How to de‐pith oranges

I hadn’t canned oranges until recently, but I thought they’d be a nice treat for when citrus fruits aren’t in season. I used small jelly jars or quarter-pint jars for the perfect snack size, but these can be canned in pints or quarts instead. These instructions also work for grapefruit.

How did I like the end result? Read on below the recipe to find out. (Hint…I’m not sure I’ll do this again or not. Haven’t ruled it out…but not real eager either.)

How to de‐pith oranges

This Page Includes:

Canning Oranges: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions


  • water bath canner
  • canning jars
  • canning seals and rings
  • jar lifter and canning funnel
  • large pot or blancher
  • ladle and bubble tool


  • oranges (I used mandarin oranges.)
  • sugar for syrup

Make your sugar syrup first.

Simply mix water and sugar and heat to boiling until sugar dissolves. You want this hot when you pack your jars. I used a light syrup but it is all up to your taste, so you can add more if you prefer.

  • Light syrup – 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water
  • Medium syrup – 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water

You can also make a syrup with honey if you don’t want to use processed sugar. I have not tried this, but it is safe to do.

  • Light honey syrup – 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
  • Medium honey syrup – 2 cups honey to 4 cups water

Preparing the oranges.

Wash and peel oranges, removing white from sections. The pith will leave a bitter taste, so take off as much as you can.

I used mandarin oranges because they are easy to peel and they also don’t have a lot of pith…the white stuff you pick off. You can use any orange you prefer. You can also use grapefruit. If you have larger seeds in your oranges, pick those out as well.

(Save the peels and make a homemade citrus cleaner.)

Pack jar with orange sections, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Then cover with hot syrup, again leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rim clean, and place on seal and ring. Put the jars in the canner as you fill them. Keep doing this until all your jars are filled and in the canner.

How to de‐pith oranges

Then process according to waterbath or steam canning directions for the time indicated on the chart in the recipe card below, adjusting for altitude. (Read more about adjusting for altitude here.)

Pinnable Recipe Card

How to de‐pith oranges

Canning Oranges


  • Oranges I used mandarin oranges
  • Sugar for syrup


  • Water bath canner
  • Canning jars, seals, and rings
  • Large pot or blancher
  • Canning funnel, lid lifter, and jar lifter
  • Ladle and bubble tool


For Raw Pack


  • 0-1,000 ft – 10 minutes
  • 1,001-6,000 ft – 15 minutes
  • Above 6,000 ft – 20 minutes
Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation
Last Updated: 7/6/2021

Canning Oranges Tips & FAQs

Sugar Syrup

Sugar is optional in this recipe. You can also substitute honey. I used a light syrup. Check this page for syrup options for canning fruit.

Tips for Filling Jars

The white part of oranges will cause bitterness, so be sure and spend a little time getting that off your orange pieces. When you fill your jars with the oranges, fill them tightly, but do not smash your orange sections down. You’ll just end up with mushy, smashed oranges when you open the jar.

How to de‐pith oranges

How Many Oranges?

The number of oranges required will largely depend on the size of your citrus. I used mandarin oranges, which are smaller than many oranges.

Approximate Amounts Required:

  • 5 mandarin oranges = 4 quarter-pint jars
  • 10 mandarin oranges = 4 half pint jars
  • 20 mandarin oranges = 4 pint jars
  • 40 mandarin oranges = 4 quart jars

How Long Do Canned Oranges Last?

Just like most home-canned foods, the general recommended shelf life is one year. But don’t throw your food away at a year. The quality will start to deteriorate more quickly after this so make a plan to use it up soon. But they will actually last on the shelf for several years, as long as they have been properly canned.

What to Do with Canned Oranges

You can use home canned oranges just as you would any canned oranges from the store. Simply eat them out of the jar, toss them in a fruit salad, add them to a dessert.

Can You Home Can Orange Juice?

I have not tried to can my own orange juice. I did a quick search and didn’t find any resources that I’d recommend that have tested recipes. A few people mentioned a recipe in a Ball Book but didn’t say which one. I don’t have it available. The thing that stood out to me is people mentioning that they ended up with bitter-tasting juice. Maybe that’s why it is not on any of the usual sites I use as a resource? The quality is just not good. I’ll have to do some more research and if I ever do try it myself…I’ll let you know!

