Spiced Pickled Oranges

This recipe was requested specifically by Montreal Rachael. The navel oranges are looking so good right now, it’s a good time to make orange pickles. These are best eaten with aged white cheddar or goat cheese on crackers. Actually I don’t think I have ever eaten them any other way. Choose oranges that are a nice mix between juice and fiber. The juice is cooked out in the pickling process so you will only be left with the pickled fiber and thats what tastes so good! Don’t use organic oranges unless they are fabulous and blemish-free. I used organic oranges once and ended up throwing the whole batch in the garbage because they were too juicy and had little spots on the skins that were magnified in appearance by being in a pickle jar.

Spiced Orange Slices

  • 4 large oranges
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C each cider vinegar and water
  • 1/4 C corn syrup
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods (Yes I have cardamom pods in my kitchen.)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns

1. Put the oranges in a saucepan and cover with water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes or until the oranges are tender. Drain and cool.

2. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, sterilize your jars by boiling for 15 minutes. This recipe should make 4 half-pint jars but I always do an extra or two.

3. Cut the oranges in half crosswise (run the knife down the center of the orange) and then in very thin slices. You should have half-moon shapes that show the radiating segment lines. (So wish I had taken a picture.)

4. Combine sugar, brown sugar, vinegar, water, corn syrup, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to mix all the flavours. Add the orange slices, cover and cook gently for 20 minutes. This means that there are small bubbles in the liquid – not no bubbles and not boiling. Remove the whole pot from the heat and let stand for 5 more minutes. Pick out the cinnamon and cardamom and throw them out.
**When you put the oranges into the liquid try to keep the halves together as you sliced them. They look prettier in the jar if the slices are all lined up next to their original neighbor.
**If the orange pieces start to really fall apart then it’s time to stop cooking. If you think there isn’t enough fiber-ey bits to make a nice pickle at this point then don’t bother canning them, just start again and cook for less time.

5. While the pickles are cooling heat up your lids and screwbands in a pot. You want the seals on the lids to be sticky.

6. Remove the hot jars from the canner and put them on a tea-towel that you don’t like very much. Remove the orange slices from the liquid with a slotted spoon and place them in the jars. Remember to try and keep like-slices next to each other so it will look pretty. You can really pack the slices down in the jars. Pour liquid and whole cloves over oranges up the shoulders of the jar. Process 10 minutes for half-pint and 15 minutes for pint jars.

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