Ascorbic acid?

2ajsmamaAugust 10, 2012

Wanted cheap ascorbic acid (instead of Fruit Fresh) for a lot of peaches we're canning this weekend, looked at W@lm@rt pharmacy, all the Vitamin C tablets had added ingredients like aspartame, corn starch, and even rose hips! Pharmacist told me to look in natural foods store.

So where to find (fairly) pure ascorbic acid, which additives are OK (I personally don't want aspartame), and which must be avoided (corn starch?)?

So ended up buying Fruit Fresh after all, have to do up some peaches right now, anything that had a scratch or a bug bite is rotting 1 day after picking (so may just make peach butter with lots of lemon juice?). We're picking again the next non-rainy day, I'm hoping to get ones firm enough to slice/dice and can in syrup for DD's lunchbox, would like to maintain color if anyone has suggestions. Thanks

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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Lemon juice... or vinegar.
Works great. Cheap. Easy to obtain. No extra junk.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:20PM
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I've made peach jam with just lemon juice but lots of sugar - haven't noticed any darkening. But I'd like to do light-medium syrup for DD's peaches, how much lemon juice (and don't want them too tart) to keep color? Add lemon juice to water, slice the peaches in, then lift them out just long enough to add sugar and make the syrup (return to pan for hot pack)?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I just looked up my recipe for Melly's Peach Vanilla Almond Preserves (a la Ferber) - I thought I could let it sit overnight (too late to start running the canner). But basically, is that the same (except maybe the sit time) method?

Slice/dice 6C peaches after peeling & pitting, toss with 6 Tbsp lemon juice, 4C sugar (here's where maybe you'd make a syrup with the sugar instead of adding the sugar to the peaches and letting them sit hours at room temp to make juice)?

BTW, those mushy peaches - some of them were bruised (I had a 7-yr old helper and he was tossing the first ones into the bucket instead of placing them in, til I told him) but others seemed to be rotting from the pit out? Ever see total mush around the pit and 1 small spot on the outside?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:01PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

This is very confusing but I think you are talking about 2 different things and neither has anything to do with making jam or jelly.

1 - is mixing Fruit Fresh or Vit C pills or lemon juice or vinegar with water as a pre-soak to preserve the color while waiting to make the syrup and filling the jars. That mixed gets dumped after the peaches are removed from it and added to the syrup.

2 - adding lemon juice or vinegar or Fruit Fresh or citric acid to the jars with the peaches and syrup. There is no need to do that as they have already been soaked in it and the sugar syrup is the preservative.

The lemon juice in jam and jelly is for setting, not color preservation.

So exactly what is it you are trying to accomplish?


Here is a link that might be useful: How to can peaches

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:22PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I use vegetable whitener from American Spice. It's available in bulk, much much cheaper than Fruit Fresh and includes calcium chloride which is a crisping agent so if you need to hold the product or get delayed it keeps better.

I always have this on hand. It's a favorite with me.


Here is a link that might be useful: Great American Spice Vegetable Whitener

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:18AM
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Thanks Carol. Dave, I am trying to think how to preserve the color of canned peaches in light-medium syrup. I happened to be making jam last night, so when Deanna mentioned lemon juice, I was wondering if you did sort of the same thing as when making jam, but add the lemon juice to the water you were going to use in the syrup, rather than using it as a soak and discarding as NCHFP says to do for the ascorbic acid soak. And wondering how much lemon juice to how much water if I did that. Sorry I got you confused by comparing what I thought Deanna was saying to do to the jam.

My jam does tend to darken a little - caramelizing the sugar I guess, of course you wouldn't boil the syrup (or fruit) so long for hot pack peaches so maybe they wouldn't darken?

Anyway, Deanna (or Dave), if you have measurements/procedure using lemon juice as a soak for canned peaches I'd appreciate it. Though I will look into that Vegetable Whitener, just as an option - if the neighbor and my cousin use it too it may be worth ordering in bulk.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:04AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

There really isn't measurements/procedure for it. It's basically just a big bowl of water, big enough to hold all the fruit you'll be working with at one time, with some lemon juice (or whatever) added to it.

