Christmas Oranges

21/07/2012 17:47

Juicy Oranges have all the scent of the season, and can be used in many ways.

Oranges are thought to have their origin in a sour fruit growing wild in the region of South West China and North East India as early as 2,500 BC. For thousands of years these bitter oranges were used mainly for their scent, rather than their eating qualities.

Clementines are often called
"Christmas oranges" because their limited growing season falls during the winter. Usually Clementines are only available from late November through early January, making them perfect for holiday gifts because they are just reaching their peak during the Christmas holiday. Giving Clementine oranges as a gift has become very popular.These tiny oranges can be used in everything from salads and sauces to preserves. Clementines are one of the few varieties of citrus fruits that are seedless. Because they are seedless and easy to peel Clementines are the ideal citrus fruit for kids.

Oranges are wonderful used in both sweet and savoury recipes.
Try a baked orange - Peel and remove pith from an orange, leaving it whole. Place the orange on a large square of tin foil, add a little butter, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon. Wrap the foil around the orange and place on a baking sheet, pop into the oven at 200C/gas 6, and cook for 20 minutes until softened, serve hot.

Oranges make great Pomanders, and are delightful Christmas gifts.
Use thin-skinned oranges and pierce holes in the skin with a cocktail stick, either all over or in an attractive pattern, then push cloves into the holes. Wrap each orange individually in a brown paper bag and place them in a warm place such as the airing cupboard, and leave to dry them to out slowly. Once the oranges have dried out, dust them with Orris root powder. Attach ribbons and hang them around the house for a glorious aroma.

A tradition we like to celebrate here in England is our Christingle service at the church, which means " Christ light" I remember this well when I was a child myself, each child was given an orange with a small candle inserted in the top and a band of red ribbon wrapped around it. The orange represents the "world" the red ribbon " Christ's blood" and the candle " Jesus- light of the world" Then carols are sung by candle light.

Don't just chuck that orange peel away, it can be used in many ways. Here are just a few useful ways -

To repel flies, ants, fleas and wasps ~ make a diluted citric peel oil insecticide- Using a paring knife, carefully peel the skin of an orange. Put the peel in a pan, cover with water and a lid and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes to release the oil. Strain the liquid into a small spray bottle.

As a Scent in the home ~ Boil orange peels on the stove with a few cloves to make your home filled with a natural, fresh scent.

As kindling in winter ~ Dried orange peels can be used as kindling in fire places. The flammable oils found inside the peels enable them to burn much longer than paper.