Picture Sundays: Canning With Karo


Another gem from the folks at Kitsch and Retro. Fruit does taste better canned with a bit of sugar, but I have a feeling this product would be way too sweet for my taste. And I’m not sure how using corn sugar qualifies as saving sugar. But I’m sure it would delight the family.

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  1. The “saving” sugar refers specifically to rationing, in which granulated cane sugar was rationed, but corn syrup was (apparently) not. So if you could get creative with alternative sweeteners, you could make your “sugar” last longer. Very temporally specific 🙂

  2. I was going to say what Erica said. Plus, the ad says to use half sugar and half Karo. Karo syrup is what we used in pecan pies. You can use any brand syrup, but Karo is what we used.

    Maybe if Karo were used for canning, not so much Karo would be used, so it would not be overly sweet. After all, in canning fruits a canner can make a heavy or light syrup, making the sugar syrup more or less sweet.

    I have two jars/bottles of Karo in my cabinet right now, neither ever opened–light and dark Karo. I still use the recipe on the Karo bottle for pecan pies. However, I have never used Karo in any other recipe. I would not be against it, however.

    Karo is used with diluted Pet milk to make baby formula.

  3. Holy moley! All these years and it never even occurred to me that I should be braiding my peaches and arranging my cherries in ramrod straight rows.

  4. This brought back some memories!

    When I was small, I lived with my grandma and she allowed me to use a little bit of Karo light syrup on pancakes. Not much, mind you; Grandma was frugal. When we finally moved to our own house, my mother never bought Karo, so the sight of a bottle of Karo always reminds me of my Grandmother. I miss you, Oma!

  5. I was gong to chime in on the history, myself, but I guess my only remaining role is to comment on the science.

    As usual. 🙂

    Corn syrup is made of glucose, and maybe some maltose. Granulated sugar is pure (due to filtration with charcoal and the phenomenon of recrystallization refinement, the concentration of impurities is very startlingly low) sucrose.

    There are two reasons to add sugar to canned goods: aesthetic, and osmotic. High concentrations of sugar (or of salt, or of any other other water-soluble substance) draw water out of living things and make it more difficult to microbes to grow.

    Replacing sucrose with glucose, while keeping the osmotic pressure the same, would mean using about half the weight of sugar over all, because sucrose is a disaccharide: glucose molecules are about half as large.

    Glucose doesn’t taste as sweet as sucrose, though. My (somewhat over-educated) guess is that the syrup formulas worked out by these home economists are more moderate: they have a slightly stronger osmotic effect due to a higher number of sugar molecules, are somewhat less sweet, and have a noticeably lower sugar concentration by weight.

    Some of the Karo syrup I see on shelves has actually been sweetened with cane sugar to make up for the relative blandness of glucose. The fermentation process behind high-fructose corn syrup, which makes a corn product of comparable sweetness to sugar, was invented in 1957: our current-day ideas of sweetness are anachronistic in the context of this ad.

  6. I am smiling at the perfectly stacked fruit in the Jars. My mother canned fruit that looked that good and had wonderful taste and texture. The way she stacked it was a point of pride. I have never seen anything canned with Karo.

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