Cottee’s ain’t good enough for me

5 Feb

After hearing about how Australian citrus growers are doing it tough, I thought I’d buy a bag of Australian-grown organic oranges for juicing. Sometime during the week it occurred to me that I could make this fruit stretch further by making cordial from the juice instead.

Orange Cordial

3kg bag of oranges (juiced) This made 1.75 litres of juice.

1.75 kilos sugar (equivalent weight to juice)

1.75 litres of water (equivalent to juice)

finely grated zest of 2 oranges

1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid (not needed if you keep the cordial in the fridge)

I started by juicing the oranges, which came to 1.75 litres of juice. I then put the same quantities of sugar and water into a saucepan and heated until the sugar dissolved. You can now add the juice and zest, or if your kids are like mine and don’t like the pulp, you can strain the juice at this point before you add it to the pan. Add the citric acid, mix well and pour into glass bottles.

The cordial can now be kept safely in the fridge for up to a month.

I wanted to store the cordial in the cupboard and I wanted the shelf life to be greater, so I water-bath processed the bottles. Do this by putting them into a large stockpot or preserving unit (needs to be very deep to accommodate bottles) and covering with water. Latest safety guidelines say that the water should cover the tops by at least an inch, but the water only reached the shoulder of my largest bottle. I’m sure it will still be fine, but I don’t want to recommend that method to anyone.

Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for an additional 20 minutes. You can then remove from the water and let them cool. Make sure that all bottles vacuum-seal correctly once cool (the pop-top on the lid will pop down). If they have sealed correctly, they should store for a reasonable length of time in the cupboard.

The cordial can then be made up with water according to your preferences for strength.

Using organic oranges and sugar bought from a small independant grocer meant that the product costs quite a bit more than Cottee’s cordial ($11 for the oranges and approx $5 for the sugar  for just under 4 litres of concentrate) but there are definietly no artificial colours or flavours, and I’m comfortable with citric acid as a preservative.

If you bought conventionally-grown oranges and sugar from Aldi, you could whip this up for cheap as chips.

7 Responses to “Cottee’s ain’t good enough for me”

  1. Liz February 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    I like home made cordial – but weirdly I’ve never thought to make orange, why I don’t know. I will have to give it a try.

  2. L from 500m2 in Sydney February 6, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    I would love lemon cordial, but the price of organic lemons is outrageous. I really wish my lemon tree was much more successful. I’m jealous of those people who have wildly successful backyard Eureka trees and complain “What do I do with all these lemons?” I think I might need to get a much bigger pot for mine to give it room to spread out.

  3. Sarah February 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Lime cordial is my favourite, but this orange cordial sounds lovely.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney February 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Lime cordial that doesn’t look radioactive? It wouldn’t really be the same, would it? ;P

  4. Barbara Good February 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I’ve been making my own cordial all year with all sorts of citrus combinations. I highly recommend adding a couple of blood oranges to your mix next time, the colour is brlliant and the flavour is fantastic. I always have loads of lemons from my grandfather’s hugely successful tree. He lives over an hour away, but either myself or Mum is there often enough to keep the supply up. Sadly when I was there last week there were literally dozens of lemons just lying on the ground. I picked up as many as I thought I could get through but there were still heaps left. I hate seeing waste, but I couldn’t bring boxes of lemons home with me, with the car already packed to the rafters (on our way back from holidays) and I wouldn’t be able to use them all anyway.

    Enjoy the cordial, it’s great with our Soda Stream, another thing I would highly recommend.

    • L from 500m2 in Sydney February 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      Oh, I’m insanely jealous! I would absolutely adore a supply of free home-grown lemons. Maybe I should bite the bullet and actually plant a full-sized tree.


  1. Processing edamame (soybeans) for freezing « 500m2 in Sydney - February 26, 2012

    […] I set to work making the cordial generally according to this recipe. Because I doubled the batch this time I was struggling to find enough jars to hold it. I decided […]

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