Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Can Mandarin Oranges

This time of year I can't get enough citrus. I am totally in love with these Kishu Mandarins I purchased last week. They are seedless and super easy to peel. I did however get a little carried away order 25 lbs of them. We ate as many as we could fresh. I shared half the box with the folks at work. I had thought all along that I would like to can some of them to use in salads. I thought it would be fairly simple to find directions, but it took some digging to figure out how to do it. Finally I found a great site called Pick Your Own, it is a great resource for anything you might want to can. The process couldn't be much easier and you can use it for any kind of citrus fruit you might have. You can even mix different types of citrus together.
In the grocery store canned mandarins run about $4.00 per can. I'm actually thinking even with shipping I might be saving money by doing it myself.

How to Can Mandarin Oranges
adapted from Pick Your Own

How to Can Mandarin Oranges on Punk Domestics1. Clean your jars, rings and lids. A dishwasher works great for this. I usually put them in a pot of boiling water and then place them in the oven on the lowest temperature while I prepare my fruit.
2. Peel your mandarins. Remove as much of the white pith as possible. These little Kishu Mandarins took no work at all to remove the pith, but their smaller than golf ball size did involve a lot of peeling.
3. Pull apart the segments. You can actually leave them whole if you prefer, but since I will mostly be using them for salads I decided it would be easier to separate them before the canning process.
4. Pack sterilized jars with Mandarin segments, leaving about 1/2 space at the top of the jar.
5. Prepare your syrup solution. It is up to you whether you want a light or thick syrup and adjust the amount of sugar accordingly. The sugar does not actually preserve the mandarins. Preservation is achieved through the canning process and water bath technique. You could just add hot water to the jars if you wanted no added sugar. I went with a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar. I found I used about 1/2 cup of solution for each pint of mandarins. I combined 6 cups of water with 3 cups of sugar. Place the solution over medium high heat stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring solution to a boil and immediately pour over packed jars of fruit. Slide a knife down the edge of each jar to release any air bubbles. I found an offset spatula worked great for this step.
6. Place lids and rings on jars.
7. Place jars in a boiling water bath and boil for 15 minutes. You will need to adjust the time if you are living above 6,000 feet.
8. Ensure the jars are sealed. Any unsealed jars should go directly into the fridge. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool dark place for up to 9 months.

50 comments:

  1. This is a great idea! I love using canned mandarins in salad, they would probably be even better this way.

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  2. This is great. I never buy canned mandarins because they're so expensive. Also, that Pick Your Own website has been a tremendous resource to me many times in the past.

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  3. OMG this is a wonderful idea! I am so going to start canning me some mandarin oranges!

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  4. Fantastic! I have 25lbs of mandarins, too! Some will be marmalade, maybe some peels will be candied, and I'm def canning some this way for salads and just plain ol' eating! YUMMY!!

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  5. where did you purchase your mandarins from?

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    Replies
    1. Tangerineman.com I think the Kishu season is already over, but they have other varieties as well.

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  6. Yum. I never thought of canning mandarins.

    It is true that can preserve fruit in just water, however, it may be worth pointing out to inexperienced canners the fact that the fruit will absorb the water and end up tasting pretty bland if you do this. I'm not sure if the membrane on mandarins would help keep the sweetness in or not, but for other varieties of cut fruits you definitely want to have some sweetness in your syrup.

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  7. Hi Nicole :)

    i live in Anchorage and i'm wondering where some good places are to get your yummy foods...i checked out tangerineman.com and thats awesome! Are there any other websites you recommend for buying fruits and veggies at that will send them to us up (down) here? :)

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    1. Arin-
      If you go to the links tab at the top of the page you will see I have some of my favorite places to order from under supplies. You also have one of my favorite place right there in Anchorage at New Sagaya. In the last five years, Alaska has seen a great improvement on the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables we have available. I always recommend your local farmer's market in the summer.
      Good luck.

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    2. Why not dehydrate the peels and grind into a powder and you will have mandarin to add to oatmeal, baked goods, cereal or on top of ice cream.

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  8. This is a great gift giving idea for Christmas or for a housewarming gift. Oh, the things I can can!

