Almost every one likes canned pineapple, but some housewives stopped canning this fruit because they found that when cooked in sirup it seemed to get tough and less palatable. Vegetable and fruit fibers are toughened when cooked with sugar for any length of time, so in all cases where you desire to keep the product as Nature grew it avoid this form of cooking.
When the product is put into the jars with a sirup and cooked in the jar you will have a product superior to the one that is cooked over the direct fire in the kettle with the sirup.
But pineapple slices or pieces are so hard they cannot be put directly into the jars as berries are. Pineapples must undergo a preliminary process to make them palatable and soft. This preliminary process is known in canning as “blanching.”
After the pineapple has been prepared by paring and removing the eyes, it can be left in slices or cut into cubes. In cutting hold the pineapple at the top and use a sharp knife. It is then placed in a wire basket or a piece of cheesecloth for the blanching. Blanching means to immerse the product in boiling water for a certain length of time to reduce its bulk and soften it.
Pineapples are blanched for five minutes. We scald peaches and apricots, which are soft fruits; but we blanch pineapples, apples and quinces, the hard fruits.
Scalding means to immerse the product in boiling water for a very short time–just long enough to loosen the skins. Blanching is just a longer period of scalding.
When you blanch pineapples use only enough water to cover them. This same blanching water can be used for making the sirup. It contains much of the pineapple flavor and there is no reason for discarding it.
But this is absolutely the only blanching water that is ever used. All other blanching water, particularly that in which vegetables are blanched, is full of objectionable acids that we want to get rid of, so under no circumstances must it be used. But with pineapples the object of blanching is primarily to soften the hard fiber, so there is no objection to using the blanching water.
After the pineapple has been in the covered kettle of boiling water for five minutes, it is held under cold water until cool enough to handle. Never let it soak in cold water, as that will impair its delicate flavor. After this it is packed into hot sterilized jars.
Rubber rings are put on the jars, the covers are put in place – not tigh – and the jars are put in the canner.
Pineapple is sterilized for thirty minutes in a hot-water-bath outfit; thirty minutes in a condensed steam outfit; twenty-five minutes in the water-seal; twenty-five minutes in the steam pressure under five pounds of steam, and eighteen minutes in the pressure cooker under ten pounds of pressure. At the end of the sterilizing period the jars are removed, the covers completely tightened and the joints carefully
tested for leakage.
A thin or medium-thin sirup is best for pineapples. Measure the blanching water and to every two cups of it add three cups of sugar. If you wish the sirup thin heat until the sugar is dissolved. If medium-thin sirup is desired, boil it about four minutes or until it begins to be syrupy.
STEPS IN CANNING PINEAPPLE
- Cut the pineapple into slices of desired thickness.
- Pare the slices. It is easier to pare the slices than to pare the whole pineapple.
- Remove the eyes, using pineapple scissors to facilitate the work.
- Blanch pineapple for five minutes in a small amount of boiling water, using a wire basket or cheesecloth.
- Cold-dip the pineapple.
- Make a syrup, using the blanching water. Make a thin or medium-thin syrup.
- Pack the pineapple into hot sterilized jars, with good rubbers on them.
- Pour the syrup over the pineapple.
- Put the tops of the jars on – not tight.
- Sterilize for 30 minutes in hot-water-bath outfit, 30 minutes in condensed-steam outfit, 25 minutes in water-seal outfit, 25 minutes in steam pressure (5 pounds), 18 minutes in pressure cooker (10 pounds). Remove from canner, tighten covers and inspect rubber and joints.
The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.