They brighten the gloomiest of the January – February days with their bright, vibrant colour bringing the joy and warmth of Spain to our dank, wet, cold winter shores. The winter rain is crashing against my window as I write this but I will have some of the Seville orange marmalade in my porridge for breakfast.
So where do they come from? Well it’s in the name, Seville, Andalucia – the hot dry province of Southern Spain http://www.andalucia.com/cities/sevilla.htm where they know how to party! What we now call Seville oranges are a sour orange that actually came from China in the 10th century establishing themselves in the medieval Southern Spain in the 1100’s.
A seville orange smells like an orange, but has a rough, thick and bumpy, deep orange-coloured peel and a pale orange translucent flesh. It is sour, tart and bitter and full of seeds. It is not something you just eat, but you can use what is locked away in it to great effect. It’s skin is packed full of fragrant essential oils and it is extremely juicy.
It’s pre-cursor, the sour orange from China, is widely used in Chinese medicine for nausea, indigestion and constipation. When crushed, along with its leaves, it makes a soap substitute. No doubt it has a wide range of uses in the cosmetic industry and is certainly used in modern pharmaceuticals to help make weight loss products.
It’s most common food use in the UK is marmalade. We make it every year and have gradually learnt to incorporate into all sorts of things ,not just on toast. Like I said, I mix it in my porridge. It’s tart bitter sweetness added to a stock or gravy goes wonderfully with roast pork or game.
We also use them to make a gluten free cake – Seville Orange Polenta cake.
Here is the recipe and we have made a little video about how to make it. Do go and have a look here.