This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
In America Orange tea is taken frequently as a substitute for the China tea, being made by pressing out the Orange juice, and adding it when strained through muslin, to an equal quantity of boiling water, with sugar. Orange butter was a former confection, as told of in the Closet of Rarities (1706). It is made, in the Dutch way, as follows: "Take of new cream a gallon, beat this up to a thickness; then add four ounces of Orange-flower water, with the same quantity of red wine; and being thus become of the thickness of butter, it retains both the colour, and scent of an orange." In former English times it was a custom at dessert to squeeze the Orange juice into a wineglass, and so drink it. "Dr. Samuel Johnson would suffer his next neighbour at table to squeeze the juice of China Oranges into his wineglass after dinner, else perchance, because the good man had neither straight sight, nor steady nerves, the juice would have run aside, and trickled into the Doctor's capacious shoes." In his day a perfumed snuff was made, known as "Orangery;" "Oh, lord! Sir! you must never sneeze: 'tis as unbecoming after Orangery as grace after meat." Parkinson relates, in his Herbal: "That the seeds (pips) of the Orange, being set into the ground in the spring-time, will quickly grow up; and when they are a finger's length high, being pluck't up, and put among sallets, will give them a marvellous fine spicy aromatick taste which is very acceptable." Spenser, and Milton, tell of the Orange as "the veritable golden apple presented by Jupiter to Juno on the day of their nuptials "; hence has perhaps arisen its more modern association with marriage rites.
The delicious perfumes of neroli and napha, exhaled by the flowers, are cordial and soothing: therefore appropriate for the bride; whilst the bridegroom is blithely gay "with joy in his heart, and a gardenia in his button hole." Virgil in classic times wrote about the Aureum malum: "Aurea mala decern misi, eras altera mittam." At Paraguay in South America there are forests of Orange trees, the same region being full of small establishments for extracting the Orange essence, which the natives regard as a valuable curative ointment; they apply it to wounds, and cuts, declaring that it has such healing qualities that it permeates every part of the affected flesh, restoring the injured structures very quickly.
When Alice (in Wonderland) "went for miles and miles down the rabbit's dark hole, she passed cupboards, and book-shelves during her long fall, and from one of the latter she took a jar as she passed, which was labelled in large letters Orange Marmalade; but to her great disappointment it was empty. She did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody underneath, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it." For making Orange Marmalade: "To sixteen bitter (Seville) Oranges allow five lemons, cutting these into thin slices, and removing the pips; put them into a basin, and cover with water. To each pound of fruit put three pints of water, and set it aside until the next day; then boil until the peel can be easily crushed with the fingers, and put it away again until the third day, when to every pound of fruit, and liquor, add one pound of loaf sugar; boil briskly for from three-quarters to one hour, or until it sets when tried upon a plate".
This is a reliable recipe which has proved highly successful, and the Marmalade will keep good for years. Pepys (March 9th, 1669), when at his "cozen Turner's house, drank (which he never did before) a glass of a pint, I believe, at one draught of the juice of Oranges, of whose peel they make comfits; and here they drink the juice as wine, with sugar; and it is very fine drink, but, it being new, I was doubtful whether it might not do me hurt".
Mandarin, Or Tangerine Orange Preserve, may be prepared thus, after a Dutch recipe: "Take two pounds more sugar than the weight of the (Tangerine) Oranges; rasp the peel with a piece of glass (which prevents it from tasting of steel), or with a blunt knife; cut two slits across the bottom of each Orange; lay them in water for two, or three days, changing the water each day; boil the syrup, and pour it when tepid over the fruit; then leave it for a night; let it simmer slowly on the second, and third days; then bottle, and cork well".
For Orange jelly, only to be made when Oranges are in season, so as to be juicy, and of proper flavour, ("La gelee d'Oranges a l'Angleterre): "For one mould take eight good Oranges, and two lemons; peel three of the Oranges very finely indeed; rinse the peel in cold water, and steep it in a small quantity of warm syrup, (three pounds of white sugar to a quart of water, boiled gently for five minutes, and strained, make a very useful syrup); now cut the Oranges into halves, and squeeze out all the juice, but do not make the juice too cloudy by hurrying the process; add the juice of two lemons, and the syrup to taste, with a tumblerful of cold water, and a small quantity of gelatine (Nelson's). Have the mould well set previously in ice, or in quite cold water, as this jelly must set quickly, because the acids are liable to cut the gelatine if it lingers about for at all a long time; try a small quantity in a spoon on the ice, or water, and directly the setting point is obtained, pour the jelly into the mould; of course the quantity of lemon-juice may vary according to the sweetness of the Oranges. The jelly should be carefully squeezed through a double tammy before putting it into the mould, and should be fairly clear; if the colour is too weak add a few drops of carmine.
Always take care that the peel of the Oranges is used as thin as it can be made, since only the outermost rind gives the flavour." Or, again: "Take one ounce of isinglass in just enough water to cover it; also the grated rind of four oranges, with four teaspoonfuls of sugar, grating the rind thereupon; then mix it with the isinglass, and simmer over a slow fire with the Orange juice, strained, (one and a half tumblerfuls of this); add a small piece of cinnamon, and a slice of lemon".
For an Orange sweet salad, which will aid the digestion of a substantial meal, and is of itself delicious: "Take eight sweet Oranges, one pineapple, four ounces of white sugar, and (if allowed) a wineglassful of brandy, or sherry; peel, and core the Oranges, and lay them in a glass dish, sprinkling well with the sugar, and with slices of pineapple between, cut thin, having the rough outside taken off; (then add the brandy, or sherry); keep the dish covered up with another inverted dish for an hour".
Orange Gin is a capital cordial spirit, with tonic qualities superadded: "Take half a gallon of gin, and half a pint of Seville Orange juice, one and a half pounds of loaf sugar, and the rinds of seven oranges pared very thin; put all into a closely covered jar, and let it stand for five days, stirring it twice every day; afterwards strain, and bottle in well-corked bottles for one year; it will then be ready for use, but will keep for any length of time".