Orange Blossom

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Dried Orange Flowers

Orange Blossom comprise flowers from the orange tree. Orange blossom is traditionally used to flavour drinks, e.g. neroli oils used in Coca-Cola and petitgrain in Pepsi Cola and Petit Grain (a spirit in France), or in the making of sweetmeats.

Orange blossom comes from bitter orange trees, Citrus x aurantium. Bitter orange covers a range of fruits such as Seville orange (this used to be called the Bigarade) for making marmalade and bergamot orange used for bergamot flavour in Earl Grey tea. Bitter orange is, also, used for orange flower water and neroli oil.

Orange leaves are arranged alternately and have an oval shape, being darker green on the upper side of its leaves than underneath, growing to 5 - 10cm in length (2 - 4 inches). Citrus trees are almost entirely infertile and are propagated through grafting, with the sweet orange often using bitter orange as the rootstock. They are grown outside in groves and must be grown in warmer temperatures of 16 - 29oC (60 - 85oF). The orange fruit is really a modified berry, with numerous seeds, is fleshy and soft with around 10 segments (or carpels) inside, and derives from a single ovary.

Orange blossom is softly floral and a beautiful pale yellow-white with a yellow centre for the stamens; the flavour of the orange blossoms comes from a mixture of terpenes as also found in lavender and roses with some extra flavour from methyl anthranilate that flavours concord grapes.

How To Make Orange Blossom Tisane

Orange flowers are generally used for decoration, but can be used for teas as a natural flavour against white tea or drunk solo to make a delicate tisane:

  1. Fill the kettle with more freshly-drawn cold water. When boiled, pour into the teapot or cup
  2. Leave to cool down for 1 - 2 minutes. At this stage, the water should have cooled down to around 80oC (175oF)
  3. Add a few orange leaves to the warm water
  4. Start to drink. Do not leave until the tea becomes too cold, with a lower temperature limit of 50oC (122oF)

Other Orange Flavourings

Further Reading

  • Stobart, T. (1970) Herbs, Spices and Flavourings, Penguin (republished 1977). ISBN 9780715348079.