Thursday, June 9, 2011

Turning Fruit into Candy! A guest post By Daniel Gasteiger of Yes,You Can! And Freeze and Dry it, Too.

Today you are in for a real treat!

  I have a guest post  by the Fabulous Daniel Gasteiger! He is my canning partner in crime! Check out the wonderful candy he is sharing with us today! Made from cantaloupe of all things! Are you salivating yet.
 Do check out Daniel's wonderful blogs! He shares so much of his passions for food and gardening.

Candy from Fruit!

by Daniel Gasteiger

I was flattered when Jenn invited me to write a guest post for her two-year bloggaversary. Jenn and I met on Twitter during the high canning season. We were both canning jams, jellies, pickles, tomatoes, relishes… honestly, I can’t say who was canning what but our daily greeting went something like, “What are you canning today?”

Jenn suggested I write something about preserving food appropriate for beginners. Of course I thought about canning, but Jenn can teach you all about canning. I thought we could talk about making candy instead!

Preserving with Sugar

Sugar doesn’t spoil. Moisture may cause it to degrade, but if you keep it dry, sugar can last several hundred or thousands of years. You can use this quality of sugar to preserve other foods. Add a bunch of sugar to fruit juice and you get syrup which might keep at room temperature for years. Add a bunch of sugar to fruit, and you get candy which also might keep for years, but no one knows for sure because it’s so yummy.

There are many recipes for candying fruit. Here’s the approach I teach in Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry it, Too.

Cantaloupe Candies

Start with one-to-two cups of perfectly-ripe cantaloupe cut into 1-inch cubes.

In a small, deep pot, heat a cup of water with a cup of sugar until the mixture boils.

Add cantaloupe cubes so that all fit submerged in the liquid; if you could fit in more than you prepared, feel free to cut up a few extras and add them.

When the mixture boils, adjust the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. I rest the bottom of a strainer on the fruit to keep it submerged while it cooks.

Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool to room temperature—possibly two or three hours.

Remove the fruit from the syrup in the pot, add a cup of sugar, and heat the pot until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils.

Add the fruit, and when the mixture boils again, adjust the heat to a summer and cook for 20 minutes.

Cool the mixture to room temperature.

Remove the fruit from the syrup—you may need to heat the pot a bit to get the fruit free from the mixture.

Repeat the cooking cycle a last time: add a cup of sugar, heat to dissolve, add the fruit, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the fruit to a cooling rack (make sure there’s something under the rack to catch drips).

When the candies cool, roll them in granulated sugar and wrap them in waxed paper.
To make a harder candy, dehydrate the finished pieces for several hours before wrapping them.

Try this procedure with other fruits as well. Cherries, pineapple, peaches, apricots, mangoes, watermelon, apples, pears, and citrus rind are all great candidates for candying. I’m not enthusiastic about candying berries.

What About the Syrup?

With a little cooking, the leftover syrup should make excellent hard candies… and it seems you could cook it to the hard ball stage (250F degrees) and pull it to make taffy.

Also, you could cut the syrup with water to start a new batch of candied fruit. I haven’t tried this, but I’d spoon out a third of the syrup and cut it with an equal amount of water for the first cooking. I’d add half of the remaining syrup for the second cooking, and the rest of the syrup for the third cooking.

We’d love to hear your suggestions as well: after you make candied fruit, in what creative ways might you use the leftover syrup?

Daniel Gasteiger gardens in hardiness zone 6 in central Pennsylvania. He writes two blogs about kitchen gardening: Your Small Kitchen Garden and Your Home Kitchen Garden and recently published the book Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry it, Too from Cool Springs Press.

Thanks Daniel for being a guest on Jenn's Cooking Garden. It was a real treat having you show us how to make candy from fruit. I look forward to trying this recipe. I have a Pineapple waiting to be turned into something amazing!

I hope you all enjoyed learning how to make candy from fruit. If you have any questions for Daniel, leave a comment. He will be happy to help you out! Also, if you are in search of a fun new book about Canning, Freezing and Drying! Daniels book is perfect for you!

Happy Candy Making!!!


  1. Such a great post, I have a sink full of mangoes now and wondered @ the possibilities. Here is the mango picture.

  2. Oh my, this had me salivating while reading. I must try this recipe and get the book! Thanks for sharing!

  3. That is a neat idea...I never thought about preserving them that way. Would this be a way to use slightly overripe fruit...or would that make an inferior candy?

  4. Wow!!! amazing !!! One of the best recipes i have ever came across!! thank you for the delicious share@ :P


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