We just had a freeze here in Central Florida a couple of nights ago, so many of us were picking all the fruit from our trees. Our trees are still young at 3 years old, but we were able to fill a large cooler and a 5 gallon bucket full of pineapple orange juice oranges and the baby navel orange tree had about 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket along with two bushels of dark red grapefruits from the grapefruit tree.
We had a great year for such young trees and many of our neighbors have said the their trees had heavy crops this year as well. We will be eating the grapefruits with our breakfast, but I wanted to get the juice oranges canned up to enjoy over the next few months. I know lots of folks freeze their orange juice, but I save that premium space for meat.
I got this canning recipe from the Ball Blue Book for canning juice last year from my parent’s fruit trees, so I know it works perfectly. I followed the same directions as for grapefruit juice.
First thing, you have to juice the oranges with a juice reamer, either the old fashion hand reamer or you can get the newer electric ones, but you can’t use the juicing machines that make juice from the peels and all, the pith from the oranges and peels will make for a bitter juice.
I burned up my electric reamer just as I started juicing these oranges so I pulled out the trusty old fashion glass juicer that works with good old hand power! So here goes;
Canned Orange Juice – from the Ball Blue Book
Wash the oranges; drain. Extract and strain the juice. I strained twice with a basic strainer so I got all the seeds and the excess pulp removed from the juice. Pour strained juice into a large stock pot, add sugar to taste if desired, my oranges were pretty sweet so I only added 1/2 cup sugar to a full gallon of juice. Heat juice to 190 degrees farenheit and then maintain temperature for 5 full minutes at the 190 degrees farenheit. DO NOT BOIL. Ladle hot juice into prepared hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a spoon. Cap with two-piece canning lids. Process 1/2 pints (good for single servings) pints and quarts for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Yield: Varies with type and size of oranges. I got 8 pints of juice out of a 5 gallon bucket of oranges. You can also can your grapefruit juice the same way.
Verdict: So far I have juiced and canned 8 pints and 15 – 1/2 pint jars from just over two gallons of juice and still have another 5 gallon bucket full of fresh oranges to go before I will be done with my juice oranges, so I should be ready to do some arm wrestling once I get done! ;) This home canned homegrown orange juice is out of this world and I know exactly what is in it. The pulp will settle to the bottom of the jar, just like the juices in the grocery store, that is why they say shake well before serving! To serve; chill juice, shake well, open and enjoy home grown sunshine.