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Saturday, October 3, 2009

making the most of citrus

Our orchard is heavy with blood oranges, lemons, limes and orange blossom - all crying out to be picked and dealt with in some fancy way. Not wanting to miss this opportunity I made up the following: Two bottles of limoncello two batches of glazed limes and blood oranges and 750ml of orange blossom cordial. I also zested and juiced a lot of excess fruit and froze it in ice-block trays for that rainy day when the fruit is scarce and the heady perfume of our orchard can come flooding back to me.

It really is a good idea to juice excess citrus. If you don't have an orchard buy lots when it's cheap this saves time by guaranteeing measurement and gives you a plentiful supply at any given moment. My ice-block trays hold 30ml a slot speeding up cooking times for future recipes. Blood oranges only have a very short season and are so worth capitalizing on in this time frame. There is nothing quite like their taste and flavour. I freeze all citrus zest but I blanch it three times from cold water starts before doing so. This takes away the bitter taste while softening it at the same time. Once the contents of the trays are frozen either wrap them in cling film or remove the blocks and place them in plastic bags for easier storage.
Glazed Blood Oranges
250ml water
250ml granulated sugar
6-8 medium sizd blood oranges
Use a 30cm (12 inch) frying pan and melt the sugar and water slowly over a low heat. Stir until boiling point then lower heat to a simmer and add the fruit, carefully. Don't worry about the pips and take the risk of damaging the fruit - they pop out during the cooking and can be removed with tongs - if you miss a few it doesn't matter. Cook until the fruit is sticky and the liquid has almost evaporated. Allow to cool and place each slice carefully into an airtight container and refrigerate. Substitute: limes but use about 10. Use either glazed fruit as a garnish for desserts, sliced pates or in drinks.
Orange Blossom Cordial (if this link breaks use the search option above)
In addition to my previously published recipe I strained the cordial and flowers through muslin before pouring into the sterilize bottle. I used 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water and it was quite tart. Add a little more sugar if you have a sweet tooth. Delicious either way. I only had borage flowers for my ice-blocks - multicoloured edible flowers look wonderful. Yield this time: 700ml

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