Citrus - Preserving the Harvest

Buying Fresh Citrus:
Look for fruit that are firm and heavy for their size, with bright, colorful skins. Avoid fruit with bruised, wrinkled or discolored skins; this indicates the fruit is old or has been stored incorrectly. Citrus fruit peel may vary in thickness, depending on weather conditions during the growing season.

Western climates make for bright colored oranges. However, don't worry if you see a Valencia with slightly green-colored skin. "Regreening" is a natural process that can occur in warm weather, even though the fruit is deliciously ripe!

Most citrus will keep at room temperature for several days. For best results, store citrus in a plastic bag or the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

More info on oranges.
More info on lemons.
More info on grapefruit.

Peeling and Handling Citrus

There's more than one way to peel an orange! Here are a few of our favorite techniques for getting the best from every piece of fresh citrus. For best results, be sure to use a sharp knife.

The "Basketball" Peeling Method
Slice off the stem end of the fruit. Without cutting into the "meat" of the fruit, score the peel with a knife or the Sunkist Citrus Peeler™ into quarters like a basketball. Pull the peel away with your fingers.

The "Round and Round" Peeling Method
Using a slightly sawing motion, cut only the outer colored peel away in a continuous spiral, leaving the white membrane. Cutting lengthwise with curve of fruit, remove the white membrane.

Citrus Segments
Peel an orange, grapefruit, or tangerine by hand, or with the Sunkist Citrus Peeler™. Gently separate the fruit along the natural divisions.

Citrus Sections
With knife, peel an orange or grapefruit. Working over a bowl to reserve the juice, cut along both sides of each dividing membrane and lift out sections from center.

Bite-sized pieces
Cut a peeled orange or grapefruit in half lengthwise and, with a shallow "V" shape cut, remove the white center core. Place the halves cut-side-down; cut lengthwise and crosswise.

Basic Wheel Slices
Cut a thin slice from both ends of peeled or unpeeled fruit. Then slice the fruit crosswise into the desired thickness. Cut cartwheels in half for half-cartwheel slices.

Unpeeled Smiles or Wedges
For easy-to-eat orange "smiles," cut the fruit in half crosswise; then cut 3 or 4 wedges from each half. For traditional wedges, cut the fruit in half lengthwise; then cut each half into wedges.

Grated Peel
Wash and dry the fruit. Using a citrus peel grater, with quick downward strokes, remove the outer colored layer of peel, also called the zest. If using a cheese grater, be sure to use light pressure and avoid the white pith.

Grate the zest over wax paper then put the desired amount into a measuring spoon; do not pack. Grated citrus zest freezes well. Seal some in a plastic bag and pop it into the freezer for next time!

Freezing Citrus
Take advantage of times when your favorite citrus fruits are plentiful by preparing and freezing some for later.

The fresh-squeezed juice and grated peel or zest may be refrigerated or frozen. Grated peel can be frozen and used as needed to provide zest to recipes. Whole citrus fruit should not be frozen, but for a dramatic and healthy dessert, freeze hollowed out citrus rinds filled with orange, lemon or grapefruit sorbet.

Canning Citrus

Citrus Juices--Good for lemons, oranges, & Grapefruits
Peel the fruit and reserve the peels on the side. Juice and strain the citrus--Either use a citrus juicer or bring the fruit to a boil, then cool and crush the juice out with a potato masher. Use cheese cloth to strain out the pulp and seeds. For especially clear juice, refrigerate for 24-48 hours and carefully pour the clarified juice off into a non-reactive pot. Bring the juice to a boil and then pour it into sterilized canning jars with 1/2 inch of headspace. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 5 minutes for pints or quarts, 10 minutes for 1/2 gallons.

Lemon Curd-May also be made using oranges.
Lemon curd is a traditional British dessert topping. It is made from lemon or lime juice, egg white, egg yolk, butter, and sugar. It is similar to lemon custard, but traditionalists feel that curd has more lemon flavor than lemon custard. Made fresh it has a refrigerator shelf life of approx. 1 week. Canned, it can have a shelf life of approximately 3 to 4 months. If you don’t mind the darkening that occurs, it can have a shelf life of up to 1 year.

• 2 ½ cups sugar
• ½ cup lemon or lime zest
• 1 cup bottled lemon or lime juice
• ¾ cup butter (salted or unsalted--do not use oleo or margarine.)
• 7 large egg yolks
• 4 large whole eggs

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl, stir to mix, and set aside about 30 minutes. Pre-measure the lemon juice and prepare the chilled butter pieces.

Heat water in the bottom pan of the double boiler until it boils gently. The water should not boil vigorously or touch the bottom of the top double boiler pan or bowl in which the curd is to be cooked. Steam produced will be sufficient for the cooking process to occur.

