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Archive for January, 2014

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White frost is coated all around outside this morning and the sun is hidden behind a thick blanket of grey cloud.  As I stand waiting for the kettle to boil for my first coffee of the morning, I can feel the chill of the frost seep into my toes working its way up to my bones.  Spring seems a long way off.  The day may look a little bleak and cold but sitting just a yard away on my kitchen counter is a bowl of beautiful Seville oranges, thick wrinkled orange globes.  These pithy, pippy globes of sunshine will, when cut open and placed into a preserving pan, fill the whole house with a sweet citrus perfume reminding me of summers past.  Sadly their beautiful colour and perfume disguises their bitter tasting fruit and their abundance of pips lend themselves to making wonderful pectin.

Marmalade making has begun to enjoy a come back and the World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival is helping.  Each year the numbers of entries grow.  I have already posted my gold winning recipe here.

Marmalade is not the only use of the Seville orange.  They can also be used to make a unusual and beautiful liqueur.  The method is very similar to that used for sloe gin but with a much longer infuse –  in fact a three year infuse.

Three years ago I used two different gins to see if there was a difference in the colour and taste.  When I have made sloe gin I have noticed that different brands of gin do alter the finished taste.  With the Sevilles I made two jars, one with Gordon’s gin and one with Beefeater s gin. Even after one year I could see there is a difference in the colour.

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Colour after 3 years and with peel removed.

The first year I didn’t touch the Seville gin and left it to infuse uninterrupted, the second year I needed to see what was happening so I sampled a little.  I found that it gave off a beautiful citrus perfume, the taste was certainly infused with the Seville orange flavour but it still had that bitter taste that the oranges have so I added another 60gms of sugar. Again shaking daily until the sugar had dissolved and then left undisturbed.

As with making sloe gin I have found over the years that the recipe is so simple and yet the smallest of changes can make a big difference.  I always put a label on the jar with the date, type of gin used and anything else that is useful such as any additions.  I also keep a notebook (some say I have too much time on my hands, but they also like to drink the finished product!).

As this is solely for my own consumption I can add as much sugar during the process to suit my own tastes.  Remember you can add but you can’t take away so if you do add any more sugar better to add a little at a time and test.  Once made and bottled you will find if you can keep it over a year the taste does change into a more mellow finish.

Seville Orange Gin

Ingredients

4/5 Seville oranges

1 litre gin

250g granulated sugar – I added a further 60gms after the first year.

A couple of cloves

Method

Peel the oranges.  I find using a potato peeler works for me best as you don’t want the pith.

Place the orange peel, gin, sugar and cloves if using into a clean screw top jar, Kilner jars are good for this.  Secure the jar tightly and shake.  Place into a dry, dark cupboard, shaking daily until the sugar has dissolved.  Leave for three years.

N.B.  For me I much prefer a sweeter taste and would add even more sugar than listed above.  As also noted above the brand of gin makes a big difference to the finished taste.

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