Cuties are on sale again. I’m always so glad when its that time of year. Last time they were on sale, I bought a couple 5 pound boxes, thinking that we’d share one of the boxes. But then I got to thinking that maybe rather than sharing, we could try canning!
I found a fantastically inspiring blog with all kinds of crazy delicious sounding recipes at tigress can jam, and I found this recipe for canned clementines. So Hubbs and I gave it a shot. Hubbs was a great sport helping to peel all 5 pounds of oranges, and then separate them all into segments to fill the jars. Its pretty simple, really. You basically just stuff freshly boiled jars full of oranges, and then pour boiling sugar syrup into the jars and process like normal. Pretty easy. But a few things I learned in the process:
1. You might have wondered whether the oranges still have the pith on them. And yes they do (i wasn’t about to start at that tedious job) But did you know that commercial fruit packers use lye to dissolve that membrane away??? I think I’ll be content eating my lye-free skin-on mandarins from now on thank you very much!
2. I was so excited to get the jars going that I forgot to let out the air bubbles. That may or may not be the cause of
3. the bottoms of 3 of the jars breaking off as they were boiling! I have no idea if it was the air bubbles, or over-tightening of the lids or what. But it was weird.
4. The recipe recommended a light syrup, as in only 1/3 cup of sugar. Next time I think I’ll increase that amount. It may be leaving the pith on, but the oranges, once we broke into the jars for a taste, tasted really bitter. We decided thats a good thing in salads, but not so good on yogurt or general munching.
All in all, a great success and something I’ll definitely do again, especially if I’m interested in lye-free oranges. And that might be soon since I somehow ended up with 2 more boxes of cuties when I left the store the other day…
(and yes, every time I can I do line up all the jars on the window-sill to admire them with the sun shining through. It always makes me happy)