What I Did With Inedible Oranges

(Canning…I can cross it off my bucket list.)

**Important Note: The following post may inspire you to try canning. If so, please read the comments below the post for safety tips. There are many safety issues regarding canning, which are essential to know before seriously taking on this hobby. Please use the post below as an inspiration, not a tutorial. Thank you! Marilyn, TFF
Homemade jelly!

Yesterday’s post on inedible fruit made me realize I had to act quick before it all spoiled. I have made orange cookies before, so that was not a challenge. So…I canned the oranges into orange jelly! (I still have those bruised apples to contend with…) My box of $3.99 tangerines turned into an additional $15 worth of items for canning.

I’m fairly certain there are very few canners in our town – even the local Bed, Bath & Beyond told me they don’t sell canning jars (shock!). Five stores later at a Stop & Shop, I found a decent deal of four jars for $5, not too terrible for starting out. (Luckily, I had the time yesterday to do this.)

Here’s my Canning 101 in a Day Course (I literally learned how to can the oranges in a day and I hope I did it right!). I quickly read up on canning on other sites that had Canning 101 articles. I figured it “looked” easy so why not try it out.

What I did:

  • found an easy orange jelly recipe from Farm Girl Tails, printed it out and read it about ten times
  • bought a manual juicer for $5 at Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • bought box of pectin (always a mysterious product to me…but now I know what it is) for $3 and change
  • bought those 8 ounce jars—four for $5 and change (and they are sort of pretty)
  • an extra bag of sugar that was on sale for $1.49

And, then I crossed my fingers and started canning.

The only issues I really had were:

  • the liquid foamed over onto my glass stove top, and you can imagine the mess of burnt sugar (I knew that would happen, and I was prepared…but I turned away for a second or two and that’s when it spilled over!)
  • as a result of above, my house smelled like burnt marshmallows
  • I boiled the orange rinds to make potpourri to eliminate the above marshmallow odor and it worked—and just tossed the rinds
  • taking jars out of boiling water is not fun, even with tongs
  • I think I have to go buy jar lids because evidently I need to take the canning rings off of the canning lids (different lids) so they don’t trap bacteria. Sigh…

The result was DELICIOUS! I opened a jar today (a bit too early according to the recipes) but I couldn’t wait. I had to have lunch, and I opted for PB&J—my jelly!

orange juice
A mess of seeds and rinds from about 12 small oranges which made about 3 1/2 cups of juice.

Step 1: Juice 10 oranges (I used 12 small tangerines) to yield over 3 cups of juice. Then strain the juice to eliminate random seeds and dander.

I used a wooden spoon to fish it all out, but if you have coffee filters or something more efficient, by all means, use that.




Here I added pectin, and naturally, it boiled over the second I took my eyes away from the stove.


Step 2: Put juice, a packet of pectin and 1/4 cup of sugar in a huge pot, bring to full boil (and don’t take your eyes off the stove because it will foam and boil over) and stir for a minute. Then, add the rest of the sugar (4 and 3/4 cups).

Don’t skimp on the sugar, by the way! Less sugar messes up the ability to properly preserve the jelly–it’s a science thing.

I’m not sure how to avoid the foam (the recipe I used said to put butter in, but I didn’t want to do that). My heat was on medium low. Try low to avoid foam, maybe that will help.


After pouring mixture into cans, then the cans go back into hot water.

Step 3: After spooning the heated mixture into the jars (leaving 1-2 inches from the top), make sure rims of jars are clean and not sticky. I placed the lids and then rings on as tightly as possible. When the water boiled, I placed each jar in the water for 5 minutes.

Taking them out was harrowing. I used heavy tongs, but there is a canning tool that makes the job easier (which I did not opt to buy).



The jars rested on the counter for 24 hours.

Step 4: After boiling the cans, rest them on the counter for 24 hours so the jelly can set. (I kept jiggling the jars to see if it was setting or not). They seemed to have set fully at around 19-20 hours.

(I mentioned this above, but you aren’t supposed to leave those rings on the jar because they can harbor bacteria. I have to buy regular lids for the jars now.)



Well, I opened one jar at around 21 hours and the jelly was set. I made a PB&J sandwich. I cannot tell you how delicious it was! If I can do it, anyone can do it, but please note the safety issues!

In the end, if I ever again have a bin full of inedible oranges, I’ll stick to making orange cookies.

~Marilyn, TFF

NOTE: Luckily, our readers never hesitate to chime in when there’s an issue with a post 🙂 Please remember to read the comments below for safety tips/issues. Thank you!


3 thoughts on “What I Did With Inedible Oranges

  1. While I laud your efforts to come up with a way to use up this fruit, I caution you to use proper home canning methods. https://www.freshpreserving.com/orange-jelly—ball-recipes-br1109.html Stick with Ball/Kerr or national sites vs blogs of unknown origin. Jam/jelly requires 1/4 of an inch of head space-too much head space is a safety issue. You can resolve this by emptying out all of the jars into a pan and warming it up. Using new (never reuse lids regardless of those who say you can) dome lids and reprocess the 1/4 inch headspace filled jars in a water bath. As far as rings are concerned, I personally prefer to take them off for storage, because a ring left on in storage can* lead to a false seal. The rings are put on “finger tight” not as tight as possible, which can also lead to a bad seal. I strongly suggest checking out a Ball canning book from the library or go to their website and review safe canning procedures. Once opened, if used pretty quickly, one can still use the opened dome lid with a metal ring, for storing in the fridge. Yes, Ball sells $$$ white plastic caps to use instead, they are good, I actually have some. I’ve also learned, however, that most mayo and peanut butter (18 oz jars) lids will also work. Love repurposing. Good luck!

    1. I second the points made by CT Mom…home canning is a great frugal tip, but absolutely must be done with precision to avoid contamination.
      My favorite resource is the book, “Put ‘Em Up!” by local author Sherri Brooks Vinton. She has great how-to videos on-line as well.

      1. Great info/resource! Thank you so much VB and CT Mom.

        Yes, in my reading and researching, I saw all the safety issues to be aware of when it comes to canning (which I knew about before, anyhow, and that made me wary of the process). That’s why I mentioned I can cross canning off my bucket list — I highly doubt I’ll can again because I don’t think I have the precision or patience necessary for the process. As for my four jars of jelly, one is almost gone so I’m sure the other three will be gone soon. Because of the safety issues, I’m not giving them away as gifts 🙂

        My post will hopefully inspire people to try canning, and if they continue, they definitely need to continue with serious care for the safety issues involved.

        Thanks CT Mom and VB!!! I will also add a note within the text to be sure to read your comments for safety issues.

        ~Marilyn, TFF

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