In the top of the double boiler, on the counter top or table, whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs together until thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the sugar and zest, blending until well mixed and smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and then add the butter pieces to the mixture.

Place the top of the double boiler over boiling water in the bottom pan. Stir gently but continuously with a silicone spatula or cooking spoon, to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Remove the double boiler pan from the stove and place on a protected surface, such as a dish cloth or towel on the counter top. Continue to stir gently until the curd thickens (about 5 minutes). Strain curd through a mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl; discard collected zest.

Fill hot strained curd into the clean, hot halfpint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 15 minutes for half-pints. Makes about 4 half-pints Lemon, lime and orange curd may be frozen for up to a year.

Citrus Jelly
3 3/4 cups of lemon juice
7 cups of sugar
2 (3 oz. pkgs.) pectin

Juice the citrus and combine in a pan with sugar and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove the foam on the top of the mixture and add the pectin. Boil 1 more minute. Pour it into sterilized jars. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 5 minutes for half-pints or pints.

Lemon Marmalade

3 pounds lemons
8 to 10 cups granulated sugar

Slice the lemons as thinly as possible and discard the ends. Remove and discard all the seeds. Place the lemon slices in a nonreactive bowl and add enough water to cover. Let stand overnight.

Measure the lemons and water into a wide, shallow, nonreactive pan. Add an equal volume of sugar and cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently and skimming off the foam as it rises, until temperature reaches 220 degrees F, about 1/2 hour.

Remove marmalade from heat. To test for consistency, drop a little marmalade on a saucer and put the saucer into the freezer until marmalade is cold, about 5 minutes.

Tip the saucer. The marmalade should just barely run. If too thin, return the marmalade to medium-high heat and cook, testing often, until it has reached the right consistency.

Put marmalade into hot, sterilized pint or half-pint jars. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month or, for longer storage, Pour it into sterilized jars. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 5 minutes for half-pints or pints.

Citrus Sections--works best for oranges and grapefruit

Select firm, mature, sweet fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh. The flavor of orange sections 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.

Wash and peel fruit and remove white tissue to prevent a bitter taste. If you use syrup, prepare a very light, light, or medium syrup and bring to boil. Fill jars with sections and water, juice or hot syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 10 minutes for pints.

Grapefruit Marmalade

1 to 3 Texas Ruby Red or Rio Star grapefruit
1 lemon
1 1/2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups granulated sugar
1/2 (6 ounce) bottle liquid fruit pectin

Remove skins in quarters from grapefruit and lemon. Set fruit aside. Lay quarters flat; shave off and discard almost all white part. With a sharp knife or scissors, slice rind very thin. Combine rind, water and baking soda in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chop peeled grapefruit and lemon; discard seeds. Add to cooked rind and continue simmering 10 minutes.

Measure 3 cups fruit mixture into large saucepan. Add sugar to fruit in pan; mix well. Place over high heat; bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin at once. Skim off any foam. Stir and skim 7 minutes. Ladle into hot sterile jars. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 10 minutes for pints.

Strawberry Lemonade

4 quarts strawberries, washed and hulled
4 cups lemon juice
3 quarts water
6 cups granulated sugar

Puree strawberries in a blender, food processor or food mill. For a clearer lemonade, extract juice from strawberries with a juice extractor.

Place strawberries in an 8-quart or larger pot. Add lemon juice, water and sugar. Place mixture over medium heat and heat to 165 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Do not boil.

Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon. Quickly ladle hot juice into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Clean rim, apply lid and process in a Water Bath Canner- 15 minutes for quarts.

Refrigerate before opening or serve over ice.

Yields 6 to 7 quarts.

Preserved Lemons

Choose smooth, thin-skinned, unblemished lemons. Scrub them well. Make two vertical cuts in a cross to within about 1/2 inch of their base, so that they still hold together. Put 1/4 teaspoon of salt into the center of each lemon and press them closed. Pack tight in sterilized glass jars. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt and the strained juice of 1 lemon into each jar. Top off each jar with boiling water and seal. Leave them for 3 to 4 weeks.

To use lemons, rinse well under cold water and discard the flesh and pith, retaining peel only.

Come back for info on:

Drying Citrus

Candied Citrus

Lemon Powder

Lemon Pot Pourri

Pears-Preserving the Harvest

Did you know? There are over 5,000 varieties of pears.

Tips on Ripening Pears
To hurry the ripening process, keep pears at room temperature, each piece individually wrapped in paper, or enclosed in a paper bag ventilated with a few holes. Check them with some frequency. Grandma Barbara once said that pears ripen from the inside out. Looks can be deceiving so test the stem end for that slight "give" to tell you when the pear is ready.
Asian pears such as Hosui, should be kept cool, stored in the refrigerator and served chilled. This enhances their sweet juiciness and crisp, crunchy texture.

