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orange blossom jam-finished copyI am coming to the end of my Sicilian stay, and this year I managed to be there for orange blossom season even if I arrived at the tail end of the season. I had Amy come back to visit, and one of the first things we did was to go down to the citrus grove to pick enough blossom to make our jam. Most of the blossom had gone but there were still enough for us to pick to make our jam. And the fact that the blossom was nearing the end of its life made it easier to pick. All we had to do was to shake the branches for the petals to fall off the buds and into our basket. Well, not all the petals but at least half. Here below are pics of Amy reaching high up in the tree to get some really good blossom to add to those that fell off easily.

amy picking orange blossom half length copy

amy picking orange blossom copy 2Both she and I had to be careful not to get stung by the buzzing bees that were circling the blossom looking for the last of the pollen.

orange blossom on tree copy

orange blossom plus bee 2 copyThis year we did our jam in instalments. The task is arduous , or to be more accurate time consuming and picking the blossom off the tree is the easy part. Once we had enough blossom, we had to painstakingly pick the petals off the buds being careful not to get any of the pollen bits in with the petals. We picked the blossom on different days and prepared the jam with the blossom we picked on the day. But we made the syrup in one go, preparing enough for the recipe that you will eventually find in my forthcoming book, Sweet Middle East (also available for pre-order here and here), to be published in the US in November. And below, you see our first meager harvest in Mary‘s large wicker basket which we were not allowed to fill anyway as each blossom means a fruit and the more we picked the less fruit on the tree! Then, Amy and I sat at the kitchen table, and carefully picked the petals off the buds one by one. And because the blossoms were at their end, this task took less than if we had picked them at their freshest. Most of the petals fell off as soon as we touched them. This was the good part.

orange blossom in basket copy

amy picking the petals off the blossom (1) copyYou can see the less good part in the picture below. The blossom is not at its purest nor freshest but this didn’t affect the final result as the fragrance was intact and still very strong, and even if the blossom wasn’t all pure white, once it was boiled, the slight wilting or discoloring did not make any difference.

orange blossom-petals copyThe process of making the jam is even longer than the preparation but it is all worth it as the jam is not only very beautiful as you can see from the top picture but it is also incredibly delicious, with a delicate fragrant taste that makes it quite unique. We served it for dessert on whipped yoghurt at the end of our roast baby lamb lunch which we had outside in the most glorious sunshine!

amy and mary copyAnd we had it for breakfast, on yoghurt spread on toasted tumminia bread, as you can see in the picture below. We also ate it with sheep’s milk ricotta. Amy took some with her to California and I am taking the rest to London to have friends taste it. The good news is that if you want to make your own, my book will be out well in time for the next harvest. As for me, I will try to convince Amy to come back to Sicily next spring, all the way from California, so that we can make a fresh lot!

orange blossom jam on yoghurt copy


There is 8 comments on this post

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Tha’t looks amazing! I can imagine how it tastes…that divine taste of orange blossom. I am sure it’s totally worth the time spent on preparation.

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    What a beautiful jam – I can smell how fragrant it is! Pairing with yogurt or soft cheese must be delicious.

    Looking forward to getting my hands on your new book. Lebanese Cuisine is my all time favorite cookbook! I have been using it as a reference for many, many years.

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Thank you! Delighted to hear this 🙂

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Harikas?n?z. ..Lübnan ve Gaziantep Antakya Suriye mutfa?? en hayran oldu?um mutfak..benzerlikler çok. .lubnan Gaziantep tatl? ve Yo?urtlu yemek çok a??rl?kl?. .

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Merhaba.yukarda yorum yanl?? olmu? nedense..lubnan mutfa??n?n hayran?y?m. .Gaziantep Antakya Suriye..benzerlikler çok. .

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Excellent work you guys the jam looks absolutely delicious. I always get them from lebanon..but now I am thinking to make it hear since we have couple of orange trees at my backyard.I got the idea from you guys all I need is the recipe since we use it on all our middle eastern sweets….follow me on instigram under Seaofsweet. I prichiate your help if you can email the recipe…Thank you…..

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    Wow those are some beautiful outdoor shots! And the jam sounds like it’s to die for! Pinned

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Dear Anissa,
    just wanted to let you and everyone else know that this jam can be produced easily with dried orange blossoms, as most don’t have the luxury of access to fresh orange blossoms, but dried ones can be ordered easily online e. g. here in Europe.
    I substituted the fresh blossoms quite similar to your dried barberry jam. I put 70 g of dried orange blossoms with 1l orange juice in a large bowl; i covered it and let it soak overnight. Next day i boiled as instructed in the orange blossom recipe (can’t remember if i put extra water for this step but i left it in the orange juice for boiling) and then continued as instructed there. The result was amazing! Though i cant compare to your marmelade it was super tasty. I thought to put orange blossom water in the end if the result was not like expected, but no need at all of this, the orange blossom taste was perfectly intense. Important note: the orange juice can not be used for drinking after boiling together with the blossoms. The boiling process removes all the bitterness from the blossoms and gives it to the juice. I tried and spit out immediately and couldn’t get rid of the taste of bitterness for 10 minutes. Enjoy bringing the taste of summer to your house!

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