At the farmer’s market this weekend, we shopped at the bulk section. One of the sales people let us taste some pink navel oranges they just trucked in from Florida. They are very sweet, and a little milder than regular oranges. Delicious. The man was selling big boxes – – about 40 pounds – – for $20. A good deal, but seeing that I just also bought 4 pounds of broccoli for a buck, 75 red bell peppers (got those for only $20), and a half box of lemons for $12, and a box of tomatoes for $7, I could not possibly process 40 pounds of oranges before they went bad. Another person eying the oranges offered to split the box with us, so that’s what we did. Twenty pounds of oranges is a lot of fruit, especially considering the six pounds of strawberries I forgot to mention above. I did make some orange bites with them, but frankly my dehydrator is so busy making sun dried tomatoes I needed another solution other than drying. Orange juice maybe? That’s a lot of squeezing. (Note to self – put electric juicer on birthday present list.) Then it hit me – – just section the oranges and can them.
The easiest way to prepare the oranges is to cut all the rind off of the outside, and then cut through the white vein in the middle. It’s actually really easy, and doesn’t make too much of a mess if you do it right. The cans of oranges turned out beautifully. I’m so proud! I can’t believe I didn’t try this before. Canning citrus is a great project for the beginner, because citrus is high-acid and isn’t fussy to can. I did have something happen to me that had never happened before – – one of my lids buckled. I looked it up, and apparently I tightened the jar too much. That can will for sure be going in the fridge, but the other four quarts of oranges will go in my pantry.
The process for canning oranges is very easy. Bring your canning pot and jars to a boil. Do not add the lids or rings yet. You must use new lids each time unless you have the special re-usable kind. The rings just have to be in good shape. I chose to use the lightest fruit syrup, which is 1/3 cup of sugar for each quart. For five quarts of oranges, bring to a boil 2 quarts of water with 2/3 cup of sugar.
After your jars have come to a boil, remove from pot. Fill jars with fruit to 1/2 inch from the top. Then, ladle hot syrup into jars over fruit. Using a wide-mouth canning funnel is very helpful. This step is very important – – run some kind of kitchen tool down the sides of the jar to make sure all of the air has been removed. Put lids and rims into hot water, which should not be at a boiling point, otherwise, it might ruin the lids. Wipe down the rims of the jars, remove lids and rings from the water after letting them sit in the water for five minutes. Place lids and rims on the jars and seal tightly, but not too tightly, otherwise your lids may buckle, as one of mine did.
Place sealed jars back in water bath and bring to a boil. When the pot starts the boil, set your timer for 10 minutes, then your jars are ready to be removed after those 10 minutes. Do not disturb the jars until cooled and they seal. You will here a “POP!” Very fun.