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.
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.