What Foods Can Be Canned in a Water Bath?

Most people understand that not all foods can be processed using the water bath method, but many don’t know exactly which foods can be preserved this way.

While water bath canning can only be used to preserve highly acidic or acidulated foods, its abilities extend far beyond simple jams and jellies.


Conserves usually include two or more fruits and frequently contain raisins and/or nuts. Examples include peach-pineapple-orange conserves or fig conserves with walnuts.

Fruit Butters

Fruit butters normally contain less sugar than other preserves and often include the addition of herbs and spices for added flavor.


Jam is made from crushed or chopped fruits and sugar that are cooked to a smooth consistency. Some jams have enough natural pectin, but others require the addition of acid or pectin.


Marmalades are typically made with citrus fruits and usually contain soft, thin pieces of fruit or citrus peel evenly suspended in a transparent jelly. It’s most often eaten with breakfast breads like toast, biscuits, or scones.


Similar to jams, preserves are made with large or whole pieces of fruit and are cooked in such a way that the fruit retains its texture and shape.

Fresh Fruits

Some fruits need to be treated to prevent darkening. This can be done with a solution of one gallon of water mixed with two tablespoons each of salt and vinegar, or a commercial ascorbic acid.