Oranges – The Navel California variety are available in supermarkets and farmer’s markets all through the year, and all around the world. They look uniform in texture, colour and taste always. But only a person who has tasted a heirloom variety would appreciate the real difference between the two. I got to taste one of those by accident during a drive across California. We had stopped at a farm outlet and purchased a few not so good looking oranges as we were hungry. The juice oozed out as I peeled the orange and till date I have never had an orange that sweet and citrus at the same time.
These heirloom varieties of orange are available in small farms between the end of winter to spring every year. We rarely see them in the supermarkets these days. I learnt later on that, heirloom orange trees grow the most flavorful fruit, as they are grown from old trees. The older trees spend less energy on new growth, giving the best sweet citrus flavours to the fruits. But these heirloom varieties are location specific and adapt to the climate and soil of the region, making it impractical to mass produce and transport to other parts of the world.
Being In India, I came to love the local citrus fruits and its flavours. I have used the California oranges which are available in my next door supermarket and the Nagpur oranges too for many of my recipes. Nagpur oranges have a loose jacket and hence the rind cannot be peeled or used. The juice and pulp can be extracted like any other orange and used for its equivalent portion of it. So for the cordial today, make sure the quantity of the juice matches the proportions mentioned in the recipe if you are using the Indian oranges.
I use the lemons and do not add citric acid in my recipes, because Lemon juice increases your C vitamin intake, while Citric acid is a powder that doesn’t provide much in the way of nutrients. It is a commercial product and is used as a lemon substitute in almost all mass manufactured foods which require a lemon flavour or lemon as a preservative.
Try to buy organic oranges for this recipe as we will be using the rind of the oranges too. The peel is full of healthy minerals such as potassium and magnesium and vitamins B6, B2 and C.
Here is the recipe