Friday, February 01, 2008

Orange You Glad?

While the rest of the blogosphere shivers with Meyer lemon madness, I'm still going outrageously orange.
I have about half a tree's worth of oranges left, and a few recipients in mind for gift sacks. Right now I'm personally consumed by the deliciousness of oranges: juice, flesh and rind. I want to try to preserve some of this flavor for use throughout the year, first by experimenting with freezing the rind, and second by borrowing an idea from you lemon looneys: orange confit.
In the meantime, some essence or other of orange is making its way into most of my food.
The latest experiment was homemade yogurt scented with bay leaves and orange rind.
I say experiment, because something went a little wrong, and I need to tease it out and try again.
The problem was the texture of the yogurt. It was loose, a little unstable.
I've been putting bay leaves in my yogurt for almost a year now, and it comes out firm and smooth, so that's not the problem.
A new variable is that this time I used Straus organic whole milk, which seems to be unhomogenized. Sort of. I'll be going back to Clover organic whole, to see if the yogurt tightens up better next time. (Also, was the milk too old? Was the culture I used too old?)
I'm dithering, because I really hate to put the blame on orange rind. But I am a grown-up. I will explore the possibility.
Maybe the oils in the rind prevented a perfectly firm outcome. Perhaps I'll have to try using cooked, candied rind instead.
It will be sad if my results come out the same next time, because this stuff is so delicious.
Nah. Even if my results do come out the same next time, I'll be glad. Because this stuff is so delicious.


Sam said...

I plan to try orange confit too, with my gift sack ;)
I am feeling a LOT better today after a delirious afternoon nap, tossing and turning, full of nightmares that I think finally exorcised the demons of sickness from inside of me.

Sam said...

ps - the afternoon nap occurred yesterday in case you were wondering how i could write such a thing before midday.

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: Ohgod, feverdreams. I hate them. I'm glad you are on the mend.
Let's arrange our drop-off for *next* Saturday, because Anita is el sicko, too. And it's going to be rainly; I hate driving in the rain. I melt.
You are gonna love these oranges.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother would bring me a box of candied orange peel when she came north for the summer from her Florida home. Is that something you'd try?

And yogurt. Sometimes, the microbes say "let this be runny." At least that's my experience, all other things being equal.

Lannae said...

Do you have a photo of your yogurt? I make yogurt the old fashioned way in a pot (old India method), not a yogurt maker, and it is always like a thick smoothie texture. My original starter was from an India source, so it was much more liquidy than stiff yogurts people like here. I have use all kinds of milk, raw, local unhomog., and commercial milk whole to skim. My experience is that skim will me more liquidy, and high fat (raw and whole) will be more solid and stiff. Also, the temperature of the milk will enhance certain bacteria to grow and others not and will change the texture and taste. It is possible that acid or chemical from the orange rind would enhance or inhibit a bacteria to grow.

In summary, my 2 guesses are temperature of the milk while making the yogurt, and the other is the acid or chemical content in the orange rind.

Please let me know what you find out! What a great mystery!

kudzu said...

This may be entirely too simplistic, but how about adding the grated zest to the finished yogurt? Or have you been doing that all along?

Michelle said...

Having been in meyer lemon madness myself for some time now, I can only request: Help me, Cookie! Send me some of those oranges!!!

chilebrown said...

Candied Orange Peel, Fruitcake. Love it or leave it! I have a waiting list for mine. Yeah!

peter said...

This week has been one long fever dream.

You could try salt-curing the oranges, Moroccan style- that would be wicked. And if your yogurt is runny, try straining it like the Greek stuff.

I want a sack...

kudzu said...

Forgot to ask: what kind of oranges do you grow? MFK Fisher told me this story: Her daughters were really young. One of them pointed to her bellybutton and asked, "What is this?" She told her, "That's your navel." The older one, pointing to her nips, said, "Are these my Valenicias?"

cookiecrumb said...

Fast: Yes, candied orange peel is on the agenda. I have the sugar, as you know...
As for the yogurt, I'm going to try again, and if I get the same results, I'll start tinkering. Thanks for the insight.

Lannae: That IS a picture of the yogurt, in the jar. Where the orange rind sticks in, the yogurt kind of collapses. There is a lot of whey.
I am edified by your observations and advice. Thanks!

Kudzu: Hadn't thought of it!! It would result in a slightly different flavor, because steeping the rinds in the milk goes straight to Cremesicle land, and I love that. Baby food. But the fresh zing of orange zest would be great, and it might solve the problem.

Michelle: I daresay these oranges are even sunnier than Meyer lemons. Even in rainy weather, they glow in perfect orbs against the dark foliage. I am so lucky, and I wish you weren't so far away.

Chilebrown: I am a recent and avid convert. I would have argued with you on this a year ago... but when you swim with the orangies, you learn all the strokes.

Peter: I know, you've been sick too.
Aha! Preserved orange, Moroccan style! Great idea, and it is definitely on the list, you clever boy.
Straining the yogurt wouldn't have been so good, because it was grainy and not worth the trouble.
Wish I could send you a box of sunshine too.

Kudzu: Cranky *roared* at your story! You must tell that one more often.
Yes, these are quotidian navels, and I've never tasted a gentler, butterier orange.

Heather said...

Is the citrus acid in the orange curdling the milk? Just a thought.

Also, I zest every citrus fruit I get and freeze it for later use in a little container. Works like a charm. Orange zest and bacon make greens magical.

cookiecrumb said...

Heather: Yes. The milk is curdled. I am finally admitting it. Thanks for a cold smack in the face with a rain-drenched navel orange. I believe you are right, and I can let go now. Thank you.
AND. Thanks for the good news on frozen rind! Off we go.

Anonymous said...

I find that Strauss whole milk yogurt is also a bit runny, which may explain the milk-as-yogurt-making pickle you're in. I live in Seattle and there's a nearby dairy that sells raw milk. It's simply whole milk, but it gets a bit of a cream top. I bet it would be killer as fodder for yogurt.

katiez said...

I wish we could do a fruit exchange. I'm up to my eyeballs in kiwi fruit. I was over my eyeballs but the mice found them. I guess I can share... since I have no choice.