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Recipes for canning fruit need no sugar at all

That sugar prices, already at an all-time high, may soar still higher is rather unpleasant news for home canners. There is no way to predict when the increase may hit your area, if it hasn't already, but from now on, any time is canning season most everywhere. One fruit or another is ready for canning from early spring, when rhubarb is ready to pick and eat.

For many homemakers who are planning to put away some fresh fruit, there is an alternative to canning with this costly commodity. Fruits can be canned with no sugar at all by using an item that's easy to come by -- fruit juice, such as grapefruit or apple.

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Fresh fruits preserved by this method, such as pineapple in grapefruit juice and pears in apple juice, which was especially developed by Ball Corporation, makes delicious and refreshing desserts. The unsweetened fruit juices enhance the true flavor of the fruit and certainly help on the food budget. Spiced Pears in Apple Juice 6 pound pears Soaking solution: 8 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon vinegar 3 sticks cinnamon 2 teaspoons whole cloves 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg 3 cups unsweetened apple juice

Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions. Peel pears; cut into halves and core. Place halves in soaking solution to prevent darkening. Tie spice in a cheesecloth bag. Place spice bag and apple juice in a large 6- to 8-quart saucepot. Cover and simmer juice and spices 10 minutes.

Rinse and drain pears, then cook in juice for 3 minutes. Remove spice bag. Carefully pack hot pears into hot jars, one jar at a time, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Remove air bubbles with a nonmettalic spatula. Wipe jar rim clean, place lid on, and screw band down evenly and firmly. Placed closed jar in canner. Repeat for each jar. Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath canner. Yield: about 5 pint jars. Pineapple in Grapefruit Juice 4 fresh, ripe pineapples 4 grapefruit, about 3 cups juice

Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions.

Pare pineapple, remove eyes and core. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Extract juice from grapefruit, remove seeds, and pour into large 6- to 8-quart saucepot. Add pineapple chunks and simmer in juice for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully pack pineapple and juice into hot jars, one jar at a time, leaving 1/2 -inch head space. Remove air bubbles with a nonmetallic spatula. Wipe jar rim clean, place lid on, and screw band down evenly and firmly. Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath canner. Yield: about 5 pint jars.