This month's notes: December 2023: Strawberries have a very brief season; and the start in early April in the South, don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!!!
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Have you got your own citrus trees or access in inexpensive oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, tangelos, clementines, lemons, limes or other citrus? Making and canning your own citrus easy. Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. If your looking for an orange marmalade recipe or other jam recipe and directions, click here! We also have directions to make applesauce, apple butter, pickles and others!
This example shows you how to make homemade canned citrus. The yield from this recipe is about 18 eight-ounce jars (which is the same as 9 pints).
If you are lucky enough to live in Florida, southern California or the deep south of Texas, you can go pick your own Oranges in January and February! Otherwise, you will have to go to the grocery store for the oranges and lemons.
Pick fresh citrus that are not soft, moldy or discolored.
flavor of sweet citrus (such as oranges and clementines) is best if the sections
are canned with equal parts of grapefruit. Grapefruit may be canned without
oranges. Sections may be packed in your choice of water, citrus
juice or syrup. We will see how to do any below!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in plain cold water, no soap.
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle; you don't really have to sanitize the jars - the boiling water bath sanitizes everything, jar, lid, contents and all; but you DO want to get the jars as clean as you can first, it it can reduce the process time ithe water bath which improves quality. I get the dishwasher going while I'm preparing everything else, so the jars are clean and hot (and less likely to crack when you put boiling hot fruit in them) by the time I'm ready to fill the jars.
Lids: Put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet!
Using your fingers, peel the skins and remove any remaining white portion of the rind, discard this - it is a tasteless and spongy.
Pull the segments apart by hand or cut in half, across the segments, as shown; whichever you prefer. You may want to also remove any seeds, as well. Beats spitting them out later (yes, I know some people just swallow the seeds, but do you really want to risk having a citrus tree growing out of your, um, ears? :)
More seriously, your should cut out and discard the tough, white part in the center - it's tough, bitter and tasteless! Basically, anything that is white, is bitter, and can be removed.
In the photo above, there are 4 types of oranges, from top left, clockwise, pink oranges, navel oranges, honey oranges and blood oranges.
The easiest way to remove most of it is to just pull it off with your fingers. The tough part in the center of the fruit by the seeds usually must be cut out with a pair of scissors.
Save any juice that leaks out! You can use it in the syrup solutions you will make in the next step!
Obviously, there needs to be some type of liquid around the fruit in the jars. It is up to you whether you want to use a light or heave sugar solution, plain water , or an artificial sweetener solution. If you want a sugar solution, a very light, light, or medium syrup work best.
Adding syrup to canned fruit helps to retain its flavor, color and shape. It
is not a preservative; it does not prevent spoilage of
the fruit. That is accomplished by a combination of the water bath processing to create a sterile environment, the jar sealing mechanism (lid and ring) to keep it sealed, and the natural acidity of the fruit to prevent anything from growing.
The following guidelines for preparing and using syrups offer a choice for a "very light" syrup, which approximates the natural sugar content of many fruits. The quantities of water and sugar to make enough syrup for a canner load of pints or quarts are provided for each type of syrup.
|Type of Syrup and typical uses||Approximate
|For a 9 Pint batch*||For a 7 Quart Batch|
|water - no added calories||0%||7 cups||0 cups||11 cups||0 cups|
|very light - generally preferred for any sweet fruit, tastes the most like fresh, natural fruit juice.||10%||6 and 1/2 cups||3/4 cups||10 and 1/2 cups||1 and 1/4 cups|
|light - also good for most very sweet fruit.||20%||5 and 3/4 cups||1 and 1/2 cups||9 cups||2 and 1/4 cups|
|medium - good for sweet apples, sweet cherries, most berries and grapes||30%||5 and 1/4 cups||2 and 1/4||8 and 1/4 cups||3 and 3/4 cups|
|heavy - tart apples, apricots, sour cherries, gooseberries, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums||40%||5 cups||3 and 1/4 cups||7 and 3/4 cups||5 and 1/4 cups|
|very heavy - very sour fruit, like very sour cherries, currants, etc.||50%||4 and 1/4 cups||4 and 1/4 cups||6 and 1/2 cups||6 and 3/4 cups|
|artificial sweetener - diabetics prefer this or the plain water solution!||0%||7 cups||0 cups sugar- use Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer,
or Nutrasweet to taste - about 30 packs
|11 cups||0 cups sugar- use Stevia (in a prepared form like Truvia, it measures same as sugar; if you use another form, you will need do your own conversion) - or Splenda, if you prefer,
or Nutrasweet to taste - about 40 packs
|fruit juice - of course, you can simply use a fruit juice. Orange juice obviously works well for any citrus, but you can always use the same juice as the fruit you are packing (if no oranges)||10% (natural sugars)||7 cups of fruit juice, no added water||0 cups||11 cups of fruit juice, no added water||0 cups|
Heat the water and sugar together (or fruit juice, or plain water, as you chose!). Bring it to a boil and pour over raw fruits in jars.
At left is a sugar solution being prepared. FYI, I prefer using orange juice instead; but you still have to heat it to boiling.
While you are waiting for the syrup solution to come to a boil, fill the cleaned jars with fruit. Fill the jars, snuggly BUT do not pack them down, and be sure the top 1/2 inch of the jar is empty and clear. Slide a butter knife inside each jar along the glass to help free any trapped air bubbles and air pockets.
Fill them with the hot syrup solution to within 1/2 to 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spills off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put the filled jars into the canner!
This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 10 minutes (if you are at sea level, up to 1,000 ft in altitude, above that see the chart below).
Recommended processing time for Citrus (Oranges, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Tangelos, Lemons, Limes, Clementines, etc.) sections in pint or quart jars in a boiling-water canner
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|0 to 1,000 ft||1,001 to 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|10 minutes||15 minutes||20 minutes|
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last about 9 months. After that, the get darker in color and they lose some firmness. They are safe to eat, but the flavor is bland. So eat them in the first 6 to 9 months after you prepare them!
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, Jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a Pressure Canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Canning & Preserving for Dummies
The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes Paperback
This is THE book on canning! My grandmother used this book when I was a child. It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc. If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Canned Citrus - makes 10 jars of 8 oz each*
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2023||Source||Subtotal|
|Oranges||8 medium or large sized||$2.00||Grocery store||$2.00|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||10 jars||$11/dozen 8 oz jars
|Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$5.50|
|Sugar||4 cups||$2.00||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$2.00|
or about $1.32 per jar
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles,, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. Note that the Classico's manufacturer does not recommend reuse of their jars: see what they have to say on this page:
|If you want to learn how NOT to make marmalade, read this entertaining account from this English woman who is either incredibly cheap or a slow learner.. but either way, it's a funny story!|
|And if our recipe is too EASY for you and you would like a much more complicated approach that will take about 4 hours to complete, try Delia Smith's (a cook famous in the UK) orange marmalade recipe!|
Don't forget about us
in the Spring for pick your own strawberries, vegetables oand other
fruit! See our companion websites,
www.pickyourownchristmastree.org for choose and cut Christmas tree
PumpkinPatchesAndMore.org to find a corn
maze, hay ride and more in October!
Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!
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