It's like oranges and...mostly oranges
March 4, 2015 12:06 PM   Subscribe

I have an orange tree, a kitchen (and supplies to waterbath can but not pressure can), and a freezer (but not a huge freezer). I would like interesting suggestions for what to do with these things. Level of difficulty: lower-carb household.

I'm sure I will make a little marmalade, and I will peel all the oranges I'm going to juice or section so I can freeze the zest, and I will just juice and freeze baggies/containers/cubes of juice for later use in cooking. But I'd also like to preserve some.

But like I said, we keep our carbs lower, so I just don't have that much use for marmalade or orange curd or dessert application. I would be interested in favorite recipes for (waterbath) canned or frozen sauces, chutneys, spicy preserves (I also have a plant full of overripe jalapenos, so...), savory preparations, things we can pair with protein.

I will also take recommendations for a non-arm-powered juicing device, as I have wrist and elbow issues that mean I can really only hand-juice about 4 oranges before I have to stop. I have a Kitchenaid Mixer and am considering the attachment, but am open to alternate suggestions.
posted by Lyn Never to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you drink? You could make a lovely orancello (like limocello, but with oranges) and sweeten it with a high grade non-sugar sweetener, like Swerve or liquid stevia extract instead of sugar. I'm thinking of doing that myself with this recipe, using Swerve in place of sugar.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:40 PM on March 4, 2015

You could make a lot of marmalade and give it away for Christmas.
posted by juliapangolin at 12:45 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Greetings from the other coast. I've been wondering about this, too. UC Davis made this pretty tolerably good fact sheet. Apparently you can can them without sugar. What do you do with canned oranges, though, I'm wondering. Surely nobody wants to eat such a thing...? Evidently it matters what kind of orange, too. (Navels don't freeze well? I had no idea.) I have noticed that they keep for a very long time in the fridge if you can keep them dry so that they don't mold. The peel mummifies and turns hard as a rock, but the innards stay pretty edible. I wonder... could you wax them at some point along their mummification journey? I just don't think a canned orange would be worth the slog. Ditto a frozen one. Anyway, here's this UCDavis fact sheet.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:53 PM on March 4, 2015

I think it depends on the variety of oranges.
Blood oranges are wonderful for everything, Valencia oranges are the best for juice, navel varieties are best for eating out of hand. It's worth figuring out what variety you have. And if you have more than you can use, you can always invite a group that harvests and donates fruit.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:04 PM on March 4, 2015

Would you consider donating them to a local food pantry?
posted by rubster at 1:05 PM on March 4, 2015

Oooh, what a wonderful problem to have.

My first recommendation is to whip up a batch of orange chicken tofu stir-fry, but after that, you definitely need some mojo sauce and orange chimimchurri in your life. To freeze either one, just pour/plop it into a little Tupperware cup and cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil.

Compound butter is a great way to use up and store fresh juice and/or zest. Orange-infused oil or vinegar are shelf-stable options along the same lines.

And if you run out of ways to eat them, make pomanders!
posted by divined by radio at 2:07 PM on March 4, 2015

Surely nobody wants to eat such a thing...

Canned oranges are enough of a thing that several companies offer them as a commercial product in both single serving and pint/quart sizes.
posted by Mitheral at 3:24 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Preserved oranges, maybe
posted by bunderful at 3:39 PM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

You could dehydrate them (you can do this in the oven). They will take up less space once dehydrated. You can then powder some of the dehydrated oranges for use in cooking, make your own orange pepper, etc. You can save some as slices to put in water. You can break them into pieces and add to loose teas. You can also add them to marinades.
posted by freezer cake at 5:30 PM on March 4, 2015

Likely this has already occurred to you, but as a lower-carb person myself, I put marmalade in plain greek yogurt for a high-protein breakfast. Homemade marmalade sounds even better to me.
posted by mchorn at 6:04 PM on March 4, 2015

America's Test Kitchen rated juicers recently, and they liked this one.

This may not be up your alley, but I love Orangina. Haven't tried making it yet, but I just got the juicer.
posted by islandeady at 5:43 AM on March 5, 2015

Mitheral, mandarins, of course! I forgot about mandarins. But aren't canned mandarins usually pretty cloyingly sweet?

Anyway, this thread has solved my problem. I'm going to pickle them per instructions in bunderful's link. I particularly like the sound of this part of the process: "...give it a sniff. If it smells like some kind of citrus crack you can’t stop sniffing, all is well. If after a few days, it starts smelling slightly alcoholic, like an ambrosial arancello (or whatever the lime and grapefruit versions are called), add another dash of salt and a little squeeze of lemon juice and check back the following day."

So if I screw up my orange pickle, I end up with orange limoncello? I can't lose!
posted by Don Pepino at 9:57 AM on March 5, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers so far, everyone! I am also intrigued by the preserved oranges (I also have a lemon tree, and I actually have my first batch of preserved lemons going now), so I'm going to try that soon. I'll report back.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:34 AM on March 5, 2015

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