Saturday, April 30, 2016

Canning Fresh Orange Juice!

Living in Arizona there is NO shortage of citrus!  I don't feel like I am exaggerating to say if you really wanted to, you could find fresh citrus, off the tree, 12 months out of the year!  

It also seems that there is always someone wanting to get rid of said citrus!  Recently a lady from our ward (church congregation) offered up her oranges... begged someone to come get them is probably more like it!  So me and the boys went and picked some!

Well, a bunch!
I filled my laundry basket nearly half full, and that was because I couldn't carry more!  There were still several on the tree!

Then I started researching.  I figured there HAD to be a way to preserve that liquid sunshine somehow!  I simply don't have the freezer space or I would have loved to freeze it all into ice cubes and saved it that way! so I resorted to bottling it!

I found the recipe from Yellow Rock Country Girl and I was super pleased how simple the process is!

(my juice, preprocessing)

First, you juice your oranges,

and juice them,

and juice them,

and juice them,

and juice them,

then juice some more!  Seriously, it takes forever! 

Of course it probably doesn't help that there are two more pitchers full that never made it to the pot... but seriously, it tastes so good!

Then ever so slowly so you don't burn your juice, bring it up to 190 degrees -  But don't boil it!

Then pour into hot, sanitized jars (dishwasher for me!) and process them!  They need a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Here are the exact instructions from Yellow Rock Country Girl, because don't forget, it is SUPER important to follow directions EXACTLY when canning food!

Wash the oranges; drain. Extract and strain the juice. I strained twice with a basic strainer  so I got all the seeds and the excess pulp removed from the juice. Pour strained juice into a large stock pot, add sugar to taste if desired, my oranges were pretty sweet so I only added 1/2 cup sugar to a full gallon of juice.  Heat juice to 190 degrees farenheit and then maintain temperature for 5 full minutes at the 190 degrees farenheit. DO NOT BOIL.  Ladle hot juice into prepared hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a spoon. Cap with two-piece canning lids. Process 1/2 pints (good for single servings) pints and quarts for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner

I got 11 pints out of those oranges (plus two gallon pitchers that didn't make it to the jars!).  So far it tastes great!  We labeled each of the jars with a month so that each month we can try it and see if we still like it even after sitting on the shelf.  I bottled them in February (yeah, I know, I'm a bit behind) so we've tried one (skipped March since I only got 11 jars) and it was fantastic!  Not the same as fresh-squeezed, but still so delicious!

One VERY important TIP
NO RIND!  We didn't get much, but it is important to note that rind/pith in the juice will turn bitter when processed.  As such, don't use a juicer that mashes out everything!  

Try it!

Super easy!

Let me know how things go in the comments below!

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