Jars of canned oranges on a towel after canning

Canning Oranges: How to Can Mandarin Oranges

Winter time is when citrus fruits go on sale in most grocery stores. My kids love the little plastic cups of mandarin oranges, but they are pricey and have way too much sugar. Canning oranges for my kids is one way I give them healthier snacks on a budget.

Oranges are a high-acid food, so that means they are safe for water bath canning. All oranges are in this category, including mandarins, clementines, tangerines, and navel oranges. So, if you are new to canning, these would be an excellent canning project to put on your pantry shelves without any worries of botulism!

This recipe for canning oranges also works for grapefruits and other citrus fruits!

Related: Canning Pineapples: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Canning Oranges: How to Can Mandarin Oranges

Gather Canning Supplies

You only need a few supplies to home-can oranges. It’s safe to water bath can oranges, so you need:

As far as the ingredients needed, all you have to get is:

  • Oranges
  • Sugar
  • Water

Prepare the Oranges for Canning

Prepping the oranges for canning is easy; the options are whole or segments. We prefer to can oranges in segments, as they would be in fruit cups. You would need segments if you are canning navel oranges, but clementines are ideal for canning whole.

Either way, the first step is to peel the oranges. While peeling, remove as much of the white pith as possible because the pith makes the canned oranges bitter. Make sure you remove the center of the orange if you keep them whole. The center pith is thick and may be tricky to remove without breaking the orange into segments.

Also, you want to avoid puncturing the membranes of the segments. You’ll lose flavor because the juice will go into the syrup.

Make a Syrup & Fill Jars

When canning oranges, you use the raw pack method, which means you will not cook the fruit before filling the jars. You’ll create a hot syrup and fill the jars with the raw oranges.

Before filling the jars, start making a simple syrup. It is safe to use water, but water won’t preserve the flavor of the oranges. You may feel like the oranges are flavorless and washed out.

Instead, I suggest using light to medium syrup. The difference between light to medium to heavy is the amount of sugar added to the boiling water. A heavier syrup contains more sugar. You can find measurements here to make the perfect canning syrup.

Once you decide on the syrup you want to make, dissolve the sugar in water in a pot and bring it to a rolling boil. While you wait for the sugar water to boil, start packing the jars with oranges.

Don’t be afraid to pack the oranges tightly. You’ll notice they shrink slightly during the canning process. You need roughly 3/4 of a pound of oranges to fit into a pint, and you need 1.5 pounds (roughly) to fit into a quart jar.

Once the syrup comes to a boil, ladle it over the orange segments. You need to leave 1/2 inch headspace; make sure you gently check for air bubbles. Be careful not to cut the membranes of the oranges!

Process the Jars of Oranges

After filling the jars with syrup and oranges with proper headspace, wipe the rim of the jars, ensuring no syrup is left there. The stickiness will prevent proper sealing. Screw the rims on to fingertip tightness.

Related: Fingertip Tight for Canning: What Does It Even Mean?

Process both pints and quarts for 10 minutes in a rolling water bath canner for those 1,000 feet in elevation and below. Process 15 minutes if above 1,000 feet in elevation.

Canning Oranges

How to can clementines, navel oranges, mandarin oranges, and other types of citrus fruits in only a few steps.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Oranges
  • Sugar

Instructions

  1. Start by filling a water bath canner with water and putting it on the stove on high heat. You need to bring it to a rolling boil.

  2. While you wait for the water to boil, peel your oranges. Try to remove as much of the pith as possible, including the center pith if keeping the oranges whole. Too much pity will make the oranges bitter. Avoid puncturing the membranes of the oranges.

  3. Create a simple syrup with water and sugar. A light syrup is 2 cups of sugar per 1 quart of water. A medium syrup is 3 cups of sugar per 1 quart of water.

  4. Fill the jars with oranges; pack tightly. Pour the hot syrup over the oranges, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

  5. Wipe the rims of the jars, put the lids and rims on fingertip tight, and process the jars for 10 minutes if you live at 1,000 feet in elevation (or below) and 15 minutes if above 1,000 feet in elevation.

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