Are your citrus trees loaded down with fresh fruit and you’re not sure how to make the most of your bounty?
Is there a fantastic sale at your local grocery stores of oranges, lemons, limes, or other citrus fruit?
Sure, you can preserve those citrus fruits in marmalades or by dehydrating them, but have you ever wondered if it’s possible to can orange juice yourself? Or wondered how to can lemon juice?
If you’re like me, more often you use citrus juices throughout the year in your everyday cooking. Knowing how to can citrus juice is another layer of self-sufficiency and a tasty one, too!
How To Can Citrus Juice
Canning citrus juice is very easy.
You don’t even need a pressure canner to do it. Citrus juice is a high acid food so the boiling water method is safe to use.
Here’s how to can citrus juice in just a few basic steps.
Before you begin
First, assemble the jars you wish to use. When I do this, I use 1/2 gallon (2-quart) jars for grapefruit juice, quart jars for orange, and half-pint for lemon or lime.
Next, wash and sterilize the jars by submerging them in a large pot of water that has been boiling for at least 10 minutes. Sterilize the lids by dipping them in a saucepan of hot, but not boiling water. Set the lids on a clean kitchen towel or leave them in the hot water for later use.
Start by juicing the fruit
Juice your citrus fruit by whatever method or tool you happen to have. You’ll use a lot of upper body strength if you have a juicer like this one, and it will be slow going if you have a mountain of fruit on hand. However, it’s the cheapest option.
If you have a bounty of citrus fruit, a manual juicer will keep you busy for hours. Invest in something like this instead. A professional citrus juicer is a big time saver, and if that pile of limes, lemons, or oranges is so daunting that you feel like you’ll never have time to juice it all, then a professional citrus juicer will give you a huge return on your investment.
A high-quality juicer will be of even more value if you have citrus trees of your own that provide a reliable harvest every year.
Do you want pulp or no pulp?
Whether or not you include the pulp in your juice depends on personal preference and how you’ll be using the juice in the future. I like to have the pulp in the juice that we’ll be drinking but don’t want it in the juice that I’ll use for cooking and baking.
At this point, you can add sugar, if desired. It’s best to start with a small amount of sugar and then add more to taste. When you get that just-right level of sweetness, jot it down so you’ll use the same measurements for future batches—x-amount of sugar with x-amount of juice.
Then, place the juice in a large stockpot and bring it to nearly boiling (190 degrees F) for about five minutes.
The canning process
- In your water bath canner or very large stockpot with trivet or rack on the bottom, fill half full of water and bring to a boil.
- Fill a heated and sterilized jar with juice, wipe the rim, top with a lid, and seal with the band.
- Place the filled jar into boiling water and repeat until all jars are full and in the canner. Jars must be covered by one to two inches of water. If there is not enough, add more BOILING water to the pot.
- Return the water to a full rolling boil and begin your timer.
- Process for fifteen minutes for one-quart or smaller size jars and twenty minutes for half-gallon jars.
- When finished, turn off the burner and allow the water to cool down enough so the boiling stops.
- Remove each jar and place them on a towel away from drafts and at least 2 inches apart. This allows some airflow between them but hopefully avoids any cracking due to temperature variations.
Allow the jars to cool to room temperature. When cool, test the lids for a sealed vacuum, label with contents and date, and store. Any jars which did not seal can be placed in the refrigerator and used within about 4-7 days.
Over time, home-canned citrus juice may darken in color, but this won’t affect the flavor or freshness as other factors will.
Learning how to can your own citrus juice is an easy, tasty way to add to your food storage stockpile. The next time a recipe calls for fresh citrus juice, you’ll have it on hand and ready to go!
Have you ever canned citrus juice? What tips would you add?