If you Google 'lemon juice presoak for fruit' you get all sorts of recipes and ratios. Basically a 10:1 ratio water to lemon juice.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:48AM
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Thanks Dave - the ratio (enough to prevent discoloration) was what I needed. Looks like rain today (possible tornado touchdown yesterday in central part of the state) so probably picking tomorrow. Just blanched and froze 6 lbs of green beans that didn't get to market yesterday, now gotta figure out what to do with the squash and tomatoes. Also have to pick the edamame (and freeze it) that I didn't pick yesterday.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

I do add Fruit Fresh to my syrup when canning fruit, not as a presoak.
Then, I order ascorbic acid in bulk from Bulk Foods online if I don't have Fruit Fresh left. I got a bunch of jars on clearance last year.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:03PM
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So how about adding lemon juice to water needed for the syrup, slicing the fruit into that, then lifting the fruit out, adding the sugar, boiling the syrup, and adding the fruit back in? Is that pretty much what you do Linda Lou (except with FF/acid)? Or does the fruit discolor whiel you're boiling the syrup?

Water is pretty cheap, so is lemon juice, but after the well running low last month I'm more concious of conserving water rather than dumping it down the drain. I guess I could always make (fruit-flavored?) lemonade!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:13PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

First lemon juice isn't tasteless like FF is so think about it. Do you really want lemon flavored canned peaches? If you were using vinegar instead of lemon juice to prevent darkening would you dump the vinegar water in too?

The point is the two things - FF and lemon juice - are not the same and are not used interchangeably.

This whole discussion makes what is a very simple process - canning peaches - sound like one of the most complicated things in the world.

I jar of Fruit Fresh isn't that expensive and 1 jar goes a long, long way but if you don't want to use Fruit Fresh then don't use it. But don't try to re-invent the wheel just to can peaches.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:55PM
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I've never minded lemon on any fruit, 10:1 ratio doesn't sound like much, I'm used to lemon juice in jams and jellies. I guess I'd have to taste it. But no, I wouldn't use vinegar in the canning syrup. And I did buy citric acid to use in tomatoes this year ;-)

Deanna brought up the lemon juice, Linda Lou mentioned she uses FF in the syrup, I was just asking if the same could be done with lemon. I started the thread looking for info on if any Vit C tablets could be used, or if it had to be pure, b/c NCHFP doesn't say and I couldn't find pure ascorbic acid in a quick search of WM yesterday.

I really don't know how far a jar of FF will go when the neighbor has 2 trees loaded but we'll see. Maybe next year we should all chip in and order in bulk from the place Carol mentioned or somewhere else (Linda Lou, do you have a link to Bulk Foods' website?). Since FF isn't pure ascorbic acid, it might not do as good a job of preventing discoloration or you might have to use more.

So, any suggestions on where I might find pure ascorbic acid locally, or whether the additives I found in Vit C tablets would be a concern (assuming I dump the soaking solution)?

Dave - don't read this thread any more if the discussion of options and pros/cons of each bothers you - it might go farther afield ;-)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:40PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Depending upon shelf storage conditions and amount of time before consumption, light-colored fruits will darken regardless of the preventive measures you use.

You can extend the time fruits and preserves stay bright, but changes due to exposure to light and any remaining oxygen are inevitable.

It's just one of those things and is a good reason not to over-do it on amount you can.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Thanks Carol - I was just going to take advantage of a neighbor with trees and can up enough for 2-3 households while we had the fruit. Hopefully 2 trees won't be more than we can all go through in a year! I just looked at the link you gave, the whitener has citric acid too, so I'm back to wondering if pure ascorbic acid is the best, if I'm going to order some, or if the Vit C tablets can be used. Neither NCHFP nor PFB mentions additives in the vitamin tablets (except PFB says to minimize them get the 500mg tabs not 250mg).

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Dave - don't read this thread any more if the discussion of options and pros/cons of each bothers you - it might go farther afield ;-)

It isn't me I'm worried about. It is all the newbies and lurkers who would read this thread and be blown away by all the confused tangents it goes off on. All those who Google 'ascorbic acid' and get this thread and think they have to use Vit. C tablets, which will always contain additives and stabilizers, instead of Fruit Freash. This convoluted thread will hang around for months confusing people so some thought has to be given to its content and accuracy.

