In my quest to eliminate HFCS from our diets, I knew that John's lunchtime fruit cup in syrup would have to go. We live in a great area full of farms, so I have easy access to fresh fruits and veggies every summer. I grew up with my mom and dad canning every summer, so it seemed like a no-brainer to just come up with my own fruit cups and can them. The 4 oz jars are perfect sizes (even if he does get made fun of at work for eating "baby food").
I made fruit cups of his two favorite fruits - peaches and apples- and while they still contain sugar, there aren't any preservatives or weird chemicals.
Peach Fruit Cups
1/2 bushel of peaches
3 quarts water
9 cups of sugar
108 (sterilized) 4 oz canning jars
Peel the peaches by placing them in boiling water for 4-5 minutes and then remove and dunk in an ice bath. The skins should then peel off easily.
Remove the peach pits and cut the peaches into quarters and the quarters into thirds to create bite sized chunks. Pack peach chunks into each of the canning jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of space below the ring.
Bring a giant stock pot or water canner to boil.
In the meantime, make a simple syrup by boiling 3 quarts of water with 9 cups of sugar. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup thickens.
Use a ladle to pour some of the syrup over each jar of peaches. Be sure to keep 1/4" of space at the top of each jar- there needs to be room for the liquid to boil without exploding the jar! Seal with lid and ring.
Process each jar for 15 minutes in the canner. Be sure to bring the water back to a boil between each round.I typically the canner as far as I can with the jars without overflowing the water and keeping the water from boiling.
After the jars are process, carefully (they are hot!!) remove them from the water and layout overnight to cool. In the morning check each lid to make sure that it sealed.
This whole process typically takes me about 4 hours.
Apple Pie Fruit Cups
Approximately 1/2 bushel apples (I got granny smith's in season)
9 cups Sugar, Divided
20 cups Water, Divided
2 cups Corn Starch
4 teaspoons Cinnamon
6 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoons Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons Cloves
Combine 7 cups sugar and 18 cups of water together; bring to a boil and make sure sugar is dissolved.
While it’s heating, combine 2 cup corn starch, remaining 2 cup water and 2 cup sugar. Stir in a bowl until no longer lumpy.
After sugar and water are boiling, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Keep whisking to make sure lumps don’t form. Add in remaining ingredients (except apples) and bring to a boil to thicken.
Pack hot jars with peeled and sliced apples. Ladle into jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Remove bubbles and adjust 2-piece caps. Process in a water bath for 20 minutes (additional time may be needed according to your altitude).