These oranges preserved in brandy something else. They look exactly the same as the day you peeled them but have been sat in brandy and syrup for months. The taste is deceptive, you expect to taste a fresh orange but what happens when you preserve these oranges are the segments fill with the sweetened brandy, so with every bite, you get a burst of orange-infused brandy.
Oranges In Brandy
Soft fruits have a long history of being preserved in alcohol and oranges in brandy is a match made in heaven. Something transformative happens when soft, juicy fruits like oranges, clementines or mandarins are soaked in alcohol. At the same time as preserving the fruit, the alcohol also draws flavours into the fruit.
Alcohol is a solvent and the process of soaking oranges in brandy creates an osmotic effect, the juice of the orange is drawn into the liquid and the brandy and sugar syrup are drawn into the cells of the orange. The flavours meld together and when you bite into a preserved orange you mind is fooled by the effect of the brandy soaked fruit.
Another plus is the brandy can also be drunk as a great orange liqueur.
Alcohol As A Preservative
Alcohol is a natural preservative and oranges soaked in brandy would have been made for hundreds of year. Often served at Georgian dinner banquets these preserved oranges would have been a symbol of wealth and a lavish lifestyle.
What You Will Need To Preserve Oranges In Alcohol
Preserving oranges in this way is one of the easiest preserves you are likely to make so this is great for a complete novice and will last months in the kitchen cupboard without deteriorating and, if anything, gaining more and more flavour. All you will need to have is the following:
- A couple of litres sized Jars (sanitise the jars before you start using these instructions)
- Medium Pan
- Strainer (optional)
- 8 – 10 Small Oranges
- 350g Sugar
- 300ml Water
- 300ml Brandy
Preserved Oranges Method
1. To begin, combine the sugar and water in the pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Stir the sugar whilst it is heating to avoid scorching on the bottom of the pan.
2. Zest 3 of the oranges and set to one side. Take all the oranges and remove the skins with a knife. You want to remove the peel and the pith so all the orange segments are exposed.
3. Bring the sugar syrup to a simmer and then add the oranges to the syrup for 2 minutes each. You can do this in batches if need be. Roll them around in the syrup to ensure they get even coverage. After 2 minutes remove each orange and place in the jars.
4. Add the zest to the syrup and remove from the heat. Allow to cool before adding the brandy, if you add the brandy whilst the syrup is hot the syrup will go cloudy, this isn’t a problem it is just aesthetic.
5. Once the syrup is cool and combined with the brandy pour over the oranges in the jars, ensure all the fruit is covered and submerged. They will want to float but should sink a little after a few day. You may wish to strain the zest or you can leave it in for more flavour.
6. Seal the jars and allow the oranges to steep in the brandy for at least a month. They are fine left at room temperature and will last for up to a year but do break down as they age so they will get softer the longer you leave them. Once opened they should be fine for a few weeks in the fridge, ensure they are still submerged in the alcohol.