How to Can Grapefruit or Orange Sections

Home canning grapefruit or orange sections is easy. It results in a superior product when compared to commercially canned grapefruit or orange sections.
Canning grapefruit or orange sections yourself  is a cost-effective way to increase variety in your long-term food storage.

Home Canned Red Grapefruit Sections

Home Canned Red Grapefruit Sections

Grapefruit, oranges and other citrus fruits are considered to be high acid foods.  High acid foods are safely canned by using the water bath method of canning.
Grapefruit can be home canned in a jar alone. But orange sections will taste better if canned they are canned with equal parts of grapefruit sections in the jar.

First gather and assemble the water bath canner, jars, lids, bands, canning funnel, lid lifter, jar lifter, large tea kettle, sauce pan and white sugar for making a light syrup.
Begin to heat the water bath canner. Wash the canning jars and bands in hot soapy water and rinse well. Keep the jars hot.
Simmer the canning lids and keep them warm. Do not allow them to boil.
Wash and rinse the grapefruit in warm soapy water and rinse well.
Next the grapefruit or oranges need to be peeled. When canning oranges or grapefruit sections it’s important that all of the white and fibrous parts of the grapefruit and the seeds be removed.

Only the “heart” of the citrus sections should be used that’s because the white stuff on the grapefruit is bitter and pulpy when canned.

Grapefruit Sections

Grapefruit Sections

When peeling large quantities of citrus fruit for canning I use a special serrated sandwich knife and a smaller paring knife.

I first make a cut in the rind and then proceed around the entire fruit until it has been peeled.

Cutting The Peel From A Grapefruit

Cutting The Peel From A Grapefruit

I then use a small paring knife to free the individual wedges or sections.

Grapefruit Sections Being Prepared For Home Canning

Grapefruit Sections Being Prepared For Home Canning

Once all the sections are removed I squeeze out the empty fruit. The video below will help to more clearly illustrate the process.

There are a couple of different ways to fill canning jars with grapefruit.
Some recipes call for heating the grapefruit sections in light sugar syrup.
Others suggest filling the jars with cold grapefruit sections and then pouring heated light syrup over the sections.
Still others use heated orange juice or heated grapefruit juice poured over the grapefruit sections.

I usually pack cold grapefruit sections into a jar and use the juice that was made by squeezing the grapefruit when I peeled it. If I need more liquid I will pour a small amount of heated light syrup over the sections to achieve a 1/2″ head space.
To make light syrup for canning:
Dissolve 1 ½ cups of cane sugar into 6 cups of water. Heat the sugar and water stirring until the syrup is very hot and all the sugar is dissolved.

Add the grapefruit or orange sections into a clean hot jar. Next pour grapefruit juice, orange juice or light syrup to within a 1/2″ of the rim.

Remove all air pockets or air bubbles with a non-metallic object. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean wet cloth and apply a hot simmered lid.
Apply the band to the jar.

One by one as the jars are filled they are placed into the hot water bath canner on the stove.

Once all the jars have been filled and placed in the canner turn up the heat to bring the water in the canner to a full rolling boil.
This may take a while if the fruit was cold packed. It is normal for the water in a water bath canner to lose some heat while new jars are being added. It may take some time for the heat to build back up and the water begin to boil.

Processing time is counted from the time the water in the canner comes to a full boil. Once the water begins to boil put the lid on the water bath canner and adjust the heat if necessary to maintain a gentle boil.

Processing time for pints and quarts of grapefruit or orange sections in a water bath canner is:

  • 10 minutes  for altitudes of 1,000ft. sea level or less.
  • 15 minutes for altitudes between 1,000 ft – 6,000 ft.
  • 20 minutes for altitudes above 6,000 ft sea level

Once processing time is complete the jars are removed from the canner and allowed to cool undisturbed for 8 to 12 hours.

When the jars are completely cooled the bands are removed. Check the seals and wiped the jars clean with a damp cloth. Label and store in a dark cool location.

The 20 pounds of grapefruit will yield approximately 6 quarts or 12 pints.
Home canned citrus will store about 12-15 months before any noticeable loss of flavor or color. For best taste chill canned grapefruit or orange sections at least overnight before opening and serving. Enjoy!

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