Oranges, the treasures of the Algarve.

Portuguese citrus fruits

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

Citrus fruits in the Algarve

Here in the Algarve we are lucky to have a great variety of cirtus fruits such as, oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, lime and lemons.
My absolute favourite is the orange, nowhere else in the world are they as sweet as in the Algarve. The reason ? This is the European peninsular with the most sun exposure, about 3000 hours a year !
Unfortunately, we are almost at the end of the main season for oranges and I am going to miss them. Oranges are produced all year round but for me, the “winter” oranges are the best.

Algarve Oranges

Algarve Oranges

Orange blossom

What I am going to miss even more is the smell of the orange blossom – nothing can compete with  the smell.  If you walk past an orange orchard in March and April you will be overwhelmed by this lovely fresh scent. The air is laden with this heavenly perfume and I admit that I occasionally take a little twig to keep the scent close to me.

Orange blossom

Orange blossom


Surprisingly the orange does not originate from Portugal but was taken by the Portuguese explorers in the 15th century from China, Ceylon and India. The Portuguese word for orange, Laranja, is derived from the Hindustani word “Narandj”. The climate in the Algarve turned out to be so perfect for the orange that it quickly took an important place in the Portuguese agriculture.

Food and Drinks

Of course there is nothing better than eating a fresh orange or squeezing it for a healthy orange juice but there are dozens of other possibilities for using oranges, in desserts, pies, salads, jams and liqueurs for example !
I will share with you the recipe for a good orange liqueur but a little warning might be in place here, some patience will be required……

orange liqueur

Orange Liqueur

Ingredients for orange liqueur

3 oranges
500ml aguardente – a Portuguese distilled spirit ( alternatively use grappa or similar)
500ml of water
500gr of sugar
a clean lockable jar (at least 1 ltr)
1 or 2 sterilized bottles

Cut the 3 oranges into small pieces and put them in the sterilized jar with a tight seal. Pour in 500ml of aguardente and close the jar tight. And here comes the  patience bit ….. leave this jar closed for 2.5 months in cool place. After 2,5 months separate the liquid from the oranges by sieving it and keep both.

Put the liquid aside and mix the remaining orange pieces with the 500ml of water. Mix and squeeze the oranges well with the water to preserve any remaining juice from the orange pieces. Sieve this again, separating the liquid and discarding the pulp. Put the liquid together with the 500gr of sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. Boil for about 15 minutes until the drops stick a little to the spoon. Let it cool. Now the fun starts. Mix this syrup very well with the orange/aquardente liquid, sieve the final product via a funnel into the sterilized bottles.

Pronto !

Best served chilled .


This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)


1 Comment

  • anupatel 31/10/2022 at 10:12 am Reply

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