Tips for Making Jams and Jellies with Navel Oranges

By: The Hale Groves Team | On: | Category: Fruit Facts

Navel oranges, Valencia oranges and Clementines can be turned into delicious jams and jellies that you can enjoy with your family all year long. There is nothing tastier than homemade preserves, and it’s much easier to make preserves at home than you might think. Homemade preserves are wonderfully inexpensive holiday gifts that your friends and family will really appreciate. You can even trade preserves for other food you might like such as homemade tomato sauce.

You can enjoy sweet Clementine jelly over ice cream in the summer, or spoon rich tangerine jam over pound cake in the fall. The kids will love a change from the usual grape and strawberry jellies in their lunch sandwiches too. If you are just starting out learning how to make your own preserves at home here are some tips from canning experts that will help you make the best possible preserves:

Pectin is essential – You don’t have to use commercial pectin if you have allergies or if you have a chosen a dietary path that doesn’t include processed foods. However, pectin is the main ingredient in preserves after the fruit. It’s what solidifies the fruit and turns it into preserves. The more pectin the preserves contain the thicker the preserves will be. You can use natural pectin to make preserves by putting chunks of the fruit that you’re using into the jam base. Navel oranges, Clementines, tangerines and other fruits all contain natural pectin, so just adding the fruit to the base will be enough to make the preserves solidify.

Details matter – When you wash the fruit that you’re going to use in the preserves don’t soak it, simply wash it and dry it quickly. When you mash the fruit for the preserves it should still look like fruit. Don’t puree it, or the marmalade or jam won’t have the right consistency. If you’re not sure whether or not your jam or jelly is done all the way put a small amount into a glass preserves jar and stick it in the freezer. If it start to turn into a gel after sitting in the freezer for a few minutes then it’s done. Sometimes preserves made with navel oranges and citrus fruits can foam up after the pectin is added if you’re using commercial pectin. Even though it doesn’t look great it doesn’t ruin the preserves. Just scrape the foam off and put the preserves into jars like usual.

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