How to can citrus juice

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I received this great tip from master gardener, Marta Waddell.

Canning citrus juice is very easy and you don’t even need a pressure canner.  Citrus juice is a high acid food so the boiling water method is safe to use.

First get the jars you wish to use and wash them and then sterilize by boiling for 10 minutes submerged in the boiling water.  I use 1/2 gallon (2 quart) jars for grapefruit, quart jars for orange, and half pint for lemon juice. Put the flat lids in a saucepan of hot, but not boiling water on the stove.

Juice your citrus fruit and strain out the pulp if desired.  Add sugar only if desired.  Place in a large stockpot and bring to nearly boiling (190 degrees F) for about five minutes.  In your boiling water canner or large stockpot with trivit or rack on the bottom, fill half full of water and bring to the boil.  Fill a hot jar with juice, wipe rim, top with lid and seal with band.  Place 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 burner and let water stop boiling.  Remove jars and place on a towel away from draft.  Place jars at least two inches apart.  Allow 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 place in the refrigerator and used within about 4-7 days.

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24 thoughts on “How to can citrus juice”

    1. Poke them in the center. If they bonk up and down at all, they're not sealed. And pry lightly at the edge with your thumbs. If thy open, eat it now. They shouldn't be able to open with your fingers.

  1. Yes, canning juice is easy and wonderful. But citrus doesn't grow here. Waahhh! I have to be satisfied with grape, wild berry, apple, cherry, oh my wait… I'm too busy now to miss the citrus. LOL These directions can be used to make juice from any fruit. Just be sure that if you add vegetable juice, it changes the acid level and may need pressure canning.

    1. Michelle in ID

      Yep…the one thing I do miss about living in CA…oranges! ;o) I did recently discover a food co-op that has good prices on produce. It's mostly available in the Western U.S. right now but is growing. http://www.bountifulbaskets.org . Picked up a case (36 pounds) of Minneola Tangelos for $15.50. I'm turning them into marmalade. Yum!

  2. Katy, If you push on the lid with your finger and it doesn't move it has a seal. If it wobbles up and down, it doesn't. Hope this helps.

  3. I have a juicer/steamer pan that is wonderful. Just wash your fruit, toss it in the top pan, it will probably hold about 3 gallons of fruit. you don't have to pit them. if you are doing grapes, you can leave them on the stems too. Don't know anything about citrus, but have done peaches, apricots, grapes in mine. The bottom pan holds the water. There is a hose attached to the pan where the juice goes into, and you can just drain it into your hot jars when it fills up. Then put into a water bath. Takes about an hour to get all the juice out of a full pan of fruit. They are kinda pricey, about $115.00 or so, but it is certainly easier than straining seeds and stuff out of the juice.

  4. The normal recommendation from the Department of Agriculture for most home canned goods is they are good for 5 yrs. After that point they BEGIN to loose color, texture, flavor and nutrition. What is in the can or jar is pathologically SAFE to eat so long as the container is not compromised (no dents, leaks, bulges, etc.) They may look and taste like crap in just a few years, especially if exposed to a lot of light.

    High acid foods, such as tomatoes and citrus may react with the can material, or metal lids, and loose their safety sooner.

    Carol– yes, you may home can nearly anything. Provided the store-bought juice has in no way begun to ferment, go for it.

  5. Okay, so I canned orange juice a while back and when I tried it a few weeks later it was HORRIBLE!! Yuck!! It was more like grapefruit juice. I've heard from many others who have said the same thing. I wonder what I did wrong?

  6. If you are using a juicer like the Brevil, that may be the problem. All the membrane makes the juice bitter.
    Try using a small juicer that you hold the fruit on and adjust for little or no pulp.. I tried this and the result was amazing.

    1. That is the conclusion I was arriving to..after freezing lemon juice successfully for about 9 years, I purchased a Breville..it’s a wonderful machine…but alas, the juice, after 3 months was horrible. Back to my old electric base and hand held fruit Krups.

  7. Pingback: Canning Lemon Juice

  8. Have you done lemon juice? I followed the instructions and I haven’t yet opened one of mine but the look like they are getting darker in color and I just canned them a couple of months ago. I was planning on using them for lemonade but I hope that the flavor will still be good. Any thoughts on why this is?

    1. Hi! I’m a gardener in San Diego that cans citrus. Yes, the citrus will change color, (darkens) but the taste should be unaffected. I canned up tangerine juice and lemons last year and the margaritas have been phenomenal! I just finished 21 quarts of Valencia orange. We have found if you use a juicer that only takes the juice and NO membrane you will have the best results.

  9. I tried freezing my orange juice in regular glass canning jars leaving the lid lose until I was solid. I tried some months later and it was just as fresh as the day I froze it! But I think I will try caning, it would make transporting it a lot easier.

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