So What Did Sharon Think of the End Result

True confessions here. I didn’t care for them. The texture of the oranges was chewy. They tasted good…but that texture wasn’t appealing. I may try this project again and see if maybe I needed to get more of the pith off…or use a different type of orange. They were sure easy to peel. Maybe the oranges I used were just tough?? Can oranges be tough?

There are very few things I’ve canned that I didn’t like. Greens was another one that I don’t care for. It could be just personal preference. So if you try this project and like the results, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

How to de‐pith oranges

Related Pages

Steam Canner: Ever Heard of Steam Canning? Learn How to Use One Here. Benefits: less water, less time, and it has been proven to be safe when the directions are properly followed.

Have you recently scored a great deal or a big batch of oranges?

Perhaps you are lucky enough to have an orange tree growing in the garden. We all know that oranges are rich in Vitamin C, and this sweet treat boasts a range of other great properties.

How to de‐pith oranges

Many people tend to put oranges in the fruit bowl and simply forget about them. You may find that several weeks go by before you remember to eat your oranges.

So, do oranges go bad? Or can you keep them on your kitchen counter without concern?

How to Store Oranges?

It is completely fine to store whole oranges at room temperature in a fruit bowl or in the pantry. This helps to ensure that your oranges are juicy and full of flavor. Refrigerating the oranges will make them last slightly longer, although they will not be as juicy.

If you have already peeled your orange, make sure you keep any leftover pieces in the fridge. Unpeeled oranges can also be stored in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. Juicing your oranges is also a good way to use them up before they spoil.

Long Term Storage Options

While freezing most types of food helps it to keep longer, this is not a good idea with oranges. This is because oranges have a high water content. This will break down the cell walls of the oranges and turn them to mush rather quickly.

How to de‐pith oranges

If you decide to freeze your oranges, it is best to peel, section, and remove the seeds first. Place your prepared oranges in an airtight container, pour over a little sugar syrup, and pop the container in the freezer.

Canning is another great way to store your oranges for a long time. Wash and peel the oranges and separate them into sections. Remove the pith and seeds and then pack the oranges in a sanitized jar.

How Long Do Oranges Last?

Like all types of fruit, oranges will go bad eventually. The average lifespan of an orange from the time it is picked from the tree is three weeks. This is assuming that the orange is kept at room temperature.

However, oranges are usually around a week old by the time you purchase them from the grocery store. In some cases, the oranges may be approaching the end of their lifespan by the time you purchase them.

How to de‐pith oranges

Storing unpeeled oranges in the fridge can extend their lifespan by up to two months. Once you have cut and peeled your oranges, they can keep in the fridge for up to two days. You can also store them at room temperature for a few hours.

If covered with sugar syrup and stored in an airtight container, frozen oranges can be stored for up to a year. If you have canned your oranges, you can store the jars at room temperature for up to a year. Your pantry or kitchen cabinet is the perfect place to store canned oranges.

How to Tell If Oranges are Bad?

If your orange is unpeeled, it may look perfectly fine as it starts to spoil. However, the peel of the orange will start to be soft and spongy. Gently press down on your orange to check whether it has become soft.

If you have stored your unpeeled oranges in the fridge, they may start to shrivel and become hard. However, this does not necessarily mean that they have spoiled. If you do not find other signs of spoilage, you can peel these oranges and juice them.

As oranges spoil, the peel will slowly develop white mold. The mold will quickly start to turn green. Nobody wants to eat moldy food; therefore, through those moldy oranges in the trash.

Take a good look…

When peeled oranges are about to spoil, they also start to show signs of discoloration. Check your orange segments for firmness as well as darker or lighter areas.

How to de‐pith oranges

If there are no visual clues, check out the smell of your oranges. Fresh oranges should have a mild and zesty scent. If you detect a sour, rotten, or fermented smell, throw those oranges in the trash.

The taste test…

If your orange has passed all the checks so far, it is time for the taste test. If the orange tastes perfectly fine, go ahead and eat it. If the flavor has deteriorated, it is time for a judgment call, although it is probably best to throw it away.

If your oranges are spongy, discolored, or have a strange smell, throw them in the trash. Oranges that have gone bad can cause nausea as the high acid content hits your stomach. In some cases, eating bad oranges can cause vomiting and produce other symptoms of food poisoning.

Looking for a Quality Juicer to Juice Your Oranges?

Or, if you prefer blending, take a look at our reviews of the Best Blenders under 100 Dollars, the Best Blenders For Protein Shakes, the Best Blenders For Crushing Ice, the Best Vitamix Blenders, or the Best Battery Powered Blenders currently on the market.

