Canned peaches got their start along with other types of canned food: During the Napoleonic Wars, the French government was looking for a way to feed their troops and offered a prize to whoever could come up with a new method of preserving food. The winning idea? Canning. By World War I, canned goods had become a staple of military rations in both the United States and Europe. Soldiers reported that most canned rations didn’t compare to the fresh version, but canned peaches were a notable exception. Peaches adapted so well to canning that they could be found on grocery store shelves and were part of civilian diets. This meant that for soldiers, canned peaches were a welcome taste of home. In fact, canned peaches quickly became a prized part of military rations. During the Vietnam War, canned peaches were one element of the D (dessert) unit of combat rations and were frequently combined with pound cake. In fact, many soldiers have fond memories of the unusually fresh and familiar taste of canned peaches that brought them some comfort and enjoyment in harsh conditions. While canned peaches are linked to memories of military service for many, they have also remained popular among civilians and continue to be sold on grocery store shelves today.