Having citrus trees in your garden is a boon for far more than the availability of fresh fruit. Knowing that my trees have not been treated with any form of herbi- or pesti- cide solutions means that I feel more comfortable in using the orange peel for a variety of uses. In this case, making a delicious vinegar that is just at home on a leafy summer salad as it is sprucing up the house when added to hot water and used to clean up the kitchen bench.
The recipe is very simple. Grab a sealable jar. Peel the rind of a few oranges and loosely fill the jar. Add your choice of white wine*, white vinegar or white wine vinegar and fill to the brim, seal the jar and leave it to sunbathe on the windowsill for a few days. Once it’s had a chance to “activate” you can pretty much use it straight away, but I prefer to then place it at the back of the pantry for at least a month to allow the oils to really leach out and stain the entire solution to a golden orange colour. Either way, when you are ready to use the mix, strain the mix out and pour your orange vinegar into a new jar or vinegar serving bottle.
Obviously the same process works with any citrus peels – lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, kumquat – so experiment away. Personally, I love using the blood oranges from my yard, though I am desperately seeking a bergamot orange tree to plant and use in future.
* White wine will require a few extra days of “sunbathing” to sour into a vinegar, but does offer more depth to the final product.