And, while on the subject of Juice, you may also want to know Does Orange Juice Go Bad?

Do Oranges Go Bad?

If you have several oranges that are about to go bad, this is the perfect opportunity to make some orange marmalade. When boiled with sugar, pectin, and other ingredients, your oranges will keep for several months. Orange marmalade is the perfect breakfast treat and tastes great when spread on buttered toast.

You can also use up your oranges in a wide range of other ways. Creating carrot cake with oranges and orange frosting is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Of course, you can also simply make a big batch of orange juice to give your health a boost.

It’s amazing to think that part of my dinner was prepared 16 months ago (here’s a link to how we dehydrated orange slices back then – some of those exact oranges were used in the following meal)…

People occasionally ask us what to do with some of our ‘odder’ ingredients – just as dried orange slices (they include the peel after all). People are often surprised when I simply say “eat them”:

How to de‐pith oranges

It’s not quite as simple as eating them straight from the jar – but it’s not far off.

I roughly chop them into smaller pieces and add them to marinades like so:

How to de‐pith oranges

Stir them in really well and make sure they get some time in the marinade (i.e. 20-60 minutes). The longer they sit, the more flavor they will impart – and the more marinade they will use to rehydrate themselves. I stir-fry the entire lot and eat away – you will eat the rind without even noticing (though it can give a pleasantly chewy texture).

The peel adds a pleasant bitterness – offset by the flavors of the marinade it has absorbed in the process of rehydration.

If you’d rather not eat the rind (or want to try), add the slices whole and it’s easier to separate the rehydrated flesh without eating the peel.

Here’s a rough recipe I used last night (I didn’t measure) to marinade some beef:

  • Dehydrated oranges. Lots. I quartered these mandarin-sized slices.
  • Fresh garlic (would have added ginger as well but didn’t have any)
  • Soy Sauce (use a fair bit – the beef and orange will suck them up)
  • Oyster Sauce (to flavor – I’m a saucy guy and went liberal)
  • Chile flakes (lots)
  • Honey (about a tablespoon – it’s a nice kiss with the hot peppers)
  • Salt (you don’t need a lot – the soy takes care of most of this)
  • Pepper (we used fine-grated white pepper).
  • Beef

My final product tasted a little too much like marinade. I added some stock (veggie or chicken would do), brought to a simmer, added a bit of corn starch (mixed separately in a cup with a bit of the hot liquid to avoid clumping) and thickened.

Let it all mix together and come to room temperature before cooking.I tossed it all in a cast iron pan (it splattered and made a fun mess that was easy to clean) and Dana stir-fried some veggies, garlic and sesame seeds separately. We served it all on rice (which was cooked with a few slices of dehydrated lemons and stock).

I love to use preserving as a method of making ingredients – something that isn’t complete by itself but takes another dish to a level it just couldn’t get to otherwise (even with ‘fresh’ product).

Any other favorite uses out there for these?

Only 3 days left to enter our sustainable seafood contest if you haven’t already – details are here)

Store whole or sliced Osage oranges in airtight glass or plastic containers after they have been preserved through drying. The dry fruits absorb moisture from their environment and decay quickly if they are not properly stored.

Decorate a house with preserved Osage oranges left whole or cut into slices. The Osage orange, also called a hedge apple, is the fruit of a sturdy shrub. Osage oranges are rumored to work as a pest control agent. Although useful pest repelling extracts have been harvested from the hedge apple, no scientific proof has come forward to support claims of success with the fruit itself. Keep Osage oranges around far beyond the harvest season through careful preservation.


Cut the stem of the Osage orange to harvest it from the tree before it is fully ripe. Rip fruits often fall from the hedge and have bruised spots.

Wrap twine around the circumference of the hedge apple. Turn the fruit and wrap a second line of twine around a circumference perpendicular to the first. Tie a knot in the twine where the two circles of twine meet.

Hang the twine-wrapped orange from the rafters or ceiling of an attic or other warm room. In about 30 days, the Osage orange will dry completely while retaining its green color.


Cut the stem of the Osage orange to harvest it from the tree before it is fully ripe. Preheat the oven to 150 F.

Slice the Osage orange into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a pizza screen or other perforated baking sheet. Slide the sheet onto the center rack of the preheated oven.

Turn on the convection fan if the oven has one. Crack the oven door slightly during the drying process to increase the ventilation, if the oven has no internal fan. Remove the slices to wire cooling racks when they are lightly browned and crisp.

