After talking with several of my patients, students and colleagues, I realized there is a lot of misconception about canning fruit. You can make your own sugar-free canning at home and it is quite easy.
Contrary to most peoples opinion, the sugar, or sweetener solution is not what preserves the fruits, so you have a number of options, from a heavy sugar solution, a fruit juice solution or an artificial sweetener solution or even plain water. I prefer a fruit juice solution. Fruits like peaches, nectarines, cherries, figs, etc. can be packed in dilute fruit juice solution as well as very light (1.25 cups sugar to 11 cups water), light (2.25 cups sugar to 9 cups water), or medium (4 cups sugar to 8 cups water) sugar syrup.
They can also be packed in water, artificial sweetener and water, apple juice, white grape juice or the juice of the fruit used. For cherries I use a 1/3 black cherry juice and 2/3 water solution. For peaches and pears I use the same ratio of either pear juice or white grape juice, which ever is available in an organic form.
The sugar can help hold the shape and color, but adding about 4 grams of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to 12 cups of juice solution works great for 6-1L jars of fruit. The vitamin C is even better for holding the color and is a natural preservative.
I first sort and clean the fruit. I like to leave the peals on the peaches and pears and I don’t pit the cherries (but I do take out their stems). I sterilize the bottle and lids in very hot water. Place the fruit in the jar tightly and firmly, add the juice mixture hot, making sure to get air bubble out of the juice. Put the lid on and boil in a hot water bath (with a bit of vinegar), covering the jars by 2 inches for 25 min. Take out of the hot water bath and gently place the jars on the counter already covered with a towel to catch excess fluids and to prevent the hot bottles from cooling too fast. You know they are preserved right if the lid bends in a bit and doesn’t move after 30 min or more of cooling.
Then it is just a matter of waiting to enjoy them on those all to common frosty days of winter.