Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600502
It is not necessary to add sugar to fruit when canning to keep the food from spoiling. The sugar does, however, help retain texture, flavor and color.
Fruit juices may be used instead of water if desired. Crush the fruit, simmer it over low heat and strain it through a jelly bag.
Sorghum, molasses or maple syrup are too strong to be used for fruit syrup.
Fruit not packed in sugar can be packed in its own juice, in extracted juice, in juice from another fruit or in water. Processing times are the same for unsweetened and sweetened fruit.
To pack fruit in its own juice, follow these steps: Prepare fruit for canning. Add a little water and cook the fruit to extract the juice. Pack hot fruit into hot jars. Add boiling water to cover if needed. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath for the appropriate time.
Canning with artificial sweeteners is not advised. It is best to add these just before serving the fruit. Saccharin may become bitter when heated. Aspartame-based sweeteners lose their sweetening power during processing.