Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Oranges and lemons... and mandarines... must be winter.

Last night I went to the local branch meeting of the Green Party, as you do on the second Monday evening of the month....  
Paul brought some fruit from the backyard.... mandarines and oranges.  
So tonight after dinner I have been making cordial.  Cordial in Australia is a syrup that is diluted with water and/or ice in the summer for a really refreshing drink.  (My North American friends imagine something more alcoholic! but this is even a children's drink here.)
First the mandarines....  I have eaten them for three meals today and they are some of the best I have ever had.   Thanks Paul....
.... and the oranges... just a few, but lovely...
... and these are the lemons that I have had for a while.  These came from another friend's backyard.    I have used some but not all so far.  (I have shown these previously.)
Cordial is made very simply with sugar and water and flavouring.
   1 litre of water
   2lbs of sugar (a bit less than a kilo)
   1 desertspoon of citric acid
   coloured rind of 3 fruits
   juice of 6 fruits  (all citrus)
On a medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water first, then add the citric acid and stir because citric acid tries to stick n the bottom and burn.  I do this on the wood stove after dinner is cooked and the fire has died down.
Grate the rind from half of the fruits, and squeeze the juice out of all of them.
Add juice and rind to the syrup, cool and bottle.  There is enough sugar here to preserve this mixture...  no need to sterilise it, and no need for preservatives... sugar does the trick.
To drink it in summer,  it is diluted (to taste) with water and/or ice.
My Australian friends will be surprised that anyone needs instructions for this, but it isn't quite like Koolaid preparation, and my North American friends haven't usually seen cordial like this and have been shocked that I let my children drink "cordial"....  (what I would call a liqueur!)

These are the bottles that I've made over the past week or so, as I've had enough sugar for another batch.  These are ours for next summer, and are in pretty ordinary (wine) bottles.  The flagon contains olive oil, also local,  that costs $20/flagon (2l) here.
These are the two trendy bottles (below) that I found today... these are to give to the fruit suppliers...  the one on the left is lemon for Lenore, the other is half lemon and half orange for Paul.  (The glass contains my wine left over from dinner.)
Winter is the time to make preparations for the hotter months to come.  
I will be making marmelade in the next few days also.  That will be a mixture of oranges, lemons and mandarines too...  no grapefruit this year.

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