[Sca-cooks] Oranges from Isabella

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 29 11:44:50 PDT 2008

Isabella wrote:
>I have been curious for a long time about the history of all
>citrus, and have had a running "discussion" (;-) with Dan about which ones
>are in our period. The only one we have both agreed on was lemons.

You ought to be agreeing on Seville/bitter oranges, too. Clearly 
period, as they are called for in a number of Arabic-language, 
Spanish, German, and other recipes. We've discussed them numerous 
times on this list.

If one doesn't have any fresh Seville/bitter oranges, one has a few 
options for substitutions:
-- in sweet dishes: when i couldn't find them fresh, i've used bitter 
orange marmalade, since traditional orange marmalade is made of them;
-- in savory dishes: i have tasted actual Seville orange juice and it 
doesn't taste much like sweet orange juice. To me it tasted more like 
a combo of tangerine, lemon, and grapefruit juices... only much more 
acid. So i've used combinations of orange or tangerine, grapefruit, 
and lemon juices for savory cooking.

For Maire and others who live where fresh citrus is too expensive, i 
have no suggestions, other than buying some (Mexican? Spanish?) brand 
of bottled Seville/bitter orange juice that has been recommended on 
this list, but i haven't tried it, so i can't compare it to the 

Here in NoCal we have a veritable citrus orgy from December through 
February, with Seville/bitter oranges, multiple kinds of blood 
oranges and tangerines/mandarins/clementines and grapefruits and 
lemons and limes, as well as "oddities" such as citron (especially 
Buddha hand citron), bergamot oranges, pomelos, ugli fruit (now with 
a "nicer" new name i don't remember), and various kinds of Middle 
Eastern lemons and limes that are not sour. The key limes i've seen 
are quite petite, although i haven't bought any yet - i guess they 
are from Florida - i'll have to read the tag next time i'm in the 
Berkeley Bowl.

The one citrus i long to find fresh is jeruk nipis, which is commonly 
used in Indonesia for juice (to drink). The skin is the medium-dark 
green of a lime, the meat is pale orange, and the flavor is somewhere 
between orange and tangerine and lemon and lime. The closest i can 
get is buying half-gallons of kalimansi juice (the Philippine 
equivalent of jeruk nipis), but the fresh fruit would be nicer.

As for preserved/salted lemons, they are called for in a few 
SCA-period Arabic-language recipes.

Making Moroccan salted lemons is easy. One needs a sterilized jar and 
lid, non-iodized salt, lemons, and some lemon juice. Wash the lemons; 
slice each from bud end to stem end, but not all the way through; 
pack full of salt; squish back together; put into the jar; and 
repeat, stuffing the lemons tightly into the jar - you want some 
juice to come out; fill the jar with more salt and some additional 
lemon juice, so that the lemons are covered; screw on lid tightly; 
shake well. I've read both to leave them in a warm place and to keep 
them in a dark place. I wasn't too fussy. I left the jar out, 
although not in direct sun. Shake the jar every few days and use in 
about a month. The lemon peel should be rather translucent.

The peel is generally what is called for in recipes - usually rinsed 
first to reduce the saltiness - there's usually very little pulp 
left, so i don't worry about it. I've used them in a variety of 
dishes, not necessarily medieval or Moroccan - such as lightly 
steamed broccoli tossed with good olive oil, sliced soaked sun-dried 
tomatoes, minced preserved lemon peel, smashed garlic, and some fresh 
herbs, minced, torn, or chiffonaded.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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