Home canning without sugar
Canning without sugar is a good option if you want to cut calories or if you are on a special diet. Sugar is not needed to prevent spoilage.
All fruits can be safely canned or frozen without sugar. Some low- and no-sugar foods can be canned at home with very good results. But be aware that some home canned foods lose color, flavor and texture when canned without the usual sugar and so you may end up with a different canned product than you had hoped for.
Sugar is not needed to prevent spoilage. With that in mind, you may want to do some experimenting to find what you really like when it comes to canning with no sugar. Only experiment with the amount of sugar added, or not added – nothing else. Process the fruit just as you would if you used a sugar syrup and use the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended procedures and timetables.
The sugar in jams and jellies helps in the formation of the gel and serves as a preservative in addition to adding to the flavor. To make sugarless jams and jellies, always use a commercial sugarless gelatin mixture or special pectin designed for sugar-free or lower-sugar jams and jellies. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Jams and jellies when canned without sugar will have a softer texture and will not be as crystal clear as jams or jellies made with sugar.
When canning fruits without sugar it is essential that you select fully ripe yet firm fruits of the best quality. When you prepare fruits without sugar, use water or unsweetened fruit juice instead of sugar syrup. Remember that the fruit and the fruit juices have natural sugars in them. Don’t think that just because fruits are canned without sugar they are calorie free.
If you have solid fruit pieces consider using blends of unsweetened apple, pineapple and white grape juice. These juices will help to break down the solid fruits and soften them.
Splenda and sugar substitutes similar to it that allow you to measure cup for cup are the only sugar substitutes that you can use in place of sugar for the syrup used to cover the fruit in the jars. You will want to experiment to determine your preferred level of sweetness.
You may want to stay away from using saccharin- and aspartame-based sweeteners when canning. Saccharin-based sweeteners turn bitter when processed. Aspartame-based sweeteners lose their sweetening power during processing. If you can your fruits in water, you can add these kinds of sugar substitutes when you serve them.
The sugar added to fruits when canning not only adds flavor but helps the fruit to hold its texture, shape and color. Sugar is not needed to prevent spoilage and that is why water or fruit juice can be substituted for sugarless home-canning. If you are on a special diet or are just watching your calories you may want to try canning without sugar; it is a good option.