Living in Florida, oranges are in abundance during the season. Although we have access to oranges from other places year-round, having the oranges from our own trees is so much healthier. I don’t buy store-bought commercial oranges because I don’t want access to the chemicals they contain. So I learned a few ways to preserve oranges right on my homestead. Now I can enjoy them year-round in many different ways.
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Preserve Oranges By Canning
Citrus is packed with pectin on its own so oranges are a great candidate for preserving them at home.
Orange marmalade is my favorite way to preserve oranges here at my homestead. Marmalade can be used on toast, with crackers, as a sauce served on chicken or ham, and others. For the following recipe, you can double the ingredients if needed. Also, don’t be alarmed about the amount of sugar. You can adjust to your taste as necessary. This recipe makes about 6 to 8 half-pint or 4 to 6 pint-sized jars.
- 8 or so large oranges
- 1 large lemon
- about 7 cups of water
- 2 1/2 to 3 lbs of sugar
Slice your oranges and lemons as thin as possible. (a mandoline is perfect for this). Remove the seeds and place them in a bowl. If possible try cutting your citrus over the bowl so can keep as much of the juice as possible.
Roughly chop the slices into pieces about 1″. (a food processor is great for this!)
Add your citrus pieces and the water to a shallow pan. Place the seeds into a mesh bag or some cheesecloth and tie it up. The seeds will release pectin into your mixture. Add the “bag” to your mixture. Turn to high and bring to a boil.
Once the mixture reaches a boil reduce the heat. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 45 minutes.
At around the 45-minute mark, add your sugar and stir. Keep stirring occasionally until the mixture hits about 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. It should turn a pretty golden color. Test the marmalade by putting a small amount on a cold plate and placing it in the fridge. After about 5 minutes it should wrinkle when you touch it. If it doesn’t you may have to cool it a little longer.
Place in either half-pint or pint sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 ” headspace. Screw lids on finger tight and place in water bath canner for 10 minutes. Set on a towel to cool and leave undisturbed for 24 hours.
These should last about a year or more if stored in a cool dark place.
Want to try your skills and make Orange Jelly? Try this recipe from Bowl Me Over, entitled Orange Jelly in a Jar.
Preserve Oranges By Making Citrus Salt
I found this recipe on the internet years ago and I wish I knew whose recipe it was. It is the simplest recipe to make and lasts quite a while!
Orange Citrus Salt
I use orange citrus salt in baking, on chicken and fish dishes and when I am cooking fish. It has a great flavor without overpowering the dish and a little goes a long way.
- orange zest
- Kosher Salt
Wash and dry your oranges. Using a zester, remove as much zest as possible. If you don’t own a zester you can use the smallest holes on a grater. You will mix equal amounts of zest with salt. So if you have 1/2 cup of zest you will use 1/2 cup of salt.
Combine the mixture with your fingers. The finished product should feel like play sand and have a slightly damp feeling. When the mixture is completely mixed spread it out on waxed paper and allow it to dry.
When dry, place it in an airtight jar. It should keep over a year if stored properly.
Preserve Oranges By Making Citrus Sugar
This is basically made the same way except using sugar.
- zest from oranges
Zest your oranges onto parchment or waxed paper and allow them to dry over a few days.
When the zest is completely dried, mix it with almost equal amounts of sugar. Place the mixture in a jar and allow it to sit for 2 weeks for the flavors to infuse together.
This sugar can be added when baking, in your cereal, in teas, etc… The possibilities are endless.
Preserve Oranges in Vodka
This concoction makes a great base for any drink calling for an orange liqueur.
Oranges in Vodka
- 4 or 5 oranges (navels are best)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups vodka
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the oranges leaving the white part on the orange. (white part will be bitter if used) Juice the oranges minus the white part. An electic juicer can help.
Place the peels in a quart jar and add the juice. Add enough water to make about 1 and 1/2 cups of total liquid.
Take 1/2 cup of the juice and place it in a saucepan with the sugar. Turn the heat to low and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining juice and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a full boil turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool completely then add the mixture to the quart jar that has your peels in it. Fill to the top with vodka. Close the lid and place it in a cool dark place for about 30 days. After the 30 days are up you can strain the mixture and place it back in the jar or another bottle. Voila!
Preserve Oranges By Making Orange Peel Candy
These soft chews are a great way of using up those peels you might otherwise throw away!
Orange Peel Candy
- about 12 oranges
- 1 1/2 cups of pure cane sugar
- 3 cups regular sugar
Peel your oranges into wide strips. Try to keep the peel full length from top to bottom. Scrape out as much of the white pith as possible then slice into 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide strips. Just make sure all the peels are uniform in size.
I soak the peels in water overnight in the fridge.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle the cane sugar on it as evenly as possible.
Blanch the peels by first placing them in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes then place them in an ice water bath. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the peels feel very pliable.
Make a simple syrup by combining 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar completely dissolves.
Once the sugar is completely dissolved, add the orange peels and turn the heat down to a simmer. Allow the peels to simmer until they turn a very dark amber color. (about 45 minutes)
Remove the peels with tongs or strain. Place the peels on the sugar-coated tray to coat and place them on a wire rack to dry. Store in a clean dry jar. Also can be frozen.
Preserve Oranges By Making Citrus Cleaner
This is an excellent cleaner for your kitchen and bathroom.
Orange Citrus Cleaner
- Orange peels
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Citrus essential oil (I buy all of my essential oils from Simply Earth.
- Tea Tree oil
- Spray bottle
Clean and dry oranges. Peel the oranges and place the peels in a jar about 3/4 the way full.
Fill the jar almost full with distilled vinegar. Place lid on jar.
Allow the jar to sit in a warm spot for 2 weeks, shaking the jar every day.
Drain off the vinegar into a spray bottle about 3/4 full. Add about 10 or so drops of Citrus Essential oil and 2 to 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil. Fill the remainder of the spray bottle with distilled vinegar.
The leftover citrus vinegar can be kept for the next batch. And remember to save the treated peels too.
Now you have a few ways you can preserve oranges year-round on your homestead. Do you have other ways of preserving your oranges we haven’t mentioned here? I would love for you to share them in the comments below.
Be sure to read What To Do With Extra Oranges also for even more ideas!