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Mandarin Oranges (and other Citrus)

Water Only - No Sugar

Citrus is easy to can, but I find that it does not have the long shelf life that vegetables or meats do.  Plan on using your canned citrus in 6 to 9 months for best flavor -- longer is safe, just not as tasty.

I can all my fruits in water or water/juice blend and I never use sugar.  Mandarins are sweet enough, so I only use water.
Also - this recipe is a waterbath method

1) Peel mandarin oranges - carefully removing ALL pith inside the center of the orange and the fibrus 'threads' that are around the outside.  The pith will make the canned oranges bitter.
For larger citrus that can be sectionized, separate each section and deseed - also removing all pith.


2) Put a large pot of water on to boil - this pot is for the waterbath so make sure the pot is deep enough to cover your jars by 1" or more.  When the water is boiling, turn down to low simmer.  Carefully add the empty jars to the water to heat them.  When you are ready to pack the jars, remove them and place the empty jars on a cookie sheet or pan to catch any overflow.

3) Put another pot on to boil - this is the water that you will use to fill the jars.  Also put a small pot of water on to boil as well -- when boiling, turn off, add seals, cover and set aside.
Do Not boil the seals - just heat them (modern seals should not be boiled)

4) Pack the mandarin sections into hot jars - press slightly, but do not 'smash' the orange sections.  With a clean paper towel carefully clean the rims and just inside the neck.

5) Fill the jars with hot water, leaving 1/2 to 3/4" headspace.  Debubble and top off with more water if needed.  Add seals (lids) and rings - only screwing the rings on finger-tight.


6) If the large pot of water is boiling, temporarily lower temperature to low simmer (too hot may crack a jar).
Place the filled jars in the water.  When all jars are in the pot, the water should cover the jars at least 1".  If necessary, add more hot water from the extra pot.  Bring water back to boil.


It is always a guess as to how much water you need to have in the pot - too little and you cool the water down when you add more
- too much and it goes over the top - NOT an option!
Here's my trick:
I fill the big pot slightly less than half way and start heating.
Then I fill another fairly large regular cooking pot with water and start that heating, too.  Hot water from this 2nd pot will be added to the larger pot as necessary after I have the jars in the water and if I need more to cover the necessary 1".




Waterbath Canning citrus is slightly different than some other fruits.  Be careful with your timing and do not overcook the fruit. 
Side Note -- I have tried canning citrus juice - it has a VERY short shelf life - there is just too much acid.  The fruit itself works beautifully because there is enough water to balance the acid - but I will not try the juice again.
Process Times for WaterBath Canning of Citrus
Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft
1,001 - 6,000 ft
Above 6,000 ft
Half Pint / Pint or Quart
10 minutes
15 minutes
20 minutes



Process jars at full boil



If you are new to canning - or just want to see how I do it - check out my Personal Canning Routine


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