We are in the middle of the Seville orange season and marmalade makers up and down the country are buying their Sevilles to embark on the task of making a years supply of this delicious preserve.
Oranges originated in China and were brought to Europe via the Arabs and the spice trade .
All oranges were originally sour, like the Seville orange.
The word orange, narayam is Dravidian Indian and originated about3000 years ago. Narayam means “perfume within”.
The Arabs then took the word from the Persians and it became narandj, which was then softened by the Italians to arancia.
Orange in France became a key growing area and they called the fruit orange (pronounced orraanj).
In Europe the Seville orange is grown mainly for the English marmalade market, although bitter oranges are used in many sauces in Italy and other countries.
When using Seville oranges or other bitter oranges are used in cooking the distinctive taste is orangey and tangy, a depth of flavour not attained by using sweet oranges.
Jane Grigson uses them in her Duck a l’orange. I have tried this and it absolutely transforms the dish as the bitterness works really well with the fattiness of the duck. ( If you ever see kumquats, try using them with duck ).
If you are making a sauce with orange, try substituting some of the sweet orange juice with Seville orange juice. It really adds another dimension.
Seville oranges freeze really well. I freeze them whole and then defrost as needed, whether just for juice or for using the whole fruit.