe botulism.
  • Green beans and tomatoes need to be canned with care as both are susceptible to botulism.
  • Raw honey has botulism spores, dangerous for infants, pregnant women and elderly.
  • Quince – Must be parboiled prior to preserving.

Thanks to all for a great interactive meeting!


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