Freezing Pears
The most popular variety is Bartlett pears available the first two weeks in September in Utah. If they are to be transported or not processed immediately, pick while slightly green and allow them to ripen in a cool, dark place.

One bushel of pears weights about 50 pounds and will yield 16-25 quarts of pears. A pound of pears yields 2 cups of sliced pears.

Wash and peel pears, cut them in half or quarters and core. Place in water containing 1 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid to each pint of water or follow recommendations on commercial preparations that contain ascorbic acid OR use 2 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water to prevent discoloration (do not soak longer than 20 minutes). Rinse and drain.

Prepare pears as above. Make a 40% syrup by boiling 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water. Add pears and simmer 1-2 minutes; drain and cool. Cover with cooled syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart to avoid discoloration (optional). Seal and freeze.

Drying Pears

Any summer or winter variety of pear is suitable for drying. Pears should be ripe. Wash and slice. Pre-treat with lemon/water or ascorbic acid solution if you like. Dry at 135 F until leathery and there is no moisture present. Makes a great, sweet snack. Store carefully in air tight bags or jars. Keep in a cool, dry place.

Pear Cranberry Jam

2 Cups Dried Pears
3 Cups Water
2 Cups Cranberries
3 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Thinly Sliced Fresh Apples

Remove cores from pears. Wash pears. Chop. Wash cranberries. Combine fruits, water, and sugar. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thick and clear. Pour into sterilized jars. Apply lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes. Makes 5-6 pints.

Pear Syrup

5 pounds pears, peeled and cored
10 cups sugar
2 cups crushed pineapple
Stir all together and cook 20 minutes or until of spreading consistency. Mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Put in sterilized jars (leaving 1/2 inch headspace), add clean lids and rings. Process in a Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.

Pear Butter

6 c. pears, peeled and sliced (Bartletts recommended)
2 c. water
1 T. lemon juice
1-inch piece of fresh ginger root
1 T. honey or maple syrup (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
3 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Yield: 3 half-pints

Peel, slice and measure pears, place in water and lemon juice in non-aluminum saucepan. Bring pears, water and lemon juice to a boil and cook 5-10 minutes until pears are soft. Peel ginger root and mince finely in a food processor. Add pears and puree. Place pureed pear mixture back into saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens, approximately 2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Add allspice. Place a cinnamon stick in each hot, sterilized jar. Ladle in hot pear butter. Leave 1/4 inch head space. Seal with two-part caps. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.

Pear Jam

4 c. pears, washed, peeled, cored and finely chopped or ground (Bartletts recommended)
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 pkg. commercial powdered pectin
6 c. sugar

Measure prepared fruit and lemon juice into large saucepan. Measure sugar and set it aside. Add pectin to fruit and stir in thoroughly. Place fruit over high heat, stir constantly and bring to full rolling boil. Stir in sugar. Mix well. Return to full boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Fill hot jars, leave 1/4 inch
headspace. Cap with two-piece lids. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 15 minutes.

Pear Honey

9 cups pears
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 lime, peel and all, chopped in blender
5 cups sugar
Cook 20 minutes in an open kettle at a good rolling boil. Skim foam if necessary. Fill hot jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps and seal. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 20 minutes.

Spiced Pears

3 1/2 pounds medium-ripe pears (14-16)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Tie in a spice bag:
2 teaspoons whole ginger
2 tablespoons whole cloves
7 sticks cinnamon (3-inch pieces)

Wash, peel, and core pears. Place immediately in a solution of ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid and 2 quarts of water to prevent browning. Combine sugar, vinegar, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Add spices tied in cheesecloth bag. Boil 5 minutes. Drain pears and add to syrup. Simmer 5 minutes or until soft but still firm. Remove spice bag.
Pack pears into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Fill jars to ½ inch of top with boiling hot syrup. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Process 15 minutes in a Boiling Water Bath.

Gingered Pears

4 Pounds Pears
2 Lemons
4 Pounds Sugar
2 Ounces Ginger Root
1 Cup Water

Wash pears. Cut in small pieces. Wash lemons. Cut in thin slices. Combine pears, lemons, sugar and water. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to thicken. Add ginger root which has been cut in small pieces. Simmer five minutes. Pour into sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space. Seal with two-part caps. Process in Boiling Water Bath for 5 minutes.

Old-Time Pear Mincemeat

7 lbs. ripe Bartlett pears
1 lemon
2 (1 lb.) pkgs. seedless raisins
6 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. vinegar
1 T. cloves
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. nutmeg
1 T. allspice
1 tsp. ginger

Core and quarter pears.

