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Old 01-11-2009, 08:06 PM   #1
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Default Can you make your own orange peel from fresh oranges?

I was wondering if I could make my own orange peel by zesting oranges. How do they come up with the bitter, and sweet varieties? I would assume they would be fresher if you zested your own.

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Old 01-11-2009, 08:40 PM   #2
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They come up with the bitter and sweet varieties by peeling bitter and sweet varieties of orange.

Honest! It may sound like it makes too much sense, but it's true.

That's why you can't match the dried peel. Unless, of course, you have access to fresh Bitter and Sweet Curacao oranges.

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Old 01-11-2009, 09:05 PM   #3
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Of course you can, most cooks use fresh peel (or zest) all the time...just wash the skins, take a potato peeler to the fruit but make sure you DON'T take any of the bitter white stuff (the pith) behind it's really bitter. Then layer in on paper towels and let them dry...heating your oven at the lowest setting for about a half hour, then turning it off and putting the peels in there after about 10 minutes will help dry them out...

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Old 01-11-2009, 09:20 PM   #4
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Sour oranges are considered an excellent way to marinate pork for some mexican recipes. If you can get hold of seville or bittering oranges, zest them and save the zest, then juice them to make a citrus marinade. Look up pureco pibil for an excellent recipe (which happens to go *fantastically* with a good lawnmower beer).

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Old 01-12-2009, 03:29 AM   #5
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apparently you gotta be careful with non-organic oranges, cuz those crazy farmers will put ANYTHING on fruit including preservatives. so +1 on washing, and use organic to be safe because it should be preservative free.

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Old 01-12-2009, 05:19 AM   #6
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Bitter oranges, aka Seville oranges, can be pretty hard to find. At least I haven't managed to track down a good source here in Seattle yet...

A good alternative (recommended by Randy Mosher in Radical Brewing) is to use the peel from one regular sweet orange alongside a quarter of a grapefruit. It won't taste quite the same, but pretty close, and I think I prefer the taste of fresh peel even though not quite the right variety to the dried stuff.

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Old 01-12-2009, 05:37 AM   #7
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Careful, most oranges (lots of fruit and veggies actually) these days have sprayed on wax and ripening chemicals. The box of mandarin/satsuma oranges I bought recently listed the added ingredients.

The waxes and chemicals are food grade and all but I would strongly recommend organic so you don't have to worry about it.

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Old 01-12-2009, 01:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Of course you can, most cooks use fresh peel (or zest) all the time...just wash the skins, take a potato peeler to the fruit but make sure you DON'T take any of the bitter white stuff (the pith) behind it's really bitter. Then layer in on paper towels and let them dry...heating your oven at the lowest setting for about a half hour, then turning it off and putting the peels in there after about 10 minutes will help dry them out...
With all due respect, Revvy, not using the whole peel misses the point. Please keep in mind that Curacao orange peel is a multifunction ingredient: just as chocolate malt provides color and flavor, orange peel provides flavor and bitterness to balance malt sweetness. The style in which orange peel is de rigeur - Belgian-style Wit - should have very low hops amounts. The spices balance the malt. That's why you want that really bitter pith behind the zest, at least in this application.

Your advice is the reason why I say zesting fresh oranges cannot even approximate the dried Curacao peel - it's not enough bits from the wrong variety(ies) of orange. It'll taste like oranges, sure, but the beer won't taste like it should.

There's a time and place for fresh ingredients. In brewing, there are also a couple of times and places for not fresh: dried peel in Witbier; stale, cheesy hops in Lambic; Brettanomyces in beers aged a long time in wood...

Anyhow, that's my perspective.

Bob
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NQ3X View Post
There's a time and place for fresh ingredients. In brewing, there are also a couple of times and places for not fresh: dried peel in Witbier; stale, cheesy hops in Lambic; Brettanomyces in beers aged a long time in wood...
I get better success with Witbiers when I use fresh orange zest. Lots of it. With no white part of the skin.
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:37 PM   #10
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And that's a good thing! That's what home brewing is all about - innovation and experimentation. I find better success using the traditional ingredients.

Dance with the one you love best, my friend!

Bob

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