ORANGE BLOSSOM DAY: Orange Blossom Preserves
Orange Blossom Day is a wonderful excuse to post our first preserves recipe (this one by cookstr.com). There comes a time during orange season when blossoms literally rain down on the ground. That is when to pluck the petals, or just reach into the tree and gently pull off the petals. These ambrosial preserves are traditionally made with Seville oranges (the same fruit used to make marmalade), but blossoms from Navel or Valencia varieties do just as well. In Northern Morocco, this fragrant treat is savored by the teaspoonful on special occasions.
Cooking Time: Preparation time up to half a day, cooking time up to 20 mins
Serves: 1 cup, medium difficulty
1 tsp of salt
5 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of blemish-free orange petals
2 tbsps of granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of orange blossom or orange flower water
2 tbsps of fresh lemon juice
Equipment Needed: Large bowl, wooden spoon, colander, medium-sized saucepan, measuring cup
To rid the petals of bitterness, combine the salt and 2½ cups of the water in a large bowl. Add the petals and let stand about 45 minutes. Drain.
In a medium enamel or heavy-bottom saucepan, bring the remaining 3 cups water and 2 tablespoons sugar to a low boil. Add the petals and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Using a spoon or tweezers, pluck out any impurities that float to the surface.
Strain the liquid into a measuring cup. You will need 1½ cups to complete the recipe. Carefully transfer the petals to a platter or bowl and set aside. Return the strained liquid to the pan.
Add the remaining 1¼ cups of sugar, gently swish to blend, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid thickens to a light syrup consistency that coats the back of a wooden spoon, or until the temperature registers 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Gently stir in the petals, orange blossom water, and lemon juice.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the syrup reaches 230oF once again. Continue simmering, watching the mixture carefully, until it reaches the consistency you desire. The syrup should be a little thicker than molasses. (Remember, this isn’t a spread, but is served on its own as a treat!) The petals will turn slightly translucent and the syrup will turn pale gold in color.
Transfer to a sterilized jar and let cool. Seal and refrigerate. Will keep for up to 3 months in the sterilized jar. If the syrup turns too thick, place the jar in a warm-water bath to soften the contents before serving.