Thursday, January 5, 2023

Preserving Orange Gem Jelly, Discards and Delighting in the Light

"A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden, swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air."
~ Henry Ward Beecher

I love to work with citrus in the winter. Not only is it tasty and refreshing and full of the necessary vitamin C, but bright and beautiful in the somber chilly background of the season. Preserving food in jars is also very welcoming in this weather as the warmth canning brings into the kitchen is much appreciated. Plus, adding extra jars to the pantry shelf is indeed lovely too. Would you care to join me in preserving some delicious orange gem jelly? As the name suggests, it is reminiscent of those "Sunkist" sugared orange gem candies I loved as a child. Plus, it is quite simple to make.


Ingredients: 
  • 2 c. freshly squeezed, strained orange juice (from approx. 5-6 oranges) 
  • 1/3 c. freshly squeezed, strained lemon juice (from approx. 2 lemons) 
  • 2/3 c. water 
  • 6 tbsp. pectin (I buy it in bulk HERE or 1 box of Sure Jell)
  • long strip of orange peel (from oranges used above) 
  • 3 c. sugar (I use organic from Costco)

Directions:

Place the strained orange juice, lemon juice and water in a large cooking pot. Drop in the orange peel. Stir in the pectin until dissolved and bring to a boil (stirring frequently). Once liquid reaches a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, then add in the sugar and bring to another rolling boil (stirring frequently). Once liquid reaches another rolling boil, let it boil for one minute longer while stirring constantly so it doesn’t overflow. Remove from heat. Using tongs, remove strip of orange peel and discard. Skim off any foam quickly and ladle jelly into hot, sterilized half-pint (or quarter-pint) jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rim of jars with a dampened clean towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove jars and cool (out of the way of any drafts) on a kitchen towel once processing time is complete. 


Wait for 12 hours and then you may store your lovely jelly in the pantry.

Yield: 4 half-pint jars (or 8 1/4-pint jars)

Note: This recipe has been adapted from the “National Center for Food Preservation” website.



You will find the printable version of this recipe HERE should you like to add it to your "Preserving Notebook"


Though I was gifted one small basket of homegrown oranges, I was able to preserve so much from them! 

This was all produced for our home from the free basket of organic, homegrown oranges (last year). I thought it would be fun to include ways you can use up every last bit of this refreshing citrus fruit (no discards here!):

- 8 quarter-pint jars of orange gem jelly (recipe shared HERE)

- 8 half-pint jars of macerated marmalade (this was an experiment and a failure at that so I'm definitely not going to share this recipe!)


- 3 dehydrator trays dried zest (which I removed from the oranges before making the jelly - for medicinals, cooking, baking, DIY products, etc.)

- 1 dehydrator tray dried orange slices (to be used in tea blends, infusing large jars of sun tea, potpourri, garnish and my newest idea of placing under roasting poultry to impart flavor)


- a few quart jars of orange peel vinegar for making cleaning products.

- jar of orange peel ends for the freezer (when I save enough I will make pectin with them) The ends can also be used to make many other things - visit my ebook for 100+ ways to use fruit scraps for more ideas.


- 3 orange roses (for fun! - to embellish orange cakes, etc.) (The tutorial is also shared in my ebook - 100+ ways to use fruit scraps.)

And finally, you get to place all your resourceful homemade items on your pantry shelf just like Ma Ingalls would have done! 


“The sunshine came streaming through the windows into the house, and everything was so neat and pretty. The table was covered with a red cloth, and the cookstove was polished shining black. Through the bedroom door Laura could see the trundle bed in its place under the big bed. The pantry door stood wide open, giving the sight and smell of goodies on the shelves, and Black Susan came purring down the stairs from the attic, where she had been taking a nap."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods

I think the joy one gets from reading these pioneering classics is the ability to see the beauty in the ordinary. While the darkness seems to be looming in so many areas of life, these books (and Scripture - read Phil 4:8) remind us to glorify in the basic but beautiful blessings.  To enjoy the heavenly gifts...

Sunshine, the chirping of the birds, the early luscious spring growth and the aroma of wet earth, the cozy kitchen with the curtains flowing in the breeze, the smell of a newborn child, the smile from a toddler, the embrace from a child, the laughter shared with a teen, the steadfastness of a husband’s love, the eternal promises from Above.

Dearest reader, though it is winter, let us remember to delight in the Light.

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
"I am the light of the world.
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life."
~ John 8:12

I hope you enjoyed today's winter preservation post with a touch of simple pioneer nostalgia. It is raining this morning and the sound of the pitter-patter is so gentle and soothing. I'm looking forward to beginning my nesting for the day. Happy homemaking! Love, JES

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for this inspiration, I love your blog so much. Could you tell me, can I process oranges from the grocery store like this? Do I need to do anything to them aside from washing them very well?

