Although the wine we know today as orange wine has no orange in it, my paternal grandmother, Helen S Wright, included 4 recipes for wine using oranges in her book, Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines, published in 1909. These recipes call for the rind and/or juice of the fruit, usually specified as Seville orange, Citrus x aurantium, native to Southeast Asia. This orange is probably a cross between the pomelo and the mandarin orange, and is known for its bitter or sour taste. It’s high pectin content together with its unique taste have made Seville orange popular for British marmalade as well as other famous foods such as the sauce for duck a l’orange. Photo Credit A. Barra Wikipedia

Here is the recipe for “Orange or Lemon or Wine without Boiling” in the words of my grandmother.

Take one-half chest of Seville oranges; they are most juicy in March. Shave the rinds of one or two dozen (more or less, according as the bitter flavor is desired, or otherwise). Pour over this one or two quarts of boiling water; cover up, and let it stand twelve hours; then strain to the rest. Put into the cask fifty-six pounds of good Lisbon sugar. Clear off all the peel and white pith from the oranges, and squeeze through a hair sieve. Put the juice into the cask to the sugar. Wash the sieve and pulp with cold water, and let the pulp soak in the water twenty-four hours. Stain, and add to the last, continually stirring it; add more water to the pulp, let it soak, then strain and add. Continue to do so till the cask is full, often stirring it with a stick until all the sugar is dissolved. Then leave it to ferment. The fermentation will not be nearly so great as that of currant wine, but the hissing noise will be heard for some weeks; when this subsides, add honey and brandy, and paste over with brown paper. This wine should remain in the cask a year before bottling.

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By Karen