During the months of December to February I get a lot of questions about what to do with all the citrus that is coming from the trees. Mandarins, Tangelos, Oranges, Grapefruits, Pomelos, and Clementines to name a few. One of the great things about these fruits is that you can put them up just by themselves without making them into something like a marmalade or jam and still get the great taste of the fruit.

I giggle every time I go to my sisters house that she has those little cups of fruit that you get at the grocery store of pink or ruby grapefruit swimming in the sugar “spa” that she is paying a lot of money to have as a snack. My goal this winter is to can up a bunch of those for her and surprise her with them. Half pints or even 4oz jars would be perfect amount in comparison to the store version.

The work involved in segmenting them is time consuming but the result is that you only have to do it once a year and then you have jars of great citrus fruit for a long time.

When canning citrus you can either can them by themselves in jars with water, use a light syrup, or do them in combination like I did with the Grapefruit/Orange jars. Using the fruits in combination can cut the tartness of the grapefruit with the sweetness of the oranges. Other ways to cut tartness is using a syrup. The ultra light syrup is a mixture of 5 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Below are other recipes for syrups to add to cut tartness.

Calculations for making Syrups to can whole fruit

Type of Syrup Sugar Other Sweeteners Water Syrup Yield
Ultra-Light ½ cup 5 cups 5 ¼ cups
Extra Light 1 ¼ cups 5 ½ cups 6 cups
Light 2 ¼ cups 5 ¼ cups 6 ½ cups
Medium 3 ¼ cups 5 cups 7 cups
Heavy 4 ¼ cups 4 ¼ cups 7 cups
Honey 1 cup 1 cup liquid honey 4 cups 5 cups

The process of canning citrus is simple: Segment them by removing the peel and pulling them apart. You will want to remove as much of the pith (white skin) as possible. That is where the bitter taste usually comes from. For Grapefruit you will want cut away the flesh from the membrane that wraps each of the segments as it is tough/chewy.

Put the segments into hot jars. You can use quarts, pints, half pints or 4 oz if you are using them for kids snacks in their lunchbox. Heat your water or syrup and pour over the citrus filling each jar to 1/2″ headspace. Using a rubber or wooden spatula remove air bubbles and refill if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a wet papertowel and add hot lids/ring and tighten them finger tight. Process in a water bath at a full rolling boil for 10 minutes for all sizes of jars.

Remove from canner and leave jars on dishtowel for 12-24 hours for them to cool and seal.

Susan’s Grapefruit
Susan’s Grapefruit