Friday, July 6, 2012

Sugar-Free Home Canned Peaches

 I am repeating this post from last year with one or two updates. 

If you have peach trees, or can source some local peaches, in much of the country they are ripe now and it's time to preserve them!  You can, of course, freeze them, but then what happens when the power goes out?  I like to can my extras, after eating all we can manage.

I can my peaches without using any sugar or anything else for that matter, and they are delicious!  I am going to show you how it is done...

First, get some peaches and let them get ripe:



Here is how to check for ripeness. Press your thumb into the flesh of the peach near the stem. If it is getting soft, it is getting ripe. Eat one to be sure it is as ripe as you want it to be. If it is not ripe enough, the skin will be difficult to take off:



Carefully wash and rinse your jars. I used pint jars this time, but you can also use quarts, if you like:



Put the "caps" in a small pan of water on the stove and bring to just below simmer. Let them sit there, keeping hot, while you get ready to use them:



Bring a large saucepan filled 3/4 with water to a boil:



Fill the sink with cold water:



You will need a sharp little paring knife:



Get the "rings" ready:



This is what I use to lift the caps from the hot water. It has a magnet on the end. But before I had this, I always fished them out with the tine of a fork:



You will need a large slotted spoon:



Carefully put some peaches into the boiling water and leave the heat on high for about 20 seconds:



Take them out with the slotted spoon:



And put them in the cold water:



Using your paring knife to help, slip the skins off the peaches. This is not a very good picture of the process, but you will see how easy and quick it is.  If the skins don't slip off easily, either the peaches are not yet ripe enough, or you did not leave them in the boiling water long enough.



Next, cut the peach in half, twist the two halves apart and remove the pit:



Place the peeled peaches, in halves or pieces (depending on the size and fit) into the jars, cut side down:



I like to use wide-mouth jars, but if I don't have enough, I use regular mason jars and use this red thing to push them down. I think it came along with my Victorio Strainer. If you have wide-mouth jars, you can easily push the peaches down with your hand. The idea is to push them gently until the juice comes up and fills in all of the empty space in the jar. I was able to fit about 3.5 peaches in each jar.  That will, of course, depend on the size of your peaches!



Here is a full jar. When it is filled up to the bottom of the jar threads (1 inch from the rim), carefully wipe off the rim of the jar with a damp clean cloth, put on the cap and screw on the ring firmly. Not too tight!



Here is one full and closed, ready to process:



Here are 10 pint jars in my steam canner. You can use a water bath canner, of course.



When the water is boiling in the water bath canner, then start counting the time. They need 25 minutes for pints and 30 minutes for quarts. Here they are after coming out of the canner.



Incidentally, leaving the sugar syrup out has advantages. It's less expensive to do, healthier of course, and they really do taste marvelous! They kind of remind me more of canned apricots after being canned like this in their own juice. You will love them! It is also much easier and quicker to do.

I have found that when canning anything, once you get your "system" set up, it's easy. Think it through carefully, prepare everything you'll need and proceed. Enjoy!

23 comments:

  1. I love peaches. Remember how I used to help you can tons of them every summer? I had a special outfit just for it because peach juice stains so badly. Those were the days!

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    1. I certainly DO remember that! And you were riding in the baby backpack on my back the first year I did it! (You had chicken pox, and I didn't realize till I finally sat down with you.)

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  2. Oh, these look soooo good! They remind me of my grandmother's cupboard with all her canned fruits. I would love to have a go at it but am a little scared! I should just bite the bullet and have a go...

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    1. It can be scary the first time, but you will soon find out how amazingly easy it is! Good luck!

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  3. Interesting. I always use a sugar syrup, but I would rather not. However, when you mash down on the peaches, don't they get mushy? I can my tomatoes this way.

    Also, are you starting everything in your canner cold? I haven't heard of that method. I usually fill hot jars and put them in a hot canner. But I'm always open to hearing new methods!

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  4. Margo, if the peaches are nicely ripe, you don't have to push very much to get them to fit down together. Sometimes they rip a little bit, but the product is still very nice. Use wide-mouth jars to make it easier.

    And yes, I do start with everything cold with this method. Good luck!

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  5. Thank you!! Hubs needs sugar free, and this is SO easy!!! Perfect, thanks for reposting:).

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  6. I tried this technique today, but I could hardly get any juice without smashing the peaches. I ended up adding water to my jars instead. Have you experienced that? Is it necessary for the juice to cover the peaches?

    Also, I noticed that you didn't mention anything about treating your peaches for darkening (i.e. ascorbic acid). Did you omit that step, or have you found it unnecessary?

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    1. I would think that the amount of juice would be connected to the variety or ripeness of the peaches. I would say that when I do this, the juice does not completely cover the peaches before processing, but I get the jars as full as reasonably possible. Adding the water will not hurt the peaches, but may dilute the taste. No, I do not treat the peaches before canning. Please let me know how they turn out!

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  7. Thank you for sharing. I decided to Google canning peaches without sugar when the link I was using from a Facebook post didn't work. I read your original and this one.

    I have tried canning peaches without sugar. Cooking them down like applesauce. This works well when you want to add fruit to your plain Greek yogurt or other plain yogurt or to ice cream. It works well in smoothies too.

    I love *fresh* peaches and do not consider those store bought canned peaches are fresh. I have been freezing my peaches for a few years now. It's been working well..... I have already frozen a good size batch. I have another batch about ready to go so I will can this batch!! Yeah!

    Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!

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    Replies
    1. You are so very welcome! I'm glad it was helpful. :D

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    2. Do you need to use any fruit fresh to maintain color?

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    3. No. It is important to stuff the jars AS you peel the peaches. If you do that, and fill them well, there is no darkening. Of course, leave headspace.

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  8. Thank you for this post. I just picked up a bushel of local peaches and don't want to add any sugar. If there isn't enough peach juice, should I add water to make sure they are covered?

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    1. Brandee, if your peaches are ripe enough, there WILL be enough juice. Don't add water. It will ruin the flavor. Good luck! :D

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  9. Do you need to peel the peaches?

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    1. If you don't you'll have cooked peach skins in your jars, which aren't very nice, but if that doesn't bother you, there is no need to peel!

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  10. Will boil water bath for 25 minutes work the same as in the steam canner? Also, how long will the color stay fresh?

    Thank you for posting this as I put up 4 pints using boil water bath for 25 minutes and hoping they are not mushy in a few weeks. Have a bushel to go, but want to make sure about the timing and process before proceeding.

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    1. Yes, the water bath and steam canners both work the same. The color will stay nice for at least 2 years. I've had some that long. They will not get mushy. Of course, they are like cooked peaches! But still very delicious. If you do pints, it is 25 minutes after the water comes to a full rolling boil. If you have quart jars, it will take 30 minutes. Good luck!

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  11. Isn't the sugar a preservative for safe canning? Also, you don't have extra canning time adjustments for different altitudes. Do you know what they'd be?

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    1. The sugar does not add to the SAFETY, only for quality. But I've had some of these for 2 years and they are still good. No, I don't have any adjustments for altitude. My numbers are good up to 1000 feet. You would need to look for a good canning guide, the the Ball Blue Book for those adjustments.

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