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Healthy Home Canning

Enjoy the bounty of summer — without the sugar

jar of freshly canned peaches

Healthy canned peaches. — Photo by Tara Donne

En español |  Home canning is back in vogue: Sales of canning products are up 35 percent since the start of the recession. If you've been slow to embrace the trend because of concerns about added sugar and sodium, you can relax. New ingredients and processing equipment mean you can make Grandma's yummy preserves and jams without lots of sugar or salt but with equally tasty results.

See also: Canning makes a comeback.

Nearly every canning recipe these days lets you omit sodium and use water, low-sugar or unsweetened fruit juice, or honey instead of sugar syrup, says Kimberley Lord Stewart, author of Eating Between the Lines. Modified pectins — a carbohydrate that puts the "gel" in jelly — help fruits congeal without sugar. And new canner models — both boiling-water and pressure types — ensure that food reaches the proper temperature every time.

To can safely and avoid nasty bugs like botulism, Elizabeth Andress, Ph.D., project director for the National Center for Home Food Preservation, has the following advice: Follow tested recipes carefully. Glass jars and rings may be recycled, but do not reuse the self-sealing lids. Store home-canned foods in a cool, dry, dark place, from 50F to 70F. Can just a few quarts of each item. That way you'll empty your pantry just before the next fresh crop arrives.

Next: Canned Peaches Recipe. >>

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