The start of Preserved Oranges
The start of Preserved Oranges

Fermentation is an important craft to at least try once so that in a pinch you have this process and information in your “library”. For Preserved lemons: they are diced, quartered, halved, or whole and are pickled in a brine of water, lemon juice, and salt; occasionally spices are included as well. The pickle is allowed to ferment at room temperature for weeks or months before it is used. The pulp of the preserved lemon can be used in stews and sauces, but it is the peel (zest and pith together) that is most valued. The flavor is mildly tart but intensely lemony. (Wikipedia)

Audrey has been making preserved lemons for a long time and of late has done limes and found that the outcome was fantastic.

From Audrey: I started fermented oranges today! I can’t get enough of the limes I did a month or so ago. I cut 1 1/2 oranges into 16ths and jammed them in. With each layer I added some salt and took some of the juice from the other half and squeezed in. I left some room since the liquid will rise. They are sitting in the corner “cooking” now. I use oranges in a lot of stir frys with beef and pork. And with a bunch of other things. Hoping they turn out as yummy as the lemons and limes do.
I do leave the peel on to ferment and to use in the stir frys. It’s not bitter and has an almost candied flavor – for the limes. It’s no like a wine. You use the whole piece of fruit. The pulp part breaks down and your left with mainly the rind.

I’ve never heard of it either but giving it a try. I’ve done lemons for a long time then tried limes. The limes are fabulous! I was thinking that oranges would be just as good since I cook with them. I drink blue moon beer and might add one and see how that tastes.
I’ve been told they keep for 6+ months in the fridge since they are salt preserved. Mine don’t last 6 months at all.”

Here is a recap of Audrey’s method:

Start with a clean quart size regular or wide mouth (I prefer wide) jar. Cut 1 1/2 oranges into 16ths and begin to layer into the jar. It should take 4 or 5 orange slices per layer. After the first layer get a spoonful of sea or kosher salt (I use sea salt), you do not need to be careful with the salt measurements. Add the next layer of oranges and press down, then salt and repeat. I add a spoonful of salt to the top. You can add some but not all of the juice from the other half of the orange not used, leaving an inch or two for expanding space. Put the lid on but not screw top on the jar and set in a still place in your kitchen with a saucer under it. The salt and oranges will then “cook” for about 2-4 weeks depending on how warm your kitchen is. The juice level will rise and may bubble over. After the fourth week store in the fridge with the screw top attached. There should be a salty sweet smell from the jar and no mold inside.The liquid will get thicker as time goes on.

I use the limes I did in drinks and cooking and you use the rind and all! Anything that you can imagine that needs salt and oranges you can add to your recipe.

Update on the oranges May 7, 2012

From Audrey: I put it in the fridge yesterday! I tasted them and theytaste exactly like I thought they would. They have a little sweetness mixed inwith the salty orange. I haven’t cooked with them yet but it’s on the menu fornext week. I can eat the limes by themselves because I like salt and limes. Butsalt and oranges aren’t my thing. The true test will be when I cook. My husbandis going to blend it and put in BBQ sauces.