(adapted from Kitchen MedicineHome Remedies, p130)

Each January and February British cooks hunt out the season’s supply of Seville (or bitter) oranges (Citrus aurantium var. amara) to make marmalade. During the making the bitterness is tempered, though not overwhelmed, by plentiful sugar while the rind that carries the embedded oil glands is retained, as either ‘thick’ or ‘thin’ cut.

Spanish growers are not permitted to wax Seville skins (sweet orange skins are not so lucky), so it is safe to use them in your marmalade, infusions and other preparations. The skins are a digestive stimulant that also eases flatulence and calms nausea or morning sickness.

The best orange juice is no doubt that which you squeeze for yourself from oranges you know are organically grown. This way reduces the chemical additions of frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ), the form in which most commercial orange juice from sweet orange (Citrus aurantium var. dulcis) is purveyed.

Orange is a perfumier’s friend: the flowers yield neroli oil, the leaves give petitgrain essential oil and the rind of north Italian oranges goes into bergamot oil and thence Earl Grey tea. Eau de cologne is originally an eighteenth-century German facial rinse, made from bergamot and neroli oil, plus rosemary leaves, and distilled in grape juice.

The sour or Seville orange is the type used in medicine, the peel more than the juice or pulp … the great use of the peel is in tinctures or infusion as a stomachic.
– Sir John Hill, The Family Herbal (1812)

Orange and cardamom bitters

Slice 3 bitter (Seville) oranges and put in a large jar (one with a lid), along with 2 tablespoons of cardamom pods. Then pour on enough vodka to cover the ingredients, close with the lid and leave to macerate for two or three weeks.

Shake occasionally and top up if needed with a little more vodka. Strain and bottle, adding a little honey to taste.

Take a small liqueur glassful before or after meals to improve digestion and increase the appetite.