We have a fabulous, well established orange tree that crops twice a year. We juice them, eat them, give them away, and make all sorts of things with them- orange marmalade, orange chutney, and these……..
Orange Brandy Liqueur
Now this is a great way to use up excess oranges!! We adapted the recipe in The Women’s Weekly book ‘The Book of Preserves’ which is:
3 oranges, 1 cup brandy, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/4 tsp each of ground coriander and cinnamon. We prefer it without the spices, and make it in much more bulk quantities!
There are a couple of ways of doing it- one is to thinly peel the oranges then juice them, and then soak the chopped peel, juice, sugar and brandy together. If we just have so many oranges and just want to get a lot made, we cut the oranges (having removed any blemishes first), then put them in a food processor to chop them all up. We then pour that (juice, peel, pith etc) into a large bowl (or several- depending on how many we have done!) and add the sugar and brandy.
After steeping for 2- 3 days, we remove the bulk of the orange pulp (or peel if using the first method) with a slotted spoon, and strain the mixture through muslin into a sterilised jug, and then into sterilised bottles.
The first method takes more time in the first stage, but is much quicker and easier to strain and bottle. The second method with the food processor is really quick and easy in the first stage, but is quite messy and slow to strain.
Both result in a slightly different product, but both are delicious and keep for ages in a cool dark room or cupboard! The liqueur is sweet, tangy and alcoholic and is great on its own or in a glass with soda water added.
Having a dehydrator is great! We slice the oranges thinly using a mandoline, then dehydrate and store in jars for a quick and tasty snack. They also make great garnish for cakes, cheesecake etc.
After drying, we jar them up and store in the produce room. Sometimes they tend to lose their crispiness- if that happens just pop them back in the dehydrator for a while before serving so they crisp up again. These are also delicious broken in half and dipped in chocolate for a tasty after dinner treat!
Citrus vinegar, whether made from oranges or lemons or even a mix of any citrus, makes a great natural cleaning product. All the left over citrus peel (in this case the oranges) goes into a big jar, which is then filled with white vinegar and soaked for at least two weeks (we usually just leave ours for weeks and weeks- straining off the infused vinegar when we need it and topping up with fresh white vinegar. Put the strained liquid into a spray bottle (half and half with water), and use as a spray and wipe cleaner!
Citrus infused Oil
Lemon or orange infused oil is delicious as a salad dressing or to use in a marinade. Just place dried fruit or peel into a bottle and top up with olive oil. Leave for a few weeks to infuse before using.