Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What is Orange Blossom Water?

According to wisegeek.com

"Orange blossom water is distilled water which has been infused with essential oil extracted from orange blossoms. The water has a rich citrus scent and a strong orange flavor. This flower water often appears in Middle Eastern cuisine, and in the dishes of some European nations as well; it is also sometimes used as a beauty item, commonly being used to rinse hair, hands, and feet in some regions of the world.

Obtaining orange blossom water can sometimes be challenging. If you happen to live in an area with a Middle Eastern population, you may be able to find it in a market, along with rose and lavender waters. You also sometimes see it at large markets for the more general population, especially in urban areas. If you intend to use orange blossom water for cooking, avoid products sold at drug stores and beauty shops, as they may not use food-grade essential oils.

The flavor and scent of orange blossom water is quite distinctive. Most recipes encourage cooks to use it lightly, because it can become cloying and overwhelming. One very common use is in sugar syrups which can be drizzled over pastries and fruit salads to provide a hint of flavor. It is also used in savory recipes and marinades, sometimes along with candied orange flowers or rose petals; the sweet floral notes of the orange flower water can pair very well with savory foods, especially spicy ones.

Culinary historians believe that orange blossom water originated in the Middle East, since evidence seems to suggest that Middle Easterners developed the extraction process needed to access the essential oils in orange blossoms. By the 10th century CE, orange blossom water was common across the Middle East, and European adventurers were bringing it back with them as an exotic delicacy; dishes with orange flower water were often in high demand, because the ingredient was perceived as unusual and exotic.

The blossoms of Seville oranges are believed to produce one of the finest orange blossom waters, since they have a very strong, rich aroma. Other oranges can be used as a source of orange blossom water, of course, but they may not yield the desired high essential oil content. If you cannot track down orange blossom water in your area, you may have better luck seeking out food-grade orange blossom essential oil and adding it to water yourself to dilute it. You can also order orange blossom water from importers, although it can be extra-expensive when obtained this way."

1 comment:

Mountain Thyme said...

Hello. I use both orange blossom and rose water in my soap and body products that I make for my family and friends as well as in cooking. I do have access to a middle eastern store, but another good resource for those products is


or perhaps you might find it at the Golchin website.