How to Can Peaches Without Sugar

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How to Can Peaches Without Sugar

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Canned peaches are simply delicious, there’s no doubt about that.  They are also a great source of vitamins and nutrients that can be an important addition to your food stockpile.  However, a lot of canning recipes involve the use of sugar and heavy syrup, and this can almost cancel out the health benefits the peaches can provide.  Let’s take a look at a recipe that doesn’t involve the use of sugar but still produces a delicious product that can be kept in long-term storage.

Ingredients:

About a pound of peaches for every quart jar you process

Ice

Lemon Juice (fresh or store-bought)- Optional

Honey (Optional)

Water

Canning equipment

Getting Started

The first step is to choose fresh, healthy peaches that don’t have a lot of defects.  You want to process the peaches when they are at their peak of ripeness in order to maximize their flavor as well as nutritional content.  A good rule of thumb is to wait until the peaches are just soft enough that you can press your thumb into the side and you feel a little bit of resistance but a dimple remains after you release pressure.  This may take a little bit of guess-timating, but you’ll quickly get an idea of what to look for.

Preparing the Peaches

The next step is to fill one stockpot with water and bring it to a rolling boil.  Fill another pot, container, or your sink with ice and add water.  Take the peaches, give them a quick rinse, and then carefully drop them into the boiling water.  Let them cook for 30 seconds before immediately removing the peaches and placing them in the ice water bath.  Let each peach soak for about a minute to stop the cooking process. 

This process will help to loosen the skin and make the peaches much easier to peel, which is also the next step.  You should be able to lift the skin right off the peaches and easily pick away at any remnants.  Discard the peelings and place the peaches on a cutting board.  Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits.  Next, cut the halves into quarters or eighths and place them into your clean and sterilized mason jars.  Fill to the top until about ½  inch of headspace remains, and then add a teaspoon of lemon juice to each jar.

You also want to place your lids and bands into a pot of water and heat it to a simmer.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

The next step is to place seven cups of warm water into a large bowl or stockpot.  Add 1/3 cup of fresh, organic bee honey and allow it to melt into the water.  Stir gently until the honey and water are thoroughly mixed.  Carefully pour the mixture over the peaches in each jar until ½ inch of headspace remains.  Give the jars a good side-to-side shake to help the peaches settle, and this will also help to remove any pockets of air that may be trapped inside.

Processing the Peaches

Wipe down the rims of each jar and attach and tighten the lid assemblies.  Place the jars into your water bath canner and start the processing time once the water begins to boil vigorously.  You want to ensure that there is enough water inside of the canner to cover the jars by at least an inch.  Cover the canner and start the timer.  Process the peaches for 15-20 minutes, adjusting for altitude before removing and placing the jars on the counter.  Allow them to cool to room temperature before checking the vacuum seal on each one.  Do not re-process the peaches in defective jars, but place them in the refrigerator or eat them right away instead.

Label and date the sealed jars and store them in a cool and dark place until you are ready to eat them.  You can keep canned peaches for more than a year under ideal conditions, but try to eat them before then to enjoy maximum freshness and flavor.  Try this recipe out for yourself, and see how the honey can act as a delicious and nutritious substitute for sugar and syrup.