  • Iowa State University: Facts and Myths Associated With “Hedge Apples”
  • West Virginia University: Preserving Flowers for Year-round Use
  • USDA Forest Service: Osage-Orange

Jeffrey Brian Airman is a writer, musician and food blogger. A 15-year veteran of the restaurant industry, Airman has used his experience to cover food, restaurants, cooking and do-it-yourself projects. Airman also studied nursing at San Diego State University.

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Peeling an orange really isn’t that difficult, it just takes a little instruction and practice. In fact, by the time you finish reading this article, you will be well-versed in several of the most popular orange peeling methods!

How to de‐pith oranges

  • Try to avoid older fruit with wrinkled or bruised skin, as it will be harder to peel and will not taste as good.
  • Oranges which are still slightly green or light orange in color may be slightly unripe and will be harder to peel as the skin will stick tightly to the fruit.
  • Some people advocate using your four fingernails to make the initial puncture, but this is more awkward and gets too much skin under your fingernails!
  • Letting the nail of your thumb grow a little longer than the rest of your fingernails may also help with your orange peeling.
  • Hold the orange over a plate in case you do happen to puncture the skin. This will make cleanup easier after you are finished peeling. Alternatively, a piece of paper towel will do the trick.
  • Once you become really skilled at orange peeling, you may be able to peel an orange in one peel. This is achieved by tearing the skin off in a circular motion around the circumference of the orange, until you’re left with the fruit in one hand and the twisted, snakelike peel in the other!

How to de‐pith oranges

How to de‐pith oranges

How to de‐pith oranges

How to de‐pith oranges

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About This Article

To peel an orange with your hands, choose an orange that’s bright, firm, and heavy. Puncture the skin near the top of the orange with your thumbnail and work your thumb under the peel. Gently tear off as big a section of skin as you can and continue until it’s all off. To peel with a knife, insert the pointed tip into the skin at the top of the orange and slice off the peel by rotating the orange around the knife. To peel with a spoon, make a 1 inch cut on the side of the orange, slicing through the skin but not the fruit. Insert a spoon and work off the peel. For more tips, including how to loosen the skin before peeling, read on!

How to de‐pith oranges Seville orange

Sour oranges are also called bitter oranges.

These are oranges that are not sweet tasting.

The best known sour oranges are Seville, Bouquet de Fleurs (also called Bouquet), Chinotto, and Bergamot.

Sour oranges are harvested beginning in late fall and the harvest continues through spring depending upon the region and climate.

Sour oranges have both a sour taste and an astringent or bitter taste.

The sourness of an orange is due to the fruit’s acidic acid–think of the taste of lemons and limes.

The bitterness of an orange is associated with its essential oils–think of the taste of orange rind or pith.

Sour is usually considered a more pleasant taste than bitter.

Sour oranges are almost never eaten out of hand or as a fresh fruit. They are used to make orange marmalade, sauces, chutney, candied fruit, pies, flavorings, and liqueurs such as Grand Marnier, curaçao, and Cointreau.

Sour orange fruit and blossoms are used in China to make teas and herbal medicines. They are also used in making orange flower water, perfumes, and rind oil.

Sour oranges usually have a deep-orange colored fruit, are large, and are juicy. They have a thick dimpled skin.

Sour oranges are higher in natural pectin—a gelling agent–than sweet oranges. That makes them ideal for use in marmalades, jellies, and preserves.

Best known sour orange varieties:

Seville (sometimes called bigarade orange) has a medium size fruit that is more flat in shape than a sweet orange. It has a deep orange skin that is rough and slightly loose. It can be seedy. It is juicy and very tart and sour tasting. The Seville is most often used for making marmalade.

Bouquet de Fleurs has a medium-sized, flattened fruit and orange-colored rind. It has few seeds and is easy to peel. It is juicy and sour tasting. Bouquet is considered the most fragrant of all oranges. It is used in the making of French perfumes.

Chinotto is also called the myrtle-leaf orange. It has a small flattened fruit and a deep orange rind that is loosely adherent. It can be seedy. It is juicy and sour. Chinotto is used for making candy in Italy, and it is used for making jellies and preserves.

Bergamot orange is a small, somewhat pear-shaped orange. It is said to be a cross between a pear lemon and Seville orange and grapefruit. The trees of this orange are called bergamots, and they are most successfully grown on the Ionian coast of Italy in the province of Reggio Calabria. This orange is used to make bergamot oil a component of many perfumes and teas such as Earl Grey tea.

