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The gold of the Mediterranean

citrus fruits

19 April 2022

Erre4m friends good morning and welcome to this new post. Today we continue our journey into the aromas of pastry.

In the last post we met the aroma par excellence...the Vanilla. I do not know about you but when I think of aromas, to accompany the scent of Bourbon orchid, there is always a agarume. Lemons, oranges, citrons, limes, tangerines and clementines, etc...are constantly present in sweet preparations...let's find out!

Citrus fruits are also called fruits of the sun. They take their name from the Latin Acrumen, that is agric because of the acidity that is their main characteristic.

The main species come from Asia. They were imported in Europe by Arabs and by Genoese and Portuguese navigators, but it is only since the nineteenth century that they were actually cultivated and commercially exploited. Because of their sweet and sour characteristics citrus fruits are widely used in many sectors of gastronomy.

Citrus fruits are used for their fresh or dried peel, essential oils contained in the peel itself and juices. They are used to prepare almost all confectionery products: short pastries and cookies, sponge cakes and pies, all creams, parfaits, spoon desserts, ice creams, candies, nougats, sugared almonds, cream, liqueurs, syrups, soft drinks and much more...

The essences of citrus fruits must be kept with care because they easily alter and become unpleasant. Of the peel is used only the external colored part, while the white skin just under the peel is very bitter therefore it is not to be used for our confectionery production.

The most widely used citrus fruit is the LEMON.
The lemon is an evergreen plant native to China and is now cultivated throughout the Mediterranean basin. The scientific name of the lemon plant is Citrus Limonium and it fructifies practically all year round. For some varieties, such as Verdello, the ripening is delayed in order to have always available the fresh fruit even in the months in which there would not be ripening. Lemons are harvested when they are completely ripe and, if kept in cool and dry places, they can be kept from 5 to 6 months.

There are many varieties of which Italy (and in particular Sicily) is the first producer in the world. Among the best ones we contemplate the Monachello with a rounded shape and a very fragrant peel, the Femminello that has an oblong fruit of about 10 cm and it is very juicy, the lemon Interdonato of Messina with a medium-large size produces a juice with a particularly sweet and delicate taste thanks to the modest content of citric acid.Of the lemon it is used mainly the peel as aromatizer which contains precious essential oils; while the juice, of acidulous taste, is an important ingredient in so many workings, it is also used to aromatize, to preserve, to soften.

ORANGE: The orange tree is a beautiful evergreen, native to eastern Asia and by us in Italy is cultivated in all southern regions. The flower, very beautiful and fragrant, is used for aromas and perfumes.

The fruits, divided into two types, namely the Biondo and the Sanguinello, differ from the color of the pulp and the flavor.

Between the Biondi there are the Washington navale s', of early maturation and suitable to be consumed as fruit; the Belladonna, with big fruits and pleasant taste; the Ovale calabrese with big fruits and juicy pulp without seeds, suitable to be consumed as fruit or for juice; the Biondo di spina small and roundish suitable for juice.

Between the Sanguinelli we find the Sanguinello with fruits of medium size, intense pink pulp with a taste slightly tending to strawberry; the Moro with a good size oval fruit and red pulp; the Tarocco with beautiful oval fruits without seeds and pulp only tinged with red suitable to be consumed as fruit.

The use of orange is very various because both the juice and the peel are used in many different processing techniques such as cakes, fillings, crepes, pastries, chocolates, creams, Bavarian creams and mousses, icings, jellies, jams, juices, syrups, ice creams, sorbets and the list could go on! Moreover the candied peel is used in leavened pastries, chocolates, fillings, cakes and much more. Orange peel is normally used as a flavoring. From the peel is also obtained an essence used for drinks, liqueurs and perfumes.
Today, although their period of maturation goes from autumn to July, oranges are available throughout the year.

CEDRO: It is probably the largest among the citrus fruits on the market, has a slightly tapered oval shape and is the fruit of a delicate plant originating in Persia, already known in ancient Rome. The characteristic of this fruit, pretty cultivated in almost all the Mediterranean area, is its thick pale yellow peel, smooth or slightly lumpy according to the quality. It has little pulp, similar to that of the lemon but sweeter and with little juice.

One of the best qualities of our market is the Liscia di diamante cultivated in Calabria. The peel is used for candying, and in fact it is one of the most precious candied fruits both for its taste and for the possibilities of use. From the same peel are obtained essences and oils, liqueurs, syrups, drinks and perfumes.

In the next post we will continue the long list of citrus fruits...FOLLOW US!

Blog by Enrico Gumirato pastry chef and trainer

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