[Sca-cooks] preserving fruits without sugar

Dan Brewer danqualman at gmail.com
Tue Jun 26 21:20:37 PDT 2007

For drying fruit you will want to wash the fruit to remove any residues.
Cut in two and remove the pit.  Dip in mixture of ascorbic acid ( vitamin c)
and place of the dryer shelf.  Your dryer can be home made or store bought.
If home made make the drying racks out of nylon mesh they will be easer to
keep clean.  The box holding the shelves needs to have an area to collect
solar radiation. And vents to carry away the excess moisture.

You will need to experiment a little to see how your dryer works. The
pattern of the fruit drying will vary with every load 
Here are some references to look at.

This link probably has the most useful information


Dan in Auburn

-----Original Message-----
From: sca-cooks-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org
[mailto:sca-cooks-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of V A
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 2:17 PM
To: Cooks within the SCA
Subject: [Sca-cooks] preserving fruits without sugar

Between my parents' house and our next-door neighbors', we have a surplus of
stone fruits ripening on the trees: white peaches, yellow peaches, plums,
nectarines, and apricots (my favorite).  I'm hoping to take advantage of
some of this summer bounty and preserve some of it in a form that can travel
with me to Pennsic and furnish the camp's breakfast table. :-)  I have come
across some SCA-period descriptions or recipes for various forms of fruit
preserves, and hope to take advantage of some of those.  I've made jams and
jellies and fruit pastes before, so I'm pretty comfortable with the basics.
But we have at least one person on the Pennsic food plan who can't eat
refined sugars (honey is fine, though).  This poses an interesting
challenge, since nearly all the period fruit-preserve recipes I've
encountered seem to require immense amounts of sugar, and I'd like to find
alternatives to that.  Obviously, historical stuff is preferable, but I'd be
perfectly happy to use a modern sugar-free jam recipe (unless it calls for
weird sugar substitutes created in laboratories rather than in nature!).
One can also buy sugar-free fruit preserves, obviously, but home-grown
produce is too delicious to pass up, and more importantly, it's practically
free. :-)

- I would love to dry some of the fruit, but don't have access to a
dehydrator.  Has anyone had success with sun-drying?  Any tips?  (I'm
currently in hot and arid Southern California, perfect conditions for
sun-drying, but I'd be happy to hear any recommended "dos and don'ts" before
I actually attempt it.)

- Is it possible to make jam using honey in place of sugar, or to leave the
sugar out entirely?  (I don't care if it's not as sweet -- in fact, I'd
prefer that -- but I imagine some sugar would be necessary to get the stuff
to gel properly and to preserve it.)

- I've seen some descriptions of whole fruits preserved in honey -- I think
in Platina or Apicius, but all my books are still in storage so I can't
double-check that.  Basically, they say to put whole, cleaned, raw fruits (I
think figs, grapes?, apples and pears were mentioned) in jars/vessels, pour
honey over the top, seal it and it'll last for weeks.  I'm a little
skeptical -- but maybe it's not any less reliable than the modern tradition
of keeping cooked fruits in sugar syrup.  Has anyone ever tried this, or
know if it works?

Thanks for any tips!

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