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I am on a ‘stop pinning and start doing’ funk of late (more blogs on this to come). So this is my latest ‘research it then actually do it’ adventure.

Our backyard has an amazing reaping-what-someone-else-sowed orange tree in it. It has produced over 100kgs of oranges this season, has just flowered again and is full of more teeny baby oranges again. There is still quite a few of the older fruit waay up high.

The reason there are so many orange trees around here I’m told is that it used to be an orchard for the cordial factory that used to be in the next street. So when a mention of homemade fruit cordial was made recently on a blog I read, I started googling for orange only recipes. Surely, our lovely tree would make lovely cordial given its history?

The sad thing is, it has never occurred to me before now that you could actually make cordial. That it didn’t just come from a factory somewhere. In just a couple of generations we have lost so much knowledge when it comes to this stuff. I had never tasted ‘real’ cordial that I clan remember.  We don’t buy generally cordial because it is full of numbers and whatever else, but coming into summer… How nice is an icy glass of fruity something?

Anyway, I found this recipe, and some others which also added citric acid but had less juice component. I made a bit of a hybrid, based on the quantities of orange I actually had… because in getting my 4 oranges out of the tree, reaching on my tip toes, I brought down a shower of ants and tiny spiders as the tree flicked away from the picked fruit. I did a crazy brush-off dance and decided to go with the 4 I had, not the 8 the recipe asked for!

So here is what I ended up doing:

Juice of 4 oranges (400ml juice – peeled thinly as possible to remove pith before juicing)
Zest of 2 oranges
400ml sugar syrup (boil 400g sugar in 400ml water, simmer ten mins until well dissolved)
15g citric acid

Pour sugar syrup into juice, and citric acid. Stir. Wait two hours for it to cool, strain and bottle. Except I didn’t have a bottle (who has bottles? And do they have to be a special kind?) so it lives in a jug in the fridge. I hope that’s ok…

Icy orange cordial in a glass.

Apologies for lame picture, when I grow some herbs I’ll be sure to add a mint spring… but it really did taste delish!

Verdict? This tastes amazing, better than bought cordial, more zingy, more fully flavoured (I actually don’t like regular orange cordial much at all). And it means I am using up the bounty of oranges I have in the back yard.

This is definitely something I’ll do again, maybe with some different fruity additions… Wondering what a orange raspberry concoction might taste like?

What old recipe have you tried or would you like to try?