Cut lemon into quarters, removing seeds.

Put pears, lemon and raisins through food chopper.

Combine remaining ingredients in large kettle. Add chopped fruit mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer 40 minutes.

Pack at once in hot pint jars. Adjust lids. Process in Boiling Water Bath (212F.) 25 minutes.

Makes 9 pints.

What Can I Can in My Water Bath Canner?

The list of products that can be made and canned at home is nearly unlimited. Here are some ideas for your Fancy Pantry!

Basics: Water Bath Canning is for High Acid Foods--Fruits, Tomatoes and Pickles

Fruit Products in the Water Bath Canner:
Apple Juice, Apple Sauce, Apple Butter, Apple Chutney, Apple Pie Filling, Spiced Apple Rings, Apple Mincemeat Pie Filling

Apricot Jam, Apricot & Pineapple Jam, Apricot Ice Cream Topper

Blackberry Jam, Blackberry Pie Filling, Blackberry Syrup

Blueberry Jam, Blueberry Pie Filling, Blueberry Syrup

Cherry Jam, Cherry Pie Filling, Cherry Ice Cream Topper

Cranberry Juice, Cranberry Jelly, Drunken Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry BBQ Sauce, Honey Cranberry Relish, Brandied Cranberries, Cranberry Rum Sauce, Cranberry Cordial, Cranberry Lemon Vinegar

Canned Figs, Fig Jam, Fig Relish, Fig Compote, Fig and Walnut Confit, Balsamic Fig Honey Marinade, Fig & Onion Jam, Fig Preserves, Pickled Figs, Fig Leaf Tea

Fruit Cocktail

Grape Jam, Grape Jelly, Raisin Sauce

Grapefruit Jelly, Grapefruit Marmalade

7-up Jelly, Marmalade, Lime Alert Hot Sauce

Mango Salsa, Mango Hot Sauce

Peach Nectar, Spiced Peaches, Peach Butter, Peach Pie Filling, Peach Rum Sauce, Peach BBQ Sauce, Peach Fondue

Spiced Pears, Pear Syrup, Pear Mincemeat, Honey Pears, Pear Butter, Pear Cranberry Jam, Pear Jam, Gingered Pears, Old-Time Pear Mincemeat, Pear Honey, Clove Studded Seckel Pears

Pineapple Slices, Pineapple Ice Cream Topper, Pina Colada Jam

Plum Butter, Plum Ice Cream Topping, Plum Syrup, Plum BBQ Sauce

Pom Jam, Pom Jelly, Pom Juice

Pumpkin Butter, Pumpkin Pineapple Compote, Pumpkin Pie Pickles, Pumpkin Jelly, Pumpkin Marmalade, Pumpkin Pancake Syrup, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Raspberry Jam, Raspberry Ice Cream Topper, Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling, Strawberry Ice Cream Topper, Strawberry Jam

Tomato Juice, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste, Tomatoes Whole, Tomatoes, Semi-Dried, Bruschetta in a Jar, Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic, Sweet Yellow Tomato Chutney, Barbecue Sauce, Blender Ketchup, Seafood Cocktail Sauce

Praline Syrup, Almond Syrup, Spiced Honey, Cranberry Ketchup, Cranberry Mustard, Raspberry Vinegar, Roasted Garlic Jelly, Horse Radish Jelly, Mint Jelly, Tomato Ketchup, Relish, Salsa, Pesto, Infused oils, Mustard,

More Recipe Links Are Added Daily(until I get each one linked up or posted!)

Sage Advice on Pressure Canners

I recommend a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner instead of a Dial Gauge Canner for 2 good reasons:

1) Which ever weight you choose 5-10-15 pounds, that is what you will get, even if you walk away...the pressure is not going above that mark. Dial Gauge Canners will continue to creep up if they are not watched.

2) Weighted Canners never vary. Dial Gauge Canners need to be calibrated every couple of years to make sure the dial is accurate.

If you only plan on doing a little canning, the 16 quart is fine. 23 quart canners are for mass production --more than most people need. I also use the 16 quart as a pressure cooker(for meats and beans, etc), I would never think of using a 23 quart model for cooking--it is just tooooo big!

Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner
Dial Gauge Pressure Canner

New Pressure Canners run around $100-$250, and I have heard of them selling at Bed, Bath and Beyond for as low as $69.00. If you don't have access to the "Big City Stores", Ace Hardware Stores, everywhere, offer free shipping to your local store and a decent price on Canners.

It is common to see used Pressure Canners at estate/garage sales for $25 or so. Don't be scared to buy a used canner if the price is right--new gaskets are available for every model ever sold!