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  9. I have never canned before--so how do you know if the jars are sealed? what about wax? when do you ever need it?--thanks

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    1. If you push down on the top of the jar and it doesn't spring back and make a popping noise you know it is sealed. If it does make a noise you will need to put the jar in the fridge. There are tons of great sites online for beginner canners. I recommend Food in Jars, or just get yourself a basic canning book. It is far easier than most people make it out to be. I have never used wax, I don't think many people do anymore. Most modern canning jars have eliminated the need for it.

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    2. excellent source for canning and safety tips.
      http://extension.oregonstate.edu/community/food-preservation

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  10. You can also make marmalade with the skins too if it's not laden with pesticides!

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  11. Save your peel and put it in a jar of vinegar. Let it set a few weeks (or months) and strain. It makes a fantastic 'Orange Oil Vinegar' cleaner. You can reuse your peels, just keep pouring vinegar over them until they are spent. The longer you let it set the more condensed it becomes. It really makes a great natural all purpose cleaner. You can do this with all sorts of citrus peel.I keep a gallon vinegar jug I just add peels as I use them and top off with vinegar as needed.

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    1. What do you clean with this? It sounds interesting.

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    2. You can clean just about anything with vinegar! SO much better then chemical cleaners and it cleans just as well!

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    3. You can clean just about anything with vinegar, it is so much better then chemicals to clean with!

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  12. Lori Parrish NiemiNovember 3, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    I think there are various recipes that would allow you to make homemade household cleaner from the orange peels, too, so that would even further extend the bargain. I will definitely try canning oranges as gifts for Christmas this year. Thanks for the idea.

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  13. this is a great idea thanks for sharing. will try this cleaner recipe as well

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  14. Great idea! Mandarin oranges were on sale at one of our local stores and I am going to try canning them tomorrow.

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  15. I tried this last year and they turned out very bitter. Even with a heavy syrup they were not very good.

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    1. It all depends what kind of fruit you use. I recommend using mandarins that are nice and sweet to start with. Every year I can Kishu Mandarins and although not as sweet as the canned mandarins you buy in the store, I actually like them better. I don't find any bitterness at all.

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    2. I was warned..Not to try canning these..as it is time consuming as one MUST take off all the membrane.. I was shocked. I never did try to can any. Now that I have read this i may try a few jars. Concerned about the bitter posts. We like "Cuties"...and they are just coming on..so easy to peel and sweet.

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  16. I just made 30 pints a few days ago... tasted one... and it is bitter... any reason for this. They were sweet to taste and I used a medium syrup.

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    1. The pith is what makes them bitter. If your mandarins have a lot of pith or the pith is very bitter you want to remove as much as possible. If you are finding it is still bitter, you may have to remove all the pith and supreme the mandarins. The quality of fruit is really important in making these. I spent the extra money and went with Kishu Mandarins and have done this for three years now with successful results.

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  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  18. Hi, I live in Florida (YEAH!) and we just moved into our new home a few months ago. I was pleasantly surprised for find that I have a Satsuma Mandarine tree right off of my back porch! So, now it is very heavy with very ripe Mandarines. I have picked one a day to eat, but I know there is no way I can keep up since it is also wonderful apple season and we adore apples! I just finished canning applesauce and apple rings. So, using the same idea as you I am going to can those beauties this weekend. I did find on the USDA info that if you toss in some grapefruit with those oranges they maintain their flavor better AND using pure good ole orange juice heated up is also a great idea instead of sugar water or water. Remove the pith everyone! That stuff is twice as bitter when it has been canned!

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  19. I have a Satsuma Mandarine tree off of my back porch and am going to can them. I can't eat them fast enough! Yes, I live in northern Florida so I am lucky as to not have had a freeze yet. It is full on apple season and just finished canning applesauce and still have 3 cases of sweet potatos to can. I am going to break off this weekend and can those oranges before I luck out and lose them. My kids eat oranges all winter and I like to blend them up into stuff. I did read in my USDA canning book that using a bit of grapefruit in the jars with oranges helps them to retain their flavor. Also, using pure orange juice in the place of water or sugar water is a wonderful. The PITH is why your oranges are probably bitter. It does not take much to do the taste a bad turn. Love your blog!

