There are two water bath canning methods commonly used for canning fruit Hot pack canning and raw pack canning. Both methods are suitable and safe. It just depends upon what you’re preserving.
Raw Pack or Cold Pack:
Raw pack canning is when you place raw food into the canning jars. Sometimes it’s called Cold Pack canning. In other words, the food is placed in the jars at room temperature and then covered with your liquid. The food has not been previously heated. This method is suitable for veggies that is going to be preserved by pressure cooker canning. It is not the best method for fruit, which is process by water bath canning.
Have you every wondered why your peaches were floating around at the top of the jar rather than being evenly distributed? Have you been disappointed to find your fruit turning dark after a few months? It has to do with the how much air has been left in the bottle…. or in your fruit.
If the fruit is place in the jars raw, there is a tendency to pack the jars too tightly therefore trapping air between the the pieces. Also, fruit has air within its tissues that will add to the problem of “floating fruit”.
The Hot Pack canning process is the best for canning fruits. Simply place your fruit into boiling liquid then simmer it for a couple of minutes… thereby heating the fruit and shrinking it a bit. Fill your jars loosely. Because your fruit has been pre-shrunk you can actually put more fruit into your jars. This process removes air from the fruit tissue and extends the shelf life.
If you choose to raw-pack your fruit into your jars at room temperature, don’t pack the jars tightly. Make sure your syrup is boiling when you pour it into your jars… which will help shrink the fruit a bit. Poke a butter knife around the inside edge of the jar which will help release trapped air around the fruit.
Process your fruit in a water bath canner or steam canner.
Happy Canning and Preserving
Kathy Griffiths – Insightful Nana
P.S. Grandma Ella didn’t know the difference between cold pack canning and hot pack canning. She always had floating fruit. My mom use her her mom’s method. Funny how traditions are passed down. I learned the differences and I use hot pack canning. That is unless I’m really in a hurry. Floating fruit tastes good too and my kids and grands don’t care.