With its cheerful colour, refreshing taste and floral scent the orange is a welcome change from the plethora of root veg and dark, earthy greens of winter. Spanish citrus season provides fruits that are deliciously sweet and relatively inexpensive to buy.
A well-travelled fruit with origins in China and India; the orange first came to Europe along with the Romans, hitching a ride to Spain and Portugal with Moorish conquests in the 8th century. Rich Britains got their first taste as the orange found its way onto the banquet tables of Tudor England.
As the bitter tasting Seville also came into season this month, now is the time for marmalade making in many households. I’m particularly keen on the Pam Corbin recipe from the River Cottage handbook ‘Preserves’. Recently I fancied a change so opted to follow our Tudor ancestors by turning the whole fruit into a thick, unctuous preserve. While Henry VIII might have eaten this as part of a large final course of sweetmeats and fine desserts, I’m sure you will find your own uses for this deliciously bittersweet conserve.