Preserving Peaches (Without Sugar)


I am a firm believer in eating organically, locally and in season. To me, preserving the summer bounty extends the season and the fruits of the farmer’s labor.

This is only my second year canning. I’ve dabbled through the years in jams and applesauce but have really gotten into it these last two years. While canning can seem rather intimidating at first, really it’s time consuming but very easy.

Some tips before we get started: I don’t like using sugar when I can do without it. Peaches can be canned with honey or a juice, such as grape. I prefer to peel my peaches with a vegetable peeler. I tried freezing my first batch and basically ruined 25 pounds of peaches. They turned to mush when I tried to peel them. I still canned them but they are not pretty! I realize this is probably “user error” because Modern Alternative Mama froze hers and they came out beautifully. Peaches can also be blanched to get the peels off but I didn’t have time for that either. Buy a canning kit like this one locally or on Amazon to make your life easier. You can use a water bath canner or pressure canner but I just use a large stock pot.

I get beautiful no-spray peaches from my local farmer at $25 for a 25 lb box. This is a great price for pesticide-free peaches! Search out your local markets for organic or no-spray peaches or use Local Harvest to locate a farm near you. Peaches are on the Dirty Dozen list so you definitely do not want conventionally grown.

Okay. Enough chit chat. Time to can.

What you’ll need:


Freshly squeezed lemon juice (Figure on 1 teaspoon per jar)



Large measuring cup or bowl

Paring knife, cutting board, vegetable peeler

Ball jars, lids, and rings

Canning tools, tongs, magnet, etc. (Optional)

Start out with ripe, just soft to the touch peaches. You don’t want them to be too hard or too soft. There’s a happy medium to perfect canning peaches that you really have to use your instincts for. Sterilize your jars. I use my dishwasher on the Sani Cycle. Simmer water on the stove and sterilize lids and rings.

Peel the peaches with whichever method you are most comfortable with. Cut them in half and remove the pits.

Slice peaches into about 1/4 inches thick slices. As you can see in the picture below, it’s a messy process. I had some peaches go bad so I did not use them. You can see in the picture that they are overly ripe and have too many bruises to can.

Ahem! Moving on from the mess…Continue to fill jars up to right underneath the threads – an inch below the tops of the jars.

When all the jars are full add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to each jar to preserve color. Mix a scant 1/2 cup of honey to 8 cups of filtered water and stir to dissolve. Fill each jar to cover peaches leaving 1 inch of head room. Alternatively, you can use white grape juice diluted about 50/50 with water. I had some organic mango nectar that I added to 4 of my jars per my husband’s request.

Place lids and rings on to jars. The are easy to remove from the simmering water if you use the magnet that comes in the canning kit. Don’t put the rings on too tightly. Place them into your canner or large stock pot and make sure the water level is 1 inch above the tops of the jars, put the lid on and turn the heat to high. I find it safer to bring the water to a boil once the jars are in. Less chance of getting burned that way.

Once the water boils, set the timer for 20 minutes and let the jars process. You may need to turn the heat down slightly if the water starts to sputter out the top. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let the water settle before removing the jars.

Remove the jars carefully from the pot and allow to cool. Do not let the jars touch each other and don’t mess with them while they cool. If they processed properly, they will pop on their own. The peaches will have “floated” to the top of the jars and the seal will be tight if they processed right. I had a couple of jars that didn’t process correctly so I put the in my refrigerator to be eaten soon.


Voila! Canned peaches with no sugar!


Questions? Comments? What are you canning this year? Do you have any tips to share?

This post is part of Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Days, Teach Me Tuesday, I Did It Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Once Upon a Weekend, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Traditional TuesdaysTuesday Garden Party, Thrifty Thursday, Tuesday Confessional, Little House in the Suburbs, Fat Tuesday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Small Footprint Fridays, Teach Me Tuesdays, A Titus Tuesday.

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    • says

      Hi Lyza! Thank you for taking the time to comment and ask questions! Yes, the honey completely dissolves in the water. I give it a stir or two before pouring it into the jars. I’ve never tried it with Stevia but you could experiment with one jar to see how it would taste. I would use a very small amount. You can preserve the peaches with just water and the lemon juice too. No sweetener necessary.

  1. says

    I love this post! It is so hard to find peaches at the store without sugar or chemicals. This is a great tutorial for making your own. I usually you juice, but I love the idea of using honey. When I can pears, I first make pear juice to use to sweeten the canned pears. Honey would be so much easier and I have a great source of local, raw honey. I will be sharing this on my highlights on H&S Hop tonight.

  2. Jennie Strong says

    Hi Sarah! Your Aunt Sandy sent me a link to your website, and I am totally diggin’ it! I am wondering if you’ve tried using up your peach skins by making peach honey? We (I think my husband likes to can as much as I do) made some last year as a way to use up all of the leftover skins, and it is simply divine! I even read a blog that recommended putting the pits in when you boil down the skins to to help the color. And of course, use honey as the sweetener! There are several blogs that give directions, but the most thorough (although not as aesthetically pleasing) is Enjoy!


    • says

      Hi Jennie! Thanks for finding me! Please tell Aunt Sandy I said hello! (: I saved my peach skins and froze them to make honey but I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll definitely post when I do. Thanks for the link!

    • says

      I agree! Blanching is SUPER fast if you let them blanch long enough. If the peaches don’t just slip right out of their skin with light pressure of your thumbs, leave them in the boiling water just a bit longer. Scoop them out with a ladle and plop them in your sink of cold water. The longest step is getting your blanching water to a boil. Easy peasy!

  3. Lonia says

    I have been using diluted organic apple juice for 20+ yrs. in peach and pear canning. Won 2nd place at our county fair. I buy organic apple juice concentrate, put in my largest kettle, fill to top with water and they have turned out just fine.

    • says

      Hi Angie, the USDA says properly canned food is good for 1-2 years. I don’t have any experience with anything over 2 years because that’s how long I’ve been canning. Plus, my peaches are always eaten by the next canning season! Some of the survivalist websites say they’re fine up to 5 years and then start to lose nutritional value. Hope that helps!

  4. Molly says

    I have canned peaches as well as pears for years and appreciate the recipe for no sugar!! A tip – when jars are “completely” cool remove the screw lids, give the jar and screw lids a wipe with warm wet cloth…dry and replace lids.. You will never have “stuck” screw-on lids!

  5. Paws says

    This is just what I was looking for! A few questions to clarify:

    Does your honey water need to be hot?
    Do you put anything in the bottom of your stock pot, like a rack?
    Do the peaches end up firm or soft? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi! Thank you for your questions! No, the honey water does not need to be hot. Room temp is fine so the honey dissolves. I don’t put a rack in the bottom of my pot. You can if you have one though. The peaches should end up soft but not mushy. The canning process cooks them so they are not as firm as a raw peach. Also, the softer the peaches are to begin with, the softer they will be when canned. Hope that helps!

  6. Amy says

    You can peel peaches like tomatoes. Place them in boiling water for 30 sec then plunge in an ice bath. The peals come right off with minimal effort. Saves time and fruit.

  7. Gina Green says

    Do you have to peel the skins?I love the skins on fresh peaches…and we are told the skins are healthy, right?

  8. Fawn crossland says

    Very excited about “no sugar” peach canning recipe. Question….we’re the jars in your picture quart jars?

  9. serena says

    I used this recipe and my peaches turned out AMAZING. I will use this recipe every year I have peaches. They taste delicious, not over sweet. Just taste like peaches. I am going to try this recipe for my pears this weekend. Might up the honey thiugh, as my pears aren’t as sweet.


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