Deanna said lemon juice or vinegar can be used in place of FF or Vit. C to prevent darkening. She said absolutely nothing about jam making. Totally unrelated issue.

Linda Lou said she adds FF to her jars. Her choice. She said nothing about lemon juice to the jars. Yet off it goes on another unrelated tangent. Next thing you know we will have readers thinking they are supposed to add the lemon pre-soak water to their peaches because they "read it somewhere".

Your post's question - what's a cheap substitute for Fruit Fresh to keep peaches from darkening - was answered by Deanna's first post.

As Carol said, You can extend the time fruits and preserves stay bright, but changes due to exposure to light and any remaining oxygen are inevitable. So unless you plan to store canned peaches for 10 years or more you follow the simple, straightforward directions for canning peaches just like everyone else does.

It really is that simple.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - How to can peaches

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:48PM
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Dave - it all started off b/cc I was looking for ascorbic acid, couldn't find any, NCHFP said use Vitamin C tablets but I found additives in them. Wondering if they were safe to use. Guess I'll look on Ball's website to see how much FF since NCHFP does not address the issue with the Vit C tablets.

I'm sorry I even asked Deanna about her lemon juice suggestion or mentioned that I used it in jam and instructions had the peaches tossed with straight lemon juice!

End of thread, and please any newbies do not use any of the info in this thread at all!!!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Just my 2 cents

1)For something different try a bit of cinamon stick, vanilla bean, or other dried spice (star anise?) in a jar of peaches.

2)I have a suggestion that could possibly be an alternative to the lemon juice or vitamin C tablets. Bear with my ramblings, please. They follow the recipe.

I really like this recipe for -freezing- peaches. It was printed in the the grocery store ad many ages ago. I think the oj really helps the peaches keep a fresh taste.

6 oz. can frozen Orange Juice concentrate (thawed)
5 c. sugar
1/2 case peaches (skins removed)

Mix thawed orange juice concentrate with sugar in a large container. (Use your favorite way to remove the skin from the peaches.) Slice peaches into large container and mix with juice. Spoon into freezer containers or bags. In either case, make sure the peaches are completely covered by the "juice". Freeze.

(I think the amount of sugar is variable. I saw a similar recipe online for a full lug of peaches using 12 oz. of juice but only 7 c. sugar)

Now why did I add this to this thread?

I was wondering if perhaps instead of freezing, once all the peaches have been sliced into the juice/sugar mixture, could they be drained and then water added to that "juice" in the equivelent of whichever syrup strength the peaches were to be canned in? It will, of course, be a bit lighter because of some peach juice being drawn out but that could be compensated for or just left alone. Is this an option?

For example:
-IF- I wanted to can my peaches in a medium syrup, I would up the sugar to 6 1/2 cups (the sugar equiv. of 2 recipes for medium syrup) and then to the drained syrup I would add 10 c. of water. (or 8 c. to compensate for the added oj and juice drawn from the peaches) This medium syrup could them be boiled and the peaches processed per recommendaions?

Again -
I do NOT know. I HAVE NOT done this. I am simply asking if this might work. It might just be a lot of extra work. I am only suggesting it because it is something wondered about/considered in the past, and I wondered if it could possibly be an alternative to the lemon juice or vitamin C tablets.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 2:17PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Hmmm, I add Fruit Fresh to the CANNING SYRUP and the fruit stays pristine looking for years. That is why I use it.
I do not presoak or pretreat my fruit in any manner. No need to. Even if it oxidizes during peeling and getting into the jars, once in the jars it will turn pristine again from the syrup with FF added.
So, that is the end of my story, and I am sticking to it, LOL.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 2:20PM
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I tried the Fruit Fresh in the syrup, per Linda Lou, but found that it left a weird aftertaste to the peaches. I used about 1/3t per recipe of syrup in the Ball Book. Does anyone else feel it alters the flavor of the fruit? The peaches look beautiful, though. My children haven't noticed an after taste that they have mentioned to me. Might just be my tastebuds. My two year old has been eating and eating those peaches (even when we have fresh ones available).

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I've never noticed any taste associated with using it and I often use much more than 1/3 tsp. of it at a time. But then I have very old taste buds.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:59PM
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