Pour boiling water on to the sugar and stir until all the sugar grains have been thoroughly dissolved. Then strain through double thickness butter-muslin.
If it is desired to clarify the syrup, it can be done the same way as clearing jelly.
Large fruits, such as peaches, pears, quinces, etc., will require about a pint of syrup to each quart jar of fruit. The small fruit will require a little over half a pint of syrup. Most fruits are canned in a medium syrup, namely, two parts of water to one of sugar. To every pound of fruit allow one-third to one-half its weight in sugar.
Most fruits, especially the hard ones, give a better result if they are cooked a few seconds in boiling water before being filled into the cans or jars. This is known as Scalding or Blanching. By par-boiling them beforehand they are rendered more pliable, and so can be packed more easily in the jars. The texture and colour are also improved, and it enables them to absorb more syrup. After blanching they are at once plunged into cold water.
A convenient way of blanching fruits is to tie them in a piece of butter muslin, when they can be easily lifted out of the boiling water and at once plunged into cold water.
It is not necessary to sterilise fruits at boiling point, and some fruits, such as apples, pears, and quinces will retain their shape and colour much better if the temperature is kept considerably below boiling point, and never above simmering point. It would then be necessary to sterilise them about ten minutes longer than directed in the recipes.
If fruits are overcooked they generally rise in the bottles owing to shrinkage, and this very often happens with fruits sterilised at boiling point. Then again, fruits will often rise in the jars if not packed tightly enough, and for that reason it is always necessary to use a little force or pressure in filling the jars.
It will often be found that unless fruits are "Scalded or Blanched" beforehand, as directed above, they will sink in the jars, and although they will be perfectly good, the appearance of the jar may not be so attracttive. To remedy this a good plan is always to have an extra jar to fill up from. A few minutes before being done, remove the jars from the boiling water, fill up from the extra jar, screw down the lids tightly and return to the boiling water until done.
The question is often asked whether it is necessary during sterilisation to submerge the jars in the water. This is not necessary if a proper steriliser is used and the steam prevented from escaping, but unless the lid is a tight-fitting one, it is better to have the water right up to the necks of the jars. On the other hand, sterilisation can be done quite successfully in a paraffin tin or any open vessel, provided the jars are completely covered or submerged in the water.
It often happens that after several hours' cooking the water in the jars will evaporate, especially in the case of peas, beans, and mealies, and so the bottle will only be half full. This is, of course, not considered a fault excepting that the appearance will not be so nice, and so if liked the jars may be filled up from a kettle of boiling water about ten minutes before the vegetables have finished sterilising, the lids tightly screwed down, and returned to the boiling water until done.