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General Canning Information

Canned Foods for Special Diets

The cost of commercially canned special diet food often prompts interest in preparing these products at home. Some low-sugar and low-salt foods may be easily and safely canned at home. However, the color, flavor, and texture of these foods may be different than expected and be less acceptable.

Canning without sugar

In canning regular fruits without sugar, it is very important to select fully ripe but firm fruits of the best quality. Prepare these as described for hot-packs in Guide 2 (of the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning), but use water or regular unsweetened fruit juices instead of sugar syrup. Juice made from the fruit being canned is best. Blends of unsweetened apple, pineapple, and white grape juice are also good for filling over solid fruit pieces. Adjust headspaces and lids and use the processing recommendations given for regular fruits. Add sugar substitutes, if desired, when serving.

Canning without salt (reduced sodium)

To can tomatoes, vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood, use the procedures given in Guides 3 through 5 (of the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning), but omit the salt. In these products, salt seasons the food but is not necessary to ensure its safety. Add salt substitutes, if desired, when serving.

Adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, NIFA-USDA (Revised 2015). Page reviewed February 2, 2017.

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