How to Can Grapefruit for Long-Term Preservation

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How to Can Grapefruit for Long-Term Preservation


Grapefruit is a powerful, disease-fighting fruit that provides a lot of nutritional benefits that far outweigh its bitter taste.  Grapefruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C, and it also contains a number of compounds that help to promote the heart and circulatory health.  Grapefruit is also considered to be a potent blood cleanser and booster of the immune system.  Among many of its other accomplishments, grapefruit may also help to prevent the formation of kidney or gallstones. 

The following recipe is a simple and effective way to process grapefruit, make it a little sweeter, and let you store it in your emergency stockpile over the long-term.


2 lbs of grapefruit for every quart

6 cups of water

4 cups of fresh orange juice, not from concentrate (optional)

4 cups of non-refined sugar (optional)

Getting Started


The secret to the success of any citrus canning recipe is to get the sweetness of the syrup just right.  You can adjust the syrup to your liking by changing the proportions of sugar to water or orange juice to water.  Orange juice makes for a fantastic alternative to sugar, and the sugar in the juice is also much healthier than the granulated variety.  However, the syrup will not be all that thick, and not everyone likes the orange flavoring that mingles with the grapefruit.  To make straight syrup, use more sugar and less water to create a thicker product, or less sugar and more water to make the syrup lighter. 

Keep in mind that thick syrup will produce a finished product that is not as healthy as one with light syrup.  While you still get the nutrients from the grapefruit, the sugar in heavy syrup adds a significant amount of empty calories into the mix.  You want to try to keep empty calories to a minimum in your emergency food stockpile, but there’s always room for some sweet and delicious treats as well, and this makes for a great option.

It’s a good idea to warm the canning jars before preparing this recipe as your hands will be full with making the syrup and cutting up the grapefruit.  You can decide whether or not to prepare the syrup or grapefruit first, as each have their advantages and disadvantages according to who you listen to. 

On one hand, cutting the grapefruit into sections and then placing them in the jars while the syrup is being prepared exposes them to oxygen and may reduce their freshness and potency.  On the other hand, it may be a challenge to peel and cut the grapefruit while also stirring the syrup and preventing it from burning.  Choose the method that works best for you, and if you’re lucky to have some help in the kitchen, you can accomplish both steps simultaneously. 

In any case, to prepare the syrup, add the sugar or juice and the water to a stockpot.  Bring it to a simmer, and stir continually until all of the sugar has dissolved or juice starts to froth and bubble.  Bring it to a boil and immediately remove from heat.

Processing and Storage


Divide the pieces of grapefruit so that each jar is filled evenly before carefully ladling in the hot syrup.  Fill each jar until ½ inch of headspace remains.  Remove any excess air bubbles and add more syrup if needed.  Carefully wipe down the rims with a damp cloth to remove any syrup or food particles, and make sure all of the stickiness has been cleaned off before screwing on and tightening the lid assemblies.

Place the jars into a preheated water bath canner, and make sure they are submerged by at least 2 inches of water.  Process the grapefruit for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as needed.  Remove the jars from the canner and place on the counter or tabletop covered with some cloth until they cool and reach room temperature.  Check the quality of the seals, label and date the jars that you’ll be storing.  They can be stored for up to a year in a cool, dry place. 

You can re-process defective jars but the grapefruit may be mushy and unappetizing later on.  You can also consume them right away or within a few days if the grapefruit is in an airtight container in a refrigerator. 

Try this recipe for yourself today, and see how grapefruit can actually turn out to be a delicious and nutritious addition to your emergency stockpile.