Monday, February 08, 2010

Oranges, sweet oranges

We have always enjoyed oranges and in time our own orange tree will produce a fair crop. This year the few remaining fruits are doing well in spite of their small size. We were surprised to find out that shop bought oranges are waxed and dyed orange so that their colour does not change with the passage of time. On one of our visits to my family in Barrios de la Vega we ate the most delicious, juicy and sweet oranges that my family gets from a shop in Palencia. The owners of this shop have a contract for the whole orange crop of some orange groves in the south of the country. The good thing with these oranges is that they are not waxed or dyed and as a result you can use the the skins for making jam or liqueurs. In addition, they are the best oranges we have ever tasted.
This Winter and during one of the visits to my family I brought back with me 50 kg of oranges, some of them even with mud on their skins- that goes to show how unprocessed the fruits are and how directly from the growers you get the fruits. Although we have eaten many of them fresh, they also taste great when you juice them fresh. A few kg have been turned into a very nice jam, I would not call it a marmalade as the fruits are very sweet and you do not get the required bitter taste to make marmalade. Later in the season we will use some of it to make chocolate and orange cake as a treat for special occasions. Some of the oranges were used to make a nice orange liqueur based on orujo, a raw spirit obtained from the distillation of the vegetable remains after wine making. To make this liqueur, we add to the orujo a bit of sugar, orange peel and some orange juice. Once it has infused for 1 month we strain it and occasionally have it chilled- the best way to serve it. And as we say here in Spain: Salud!

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