Saturday, November 27, 2010

Not as bitter as paying Stalin alimony, but still.

One of the advantages of being here in SoFla is that citrus grows on trees, as it were.

So, all of a sudden your backyard grove sprouts forth with several tons of fruit and they must be given use. In my case, we're talking about Seville (i.e. "bitter") oranges.

For the uninitiated, these are not defective oranges, these are oranges with especially low sugar content and are not so much bitter as really, really sour. Their juice is used in marinades, etc. in Caribbean cooking. (For future reference, their quality can be approximated by mixing orange juice, lime juice and lemon juice in a 2:1:1 ratio. But I digress.)

One of the biggest differences between regular oranges and bitter oranges is the peel and the aromatic content thereof. The bitter orange peel is reallllllly aromatic. So what to do?

There are several options, but the subject of this entry is making of bitters.

Here is my recipe:

1 (750-milliliter) bottle "grain alcohol" (the 190 --!-- proof stuff, you can get away with 151 proof if that's all they have, provided it's clear. Failing that, the highest proof vodka you can find.)
½ lb. orange peel strips
1 t. fennel seed
½ t. coriander seeds
2 cardamom pods
10 drops orange flower water
15 drops gentian extract

Put these in a glass bottle or jar (make sure you don't have a lot of airspace) and shake daily for a week, minimum. 2-3 weeks is ideal for me, but if you like sharper flavors, by all means let it go longer. Strain through a paper coffee filter and decant into a bottle. I like the clear glass swingtop bottles of "French lemonade."

But you do whatever works best.

Posted by Joke at 9:21 AM


  • Blogger HEATHER posted at 1:00 PM, November 27, 2010  
    You are the coolest person on the net! I bow to your awesomeness!
  • Anonymous kim at allconsuming posted at 5:30 PM, November 27, 2010  
    marmalade. Oh please tell me you're going to make some seville orange marmalade.

    VW is primel - which seems rather appropriate.

    Thought of you a lot this week and how you and yours would be in total food saturation heaven.
  • Blogger Paola posted at 3:44 AM, November 28, 2010  
    Oh yes, you are the king of spirits!
    Thank you.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 10:19 PM, November 28, 2010  
    Kim - I guess I could do that. (I made lime marmalade, and that was really nice and idiot-simple.)

  • Anonymous ruzcarmen di romo posted at 9:19 AM, November 29, 2010  
    Helpful in capital H! Thanks!
  • Blogger BabelBabe posted at 1:12 PM, November 29, 2010  
    reminds me a bit of making limoncello.
  • Blogger BreadBox posted at 10:30 PM, January 21, 2011  
    How would a bitter orange version of limoncello turn out?

  • Blogger Joke posted at 8:58 AM, February 05, 2011  
    Very well, actually. Like the love child of limoncello and Cointreau.
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