Hear ye, hear ye! Today is National Orange Blossom Day!!!! Wondering what is an orange blossom? Have no shame I didn’t know what it was until last month! So what exactly is an orange blossom you ask? Orange blossom is the flower that comes from the orange tree (botanically speaking Citrus sinensis). It is used to make perfumes and has a distinct sweet fragrant smell. However, orange blossoms have culinary uses as well. It is popular in French and Middle Eastern cuisine and in Spain they use the dried blossoms to make tea.
Here Are Some Random But Interesting Facts About The Orange Blossom:
- The orange blossom flower‘s color is not orange but white! It has five petals and looks similar to a star.
- Orange Blossoms are the state flower of Florida.
- Orange blossoms have been used as a sign of innocence, purity, and fertility. In the past and even today they have been associated with brides and used for weddings.
- They have been used in aromatherapy to help release stress and increase feelings of relaxation.
- They are also known for being an aphrodisiac.
Potential Health Benefits of Orange Blossoms
We know that oranges have a lot of health benefits including but not limited to: having vitamin C, calcium, and potassium.
What about orange blossoms? They essentially come from the same place so they should have the same health qualities right? Not quite! Orange blossoms have been used to help promote appetite, relieve upset stomach, aid in digestion, and help against insomnia and nerve disorders. They contain flavonoids (which may help in preventing and fighting cancer).
It is said that orange blossoms are relatively safe with unknown side effects. But remember to always use caution when trying something new! If you have an allergy to citrus fruits/plants it is probably best you don’t try orange blossoms. If you are pregnant or lactating definitely consult your doctor before trying it.
Where to get Orange Blossom Water?
If you decide to live life on the wild side and try orange blossom you can find in specialty stores like a Middle Eastern stores. You can also find it in the “ethnic aisle” of some supermarkets. This week while mindlessly looking for a café to work on my writing I bumped into this quaint spice store called The Spice Corner (between Lexington Ave and E 29th St.). They sell a bottle for about $4-5. If you are in the area I recommend going there. The man at the register was so nice (he kept giving me samples of the Indian desserts for free!) (The way to my heart is clearly my belly!). Back on topic, I think you can also check out your local spice shop for some orange blossom water.
How Do You Use Orange Blossom Water?
It’s most popularly used in desserts or in teas. If you are making oatmeal, porridge, lemonade, you can add a drop or two of orange blossom to the water to add extra flavor. Orange blossom is known to have a very strong flavor so the key is to add small amounts so that it does not over power the other flavors in your dish!
Be sure to check back tomorrow see a surprise orange blossom recipe!