Choose. Select an orange that is firm and heavy for its size. A heavy orange will be a juicy orange. Avoid oranges that are spongy or have mold. Rough brown russeting on the rind of an orange will not affect the flavor or quality. A slight greening of the orange rind will not affect the quality. An orange with a green tint to its rind can be ripe and ready for use.

Store. Oranges will keep in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator for up to a month, or they will store in a cool, dark place in the kitchen for a week.

Sour oranges facts and trivia. Sour oranges are sometimes referred to as Persian oranges. It is thought that sour oranges originated in the region of modern-day Iran.

Persian oranges traveled to southern Europe with Arab traders and were introduced into Italy in the eleventh century. Portuguese, Spanish, Arab, and Dutch sailors planted citrus along trade routes to prevent scurvy.

The sweet orange came to Europe in the fifteenth century from India, brought by Portuguese traders. It soon grew more popular than the sour orange that had preceded it.

Columbus brought orange seeds to Haiti on his second voyage in 1493. Oranges were introduced to Florida in 1513 by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.

How to de‐pith oranges

Move over, prescription drugs. There’s another cholesterol fighter in town, and you might already have it in your kitchen. Laboratory animals who ingested orange peels had a 32 to 40 percent decrease in LDL levels during a study performed by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The cholesterol-lowering polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) are not the only benefit of orange peels. Orange peels also are high in Vitamin C, calcium and pectin, a carbohydrate with probiotic properties. Some people believe it is an effective appetite suppressant. It also is used to aid digestion and treat colds. Experiment with different recipes to incorporate this nutrient-rich skin into your diet.

Wash your orange. An unwashed orange may contain chemicals, toxins and bacteria.

Cut the orange into at least four slices. Use your hands to remove the peel from each slice. Set the slices aside.

Grate the peels, using a grater, sharp knife, zester or vegetable peeler. Use the grated peel in your food by tossing it into a homemade batch of trail mix; adding it to a salad or desert; sneaking it into a smoothie; sprinkling it into a drink; dropping it into a bowl of oatmeal; or baking it into a cakes, cookies, brownies and pies.

Dehydrate the peels. Use a food dehydrator for 8 to 12 hours, at a temperature of 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Fold the dried pieces in half. If they stick together, they need additional time in the dehydrator.

Steep the peels in a hot cup of tea. Add a dash of ginger and honey to fight cough, cold and flu symptoms.

Cook the orange peels in sugar. This is known as candying. Drizzle your candied orange peels with chocolate or use them to top cakes and cupcakes.

How to de‐pith oranges

Pile them on the Litha altar. Valencia oranges in particular are associated with the high midsummer season, when they commonly come into harvest. Place a few on the Midsummer altar for a bright, natural adornment.

Include in creativity magic. I love creativity spells, and there really aren’t enough of them. Dried orange peel is a perfect addition to a creativity sachet.

Use as a sun symbol.
Oranges are an obvious sun symbol. Use them in sun magick and solar rites.

Leave dried orange peel by the bathroom sink. Or wherever you get ready in the morning. Oranges have an energizing effect. The bright hue and citrus flavor awaken the senses.

Use in spells for prosperity. Associated with abundance, oranges make the perfect addition spells of monetary success.

Blend dried orange into ritual incenses.
Oranges can be combined with a variety of other scents, particularly spicy ones like cinnamon, allspice and ginger, or florals like lavender. Decide on a theme for your sachet or incense, and experiment with one of orange’s compatible fragrances.

During the solar holidays, use orange as libation or as a substitute for ale. Fill your chalice with orange juice to welcome the sun back at Yule, or bid him farewell on Midsummer.

Use for ritual cleansing.
Combine a few drops of orange essential oil with a natural alcohol base like vodka, put it in a spray bottle, and spritz it over the altar for a lovely energy cleansing.

Make orange marmalade from scratch.
For the kitchen witch, make some orange marmalade from scratch and bless it for joy. Orange’s mood-lifting properties make it a natural anti-depressant. Makes a perfect gift for a friend in need of a pick-me-up after a rough time.

Carve it like a Jack-O-Lantern and use it as a natural candle holder for the altar. A lot of people do this for Samhain, but I like to carve sun symbols and use for the summer holidays. This tutorial shows you how.

If you like this post, and you’re interested in using oranges in your practice, click here to find ritual quality, hand dried orange peel.