What To Consider Before Baking With Canned Fruit

Peaches and pears and apricots, oh my! This is just the start of the list of fruits you can get from a can. Not only does canned fruit have a longer shelf life, it's also sweeter due to the syrup it's been soaking in. It doesn't require as much cutting and allows you to get your fix of your favorite fruit, even during its off-season. In fact, according to Livestrong, this option can be much more cost-efficient compared to fresh ones. Plus, with its extended expiration date, canned fruit is a great pantry staple to have on hand for a last-minute breakfast or dessert — though it may be a bad choice for smoothies.

When it comes to fruity desserts, recipes like ambrosia salad, cherry cheesecake, berry or peach crisp, and upside-down cakes often incorporate canned fruits because their syrups bring extra sugary goodness. However, there are some implications to look out for when making certain treats with this type of product.

Canned fruit is softer

According to Wilton, canned fruit is delicate to work with when baking — depending on how long the cook time is and what type of consistency you want. This kind of fruit is already soft due to its prolonged maceration in syrup or juice, so exposing it to too much heat can result in a mushy mess. And be sure to work gently when incorporating it into a recipe to prevent any unnecessary mashing (via Medina Baking).

Fresh fruit gives more structural integrity and bite to your dessert, if that's what you're looking for. However, if you want to use the canned variety, the best option is fruit soaked in its own natural juices rather than sugary syrups — this prevents excess sweetness, per Little Indiana Bakes. But the type of treat you're making might require completely draining out the syrup or juice from the can. For dishes like quick breads, cakes, and muffins, this is often the case unless stated otherwise. On the other hand, canned fruit fillings for pies, such as cherry, apple, or berry, don't need to be drained (via Wilton).

When using just a portion of the canned fruit and saving the rest for later, the USDA recommends storing it in the fridge — preferably inside a plastic or glass container — for up to five to seven days. After that, it's time to toss, as it's no longer safe to eat.