Winter Citrus Recipes


Inspired by “Time to Kill Marmalade” by K. West in Saving the Season.

Total weight of fruit: 4 lbs
8 Blood oranges 34 oz
1 Cara Cara orange 8 oz
1 Eureka lemon 9 oz
1 Navel orange 4.5 oz
1 Grapefruit (10 oz)
4-5 cups of cane sugar
3 cups of water (filtered is best)
¼ cup warm, mild honey


1.  Scrub the fruit in cold water.  If from the grocery, also wash it with hot water to remove wax.

2.  Using a sharp potato peeler, remove the colored zest from the fruit in wide strips.  Remove as little of the white pitch as possible.  Slice the peels into thin strips or confetti shapes as you wish.  To win the Blue Ribbon at the Fair, peel should be consistent in size.

3.  Trim the albedo (white pith) away from the flesh of the citrus with a sharp serrated knife.  Chop the flesh (pulp) into ½ inch dice and place in a large bowl.  The pith and seeds can be kept for making jelly or composted.

4.  Combine the sliced peel (zest), diced pulp, and water in a preserving pan, and boil gently for 30 minutes.  The peel should be tender, cooked all the way through.

5.  Add the sugar 1 cup at a time, stirring gently to dissolve, and bring the contents of the pan back to a boil.  After about 20 minutes test for a gel set. (Small plates or bowls in the freezer will give you a quick check for gel set).

6.  Optional ingredients:  You can add ¼ light honey at this point, to add more sweetness and flavor. And if you add alcohol, such as Grand Marnier, Campari or (to emphasize the pink color),  boil for an additional 30 seconds. Confirm the gel set.  Allow the marmalade to cool for 5 minutes, stirring gently occasionally to distribute the peel; be gentle so as not to stir bubbles into the marmalade.

7.  Ladle into 5-6  8 oz. jars (½ pint). Leave ¼” headspace.  Seal and process for 10 minutes in boiling hot water.  The water should be 1 -2” above the top of the jars.

  • Supplies needed for Winter Citrus Marmalade:
    • Soft brush for cleaning fruit
    • Potato or vegetable peeler
    • Large preserving pan (thick bottom)
    • Large pot for heating jars and lids.  Jars & lids should be hot when filled.
    • *Jar lifter
    • *Magnetic lid lifter
    • *Funnel
    • *Bubble Remover and head space measurer
    • Lid rack (optional)
    • Metal or heat proof ladle
    • Tongs for lifting lids, jars
    • Large bowl for debris (pith, seeds)
    • Quart measuring cup (sugar)
    • ¼ cup measuring cup (honey)
    • Sharp knife (serrated knife for peeling fruit
    • Long spoon or heat-proof long handle silicone spatula (to stir and scrape sides)
    • Tasting spoon(s)
    • 2-3 small bowls or plates for gel set testing (to go in freezer)
    • 6 clean ½ pint canning jars with lids and bands
    • Pot holders
    • Clean cloth for wiping rims of jars
    • Jar labels

*These supplies are included in the Five Piece Canning Tool Set

Timing:  One person working alone but consistently, should be able to get the marmalade into the final hot water bath in about 2 hours. It’s great to have help with the peeling and slicing.

* * * * *

Mandarin Oranges in Light Syrup

This is a UDSA approved recipe for raw-packing fresh fruit in light syrup.

  • Select firm, sweet, eating-ripe fruit
  • Prepare syrup, bring to a boil then lower and keep warm
    • Light Syrup Recipe – 1 cup sugar in 1 quart of water yields 4 ¾ cups syrup
  • Wash and peel fruit, remove as much pith as possible as it can taste bitter
  • Break fruit into sections
  • Fill jars with fruit
  • Pour syrup over fruit
  • Release any bubbles
  • Put on lids and rings, allow ½” headspace
  • Place jars in water bath canner and process.
  • Process for  10 minutes. Then, allow to cool 5 minutes in hot water
  • Remove from pan, cool completely for 12 – 24 hours

Amount of fruit:  ¾ lbs fresh fruit = 1 pint canned fruit
Preferred syrup:  Light Syrup – 20% sugar
Amount of syrup: Plan for ½ cup syrup per pint of fruit

* * * * * * *

Lime Syrup
This recipe makes an excellent limeade (2-3 tablespoons: 1 cup water over ice), and can be used in place of Rose’s Lime Juice or sweet-and-sour mix in alcoholic drinks.  The small Mexican limes give the most flavor.  My overly productive tree is a Bearss lime (also known as Tahitian or Persian lime), so that is what I use.

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Zest of 2 limes
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 slices of quarter-sized fresh ginger (optional)

1.  Combine the sugar, water, and lime zest in a medium saucepan.  Heat the mixture over very low heat until the sugar dissolves. Then bring the syrup to a boil and take it to about 230 degrees.

2.  Add the lime juice and return to a boil.  Pour through a strainer into pint jars.  Add lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Or strain the syrup into any bottle or jar, cap it tightly, and store the cooled container in the refrigerator, where the syrup should keep well for months.

3.  The ginger is optional.  I add a few slices of peeled ginger in step one.

4.  To mix limeade for a group:  2 cups Lime Syrup, 8 cups water over ice.  Add slices of fresh limes and mint for garnish.

* * * * * * *


I never saw my grandmother Opal use commercial pectin. And she didn’t make her own pectin, as far as I know.  She simply cooked fruit with sugar and acid (lemon juice) until it set.  Berries were either made into pies, frozen, or canned in light syrup.  I have great memories of her homemade Plum Jam and thick, spicy Apple Butter.  When I make pepper jelly, like Habanero Jelly, I use a cup of homemade apple pectin, which I’ve stored in the refrigerator.     –DH Morgan

Apple Pectin

 Use tart apples, like Granny Smith or slightly under ripe fruit. You can also use crabapples or quince.

  • Wash fruit, and remove stems and calyxes.  If you’re using quinces, rub off the fuzz.
  • Slice the fruit, including the cores.  Combine the fruit in a kettle with 2 cups water for each 1 pound of fruit.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the kettle, and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes or until the fruit is tender.
  • Empty the pulp and juice into a jelly bag and let the juice drip  into a bowl for at least 4 hours.  Pour the juice into a kettle and boil it rapidly until it is reduced by half.
  • Pour your product into small canning jars and either freeze it or hot-water bath can it.

Orange Pectin

Cut Valencia oranges in half.  Squeeze out the juice and save it for jelly, if you like.  Or just drink it!  Remove the seeds.  Scrape out the membranes and some of the white pith/albedo.  I like using a grapefruit spoon.  Fill a 2 cup measure with this material.  Use your blender to mix the membranes with 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 cups water.  Let this mixture sit for 4 hours.  Add 2 more cups water, and let the mixture sit for 12 hours.  Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain the juice through a sieve and then a jelly bag.  You should get about 2 cups of liquid.  This product can be refrigerated, frozen, or preserved in a hot water bath. If you’re going to use it within a week, store in the frig.

(Pectin recipes are adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s excellent book, The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and other Sweet Preserves.)



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