Orange cordial is a simple non-alcoholic syrup that can be diluted with still or sparkling water. Made of three ingredients, this orange simple syrup quenches your thirst and refreshes you with a pleasant orange flavor.
What is orange cordial?
Orange cordial is a sweetened orange concentrate typically made from fresh oranges, leftover peels, and a sweetener. Served chilled, orange simple syrup is often used in cocktails and desserts or adds orange flavor to your tea.
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Why make homemade orange cordial?
Although purchasing a store-bought orange cordial may be more straightforward, you can avoid unwanted preservatives or artificial flavors by making it yourself.
You can adjust the strength and flavor and add other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon, or herbs.
Making cordials, wines or jams is a way to preserve fruits or herbs in season and enjoy them the whole year.
In addition, it makes a beautiful edible gift for friends and family who love baking or cooking.
Ingredients to make Orange cordial
we will be using juice and the zest from oranges for this recipe.
How much juice is in one orange fruit?
The size matters; however, medium-sized orange yields about 3-4 fluid ounces (89-118 mL) of juice. Thus to extract one cup of orange juice, we will need 4-5 oranges.
Valenciana Oranges are known for their high juice content and are often used for juicing. Other oranges, such as navel oranges and blood oranges, also have a relatively high juice content. However, other factors, such as the ripeness and freshness of the fruit, have an effect on the juice quantity.
Select oranges that are ripe, fresh, and unblemished. They should have a bright orange color and be heavy for their size, indicating a high water content and a good source of essential oils.
In addition, the juiciest fruits are the heaviest, so if you hold two oranges of the same size, the heaviest will give you the most juice!
Opt for organic oranges as they are not coated with a wax that keeps them looking fresh. Although the wax is safe to eat, you better de-wax nonorganic lemons before zesting. Just pour hot water over lemons in a colander and scrub them with a brush to remove the e wax coating. Dry them before zesting.
Before you squeeze all oranges, zest them first. Orange zest is packed with flavors and adds freshness to your homemade orange cordial.
You can use any kitchen tool you have at your disposal, from a zester and cheese grater to a potato peeler. To faster the process, rub the grater on the orange skin instead of the orange on the grater. Then, remove only the orange part, not the white pith, which makes the cordial bitter.
Syrups or cordials cannot exist without a sweetening agent. Many of the cordial recipes available online include white granulated sugar, which maintains the cordial's vivid orange hue and balances the tart flavor of oranges. Nevertheless, don't be discouraged from using healthier options. I usually opt for honey, but you can also use brown sugar, stevia, or icing sugar, depending on your preference.
I made this recipe with raw honey and was overjoyed with the outcome as the striking orange hue of cordial had been retained. In addition to its sweet taste, honey has enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants that are good for our well-being.
This ingredient is optional; however, it helps to preserve the cordial. I made the orange cordial concentrate without the citric acid, which lasts a couple of months if kept refrigerated. Citric acid can be replaced with tartaric acid.
Orange cordial recipe
First step: Zest oranges.
Wash five medium or four large organic oranges under lukewarm water, dry them and grate their zest.
Second step: Juice oranges.
Use a juicer or juice the oranges manually.
Third step: Steep orange zest.
I prefer steeping orange zest instead of boiling it to keep most of the vitamin C. Place the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl and pour 2 cups of cool pre-boiled water. Close the lid and steep it overnight to make the syrup darker and tastier.
Fourth step: Strain the mixture.
Strain the zest through a fine strainer or a cheesecloth and pour it into a saucepan.
Fifth step: Combining other ingredients.
Once it starts to simmer, reduce and remove it from the heat, letting it cool for 10 minutes.
Add the sweetener of your choice and citric acid (optional) and mix it. You can also add some cinnamon sticks or vanilla beans at this stage. Mildly warm it up to dissolve the sweetener.
Continue stirring until all dissolves. Pour the cordial into a clean, sterile bottle or jar, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Be careful when you use raw honey as it is very sensitive to higher temperatures than 37°C (98.6 F), causing the loss of nearly 200 components, part of which are antibacterial (4)
I like to use this thermometer.
Experiment with different fruits: Try another type of orange or citrus, such as lime, lemon, or grapefruit.
You can use other sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar or stevia. If you are using sugar, play with different kinds and quantities. Start with a smaller dose and add more if needed.
Maple Syrup will add a unique flavor to your cordial and will be less processed than sugar.
Agave nectar is a natural sweetener made from the sap of the agave plant. It is sweeter than sugar, so you may need to use less.
Stevia is made from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is much sweeter than sugar, so you may need to experiment to find the right amount to use.
Other natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, yacon syrup, etc.
You can experiment with them to find the one you prefer the most.
Add other flavors to your liking, such spices such as ginger, cloves or star anise.
Herbs combinations like Rosemary and mint, lavender and basil or elderflowers.
Also, the steeping time can vary depending on the desired strength of the flavor. You can increase the steeping time to several days, taste it, and stop it when you achieve the desired flavor.
Tips to make delicious citrus cordial
- For the best flavor and color, use fresh oranges for the juice and zest. Avoid using pre-squeezed or pre-packaged orange juice.
- Adjust the amount of sweetener to your preference. Start with the suggested amount and adjust accordingly.
- Once the cordial is ready, pour it into a clean, sterile bottle or jar, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
- To sterilize bottles for safe storage, wash the bottles and lids with hot, soapy water and rinse. Place the bottles in your oven at 120 C/248 F and dry in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove the hot bottles from the oven and allow to cool before adding the cordial. You can also use a dishwasher.
Cordial and liqueur are both sweet, flavored beverages, but they are made differently and have some key differences.
Cordial is a non-alcoholic sweet drink made from orange juice, zest, sweetener, and water, it's a concentrated syrup that is usually diluted with water or sparkling water.
Liqueur, on the other hand, is an alcoholic beverage made from a combination of distilled spirits, such as brandy or vodka, orange zest, herbs, and spices. It's also sweetened, but the level of sweetness can vary.
Both cordials and cordials are typically used in cooking and baking. While liqueurs are often sipped straight or on the rocks, cordials are diluted with water or sparkling water.
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