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Sunshine in a Jar

You can prepare these orange slices in minutes for someone with the sniffles. I learned to make this dessert when I was a college student in London because my “bed sit”—the British term for a very small studio apartment—had no kitchen. The sugar and spices thicken the juice from the orange slices into a delicious syrup. This is yummy, sweet sunshine in a jar.

Try to find small to medium oranges whose diameter is no larger than the diameter of the quart jar you will use.

Overall prep time: 2 hours
Active prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Shelf life: 3 to 4 days refrigerated in a tightly covered jar
Makes 1 quart

Sunshine in a Jar (with Plenty of Vitamin C)


  • 2/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 to 4 oranges
  • 1 long cinnamon stick (5 inches), or 2 shorter ones
  • Juice of 1 lemon



  1. Combine the sugar, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and set the mixture aside. Slice the tops and bottoms off the oranges. Using a flexible paring knife, cut away the orange peel, removing all the white pith with the peel. Slice the oranges crosswise 1/3 inch thick.
  2. Starting with the widest slices, stack the orange slices in a 1-quart wide-mouthed glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, sprinkling each slice with a little of the sugar-and-spice mixture. When the jar is full, insert one or two cinnamon sticks through the center of the stacked oranges to hold them in place and infuse them with additional flavor.
  3. Add the lemon juice and any remaining sugar-and-spice mixture to the jar. Refrigerate the jar for at least 2 hours, or until the sugar has dissolved and thickened the juice. Store the jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble and deliver the gift.


Wrapping It Up

A paper bow made of scraps is a cute way to top the jar and use up that pile of odd bits of pretty paper and card stock you just can’t bear to throw away.

Suggested Supplies

  • Paper and card-stock scraps
  • Double-face tape

How to Make a Paper Bow Jar Topper

  1. Cut the scraps into 1-inch wide strips.
  2. Make small loops with the strips, joining the ends of the loops together with a strip of double-face tape. Press the loops into place on the jar lid. Keep adding loops, varying their sizes, until the entire lid is covered and you achieve the bow look you like. You can also cover the lid rim with a paper strip or a ribbon, using the double-face tape to hold it in place.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kay October 20, 2011 at 4:23 am

This sounds really great. Could you use the syrup in a tea or a hot toddy? or is it eaten as is? Can’t wait to try it!


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