k Orange Blossom Water k
At this time of the year in Ibiza many of the orange trees are still in blossom, we are lucky enough to have some in our garden so I decided to make the most of nature’s bounty. It’s a nice way to preserve the beautiful blossom and oh my god, the smell when making this is absolutely incredible, my fingers had a floral smell for days making a change from the usual whiff of garlic and onions.
Cooking with unusual ingredients can be very rewarding and we all love to impress with unusual recipes and flavours. Using orange blossom water or rose petal water gives such a unique taste and adds an incredible dimension to many Middle Eastern recipes such as tagines, cream based desserts and of course, amazing sticky baklava.
Although you can buy both scented and flavoured waters, there is something very satisfying about making your own – obviously you need access to plenty of orange blossom (or rose petals) and you must use distilled water, which is readily available in most supermarkets for using in steam irons.
Remember to use petals and blossom which are free of pesticides. Quantities and yields are dependent on how many blossom and petals you use. You can half this amount as I made a pretty large batch here.
Things You’ll Need
• 150g orange flower blossoms (or if making rose water use rose petals)
• 300ml distilled water
• A clean jar
• Mortar and pestle
1. Pick your petals and blossom early in the morning, ideally those which have grown completely organically. Rinse the petals and blossom carefully in cold water, taking care to remove all dirt and insects. Lay them in the sun or on a paper towel to dry for an hour or so.
2. Pick the petals off the blossom and grind them using a mortar and pestle. The point is to crush the petals into a paste, this will help allow the essential oils to release into the water.
3. Place them in a jar cover with distilled water – don’t go overboard with the water as you can always add more later.
4. Leave the jar, with the lid on, in the sun for a couple of weeks – check the scent, If it is too weak, continue to leave in the sun for another week or so. Strain the blossom water into a bowl using a sieve then transfer the liquid into a smaller sterilised jars (it will be fine for up to a year).
5. And voila…you will be known as a culinary genius.
Photography by Hayley Samuelson