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    1. Thank you!!! Yes, you absolutely can! But being you are going to use the peel, make sure you wash it really well in a vinegar/soap water solution to remove any chemicals. I would say buy organic but I know even that is questionable these days. I do hope you enjoy this little project should you do it! :) Happy homemaking!

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    2. Thank you! I am able to get organic but I will be sure to wash.

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  2. You make homemaking look pretty. I also love the quote by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Have a wonderful day!

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    1. Thank you Mrs. White! I think your beautiful words make homemaking look pretty too :) Have a lovely week ♥️♥️♥️

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  3. I love this blog.And this was right on time I just got an excess amount of oranges and tangelos,I may try mixing them to make this lovely gem jelly.It looks so pretty and happy.Thank you for sharing another lil "gem".
    Doneen

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    1. Thank you for sharing Doneen! That sounds like a wonderful flavor combination ♥️ I hope you try it!

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    2. It turned out beautifully.I love the combination.Thank you again ,this is definitely a keeper for my canning notebook.
      Doneen

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  4. I read every one of your posts as soon as it’s published. Thank you!

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  5. What a bright, lovely post. We enjoy orange jelly too, and I love how you stretched your basket of oranges to make so many different things. You truly used every part of the buffalo 😉 to create beauty and provision for your home.

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    1. Thank you ♥️ I did think of the buffalo again as I was writing this post :) Honestly it's such a great line "he" came up with 😉

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  6. I am so very happy to have you blogging again! I love your wisdom!! I want you to know for my birthday a couple years ago my husband bought ink for the printer, paper, report covers and a huge notebook so I could print off your ebook and have a hard copy! I love it - though we in the far north pay a mint for citrus. I made the orange roses for jar toppers of stove simmering spices for gifts~ please keep posting here!

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    1. Oh my goodness! That warms my heart ♥️ Thank you so much for sharing that with me ♥️♥️♥️

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  7. Hi Jes! Is it possible to use honey for sweetener or much less sugar? Love your literary quotes and references! 😊

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    1. Hi Alana, I'm with you there! Actually I reduced the sugar from the original recipe already. Believe it or not it was more. There is the issue of it not jelling if there isn't enough sugar but it can probably be reduced by another 1/2 cup at least as it gelled really well for me. You can use honey but there are certain ways to do that. I am actually taking a canning class on preserving with honey in February. I will be able to share more on that topic with confidence once I complete it. But from what I do know, it will definitely affect the flavor as honey is more distinct (some fruits I am okay with it and other fruits its not so tasty). Being honey is a liquid it may affect the set so I definitely wouldn't recommend a 1 to 1 replacement. Some websites suggest using half the amount of honey (So for 3 cups of sugar, use 1 1/2 cups of honey). Hope that makes sense! Happy experimenting!

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    2. I just remembered I touched on this subject in our blog article, WAYS TO USE HONEY:

      "According to the Simply Canning blog, when canning with honey, keep in mind that honey is sweeter. For every cup of sugar called for, replace with ¾ cup of honey. You will also need to remember that when you add honey you are adding liquid content. Therefore, reduce the other liquid content by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey added."

      Source:

      https://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2016/06/thomasinas-tip-sheet-ways-to-use-honey.html

      Hope this helps!

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    3. I loved this post as I love so many of your writings! I was looking for something in the garage and found I have lots of new lids and pectin. I'm inspired to try jelly and jam making during the winter now.

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  8. What a beautiful post! Your blog is my favorite. I have printed your recipes and bought your ebook....so thankful you are still writing..love Shirley

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  9. Lovely post and have enjoyed reading your posts again now you are back to more regular blogging. I have downloaded your e-book and wanted to have it printed out in the store as our home printer wouldn't do a good job but the people in the store said I couldn't do it as there was the issue of copyright. If you are happy for me to have it printed out properly can you mention that in a reply so I can show that? Much appreciated. Magda from Queensland, Australia

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    1. Hi Magda, thanks for your purchase 😊 Yes, anyone who purchases the ebook as you have done has permission to print out a copy.

      P.S. if this doesn’t work, you can send me your email (I won’t publish it) and I can send you a short written consent.

      Thank you so much ☺️

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  10. Great Post! I think we could use more of the ability to see the beauty in the ordinary. It would make every day special. What I love most about citrus in the Winter is how uplifting the scent is. Whether it is oranges or lemons or grapefruit, or any of them, the scent just makes me smile. I like how you try to use all of it in some way. It's like a game and challenge to find ways to use each bit and bob. I have jars of the peelings I dried for stove top potpourri. Which I started doing from reading your ebook. Thanks for all your ideas and recipes. And the gentle way you show us all how truly blessed we are. Amen~

    Darlene

















    Darlene

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  11. Such a lovely post and beautiful jam in your jars. 😊

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