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    1. Christine, I also live in North East Florida and I was wondering where you get your cases of apples at? My kids love my homemade apple sauce but it is so expensive to make it from apples I buy at the store. Just curious. I also have a beloved satsuma tree that produced well. So far still no freeze this year.

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  20. Canned mandarin oranges in the store are so cheap! They are like 25 cents a can here in NJ... Why can them. ....

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    1. If you notice..MOST I have seen are processed in CHINA....noT good. And also canned Mushroom, too. I am extremely concerned about anything from there. Recalls all the time on food from China..
      I can my own Pineapple now too do not buy canned. Even DOLE is not from Hawaii anymore.

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  21. Dumb question...are mandarin oranges the same as what we find in Texas as 'cuties'?

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    1. I'm not entirely sure. I would have to look at the box. You can certainly can them as well. You can do this with any citrus fruit, if you are buying it from the grocery store I am willing to bet the the pith is pretty bitter and I would recommend removing it in its entirety.

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  22. I'm curious to know how the taste and texture was after canning them with their "membranes."

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    1. You really have to make sure you are getting the highest quality fruit. If you have any doubts, you would probably want to supreme them. I really enjoyed them even after a year. They pop a bit when you bite into them, but after a while the membrane gets pretty soft.

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  23. Since I do all my canning by pressure, wonder at what pounds of pressure and for how long (minutes)? Thanks for any input

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    1. Carol-
      Unfortunately I have never done any pressure canning. I can not offer advice on your question.
      -Nicole

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  24. Hello!

    What did you do with your peels?

    These mandarins look great and I'm going to give them a try.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D
    Charlie

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  25. All mandarins that I have seen in the stores are canned in Asia. I can't find any Made in U.S.A. So I'm canning my own.Also to Charles, I'm going to make a batch of wine from the peels.

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    1. Trader joes has USA mandarins.

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  26. I love this! I can't wait to get a pile of mandarins to do this with. I saw a few of the comments talking about making cleaner out of the peels. I do this all the time, it's really easy and works great. Check it out here

    http://rednecksoccermom.blogspot.com/2013/03/trash-to-fabulous-all-purpose-cleaner.html

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  27. I am new to the canning world and my kids adore mandarin oranges. They can each easily eat an entire can themselves and still want more. I am jealous of whoever posted that the cans are .25 by them! The cheapest I can find the smalls cans are around .70 each. I can not wait to try it once citrus season is in full swing again. I am leery about canning them in the membranes so I think I will supreme them. Do you think you could replace fruit juice (like white grape) for the sugar water? I prefer my kids have their fruit packed in 100% fruit juice but I have a very hard time finding it in the stores.

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    1. I made this recipe with mandarin juice in place of the syrup. My husband and I really like the result, but it is much less sweet than what you'd get out of a can, so be forewarned.

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  28. I also agree on the making cleaner from the peels. I have been doing this for several months now and I love it. I just soak the peels in vinegar and let it set for a few weeks. It works wonders and smells good too. Great way to double duty this recipe for minimal waste!

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  29. From Way Down Under NZ
    Hooray at last the type of recipe I was looking for. I have a tree loaded with satsuma mandarins, and needed to know if I could preserve whole segments in syrup for summer consumption. I intend scraping the pith from the peel with a sharpened spoon, then placing the cleaned peel into the pot with sugar and fresh squeezed mandarin juice then heating until the sugar has dissolved. I will then strain the peel out of the flavoured syrup and use this to can the the prepared mandarin segments as per your recipe Can anyone see a problem with this idea?.

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  30. Dried orange peel is expensive, so I use a zester tool made by Henckels - the knife maker - and dry every orange peel I have in my dehydrator. I zest the entire orange before I do anything else with it. It makes the best flavoring for orange icing for cookies or cakes! I do that with lemons and limes, too. Candied orange peel is delicious, too, and a healthy sweet, and of course I make my own orange marmalade! It is so easy and tastes so, so good on my homemade English muffins! One of my favs, though, is orange sorbet (can make as popsicles). Only after I have a good sized jar of zest would I use the rest for making cleaner. A good orange goes a long, long way! I have a neighbor with a tree, so I look forward to December/January here in central Florida.

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  31. Can you substitute honey for the sugar?

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