Orange blossom, both delicate and assertive, gets everyone to agree. Used in cooking, perfume and even cosmetics, orange blossom is as appreciated for its refined aromas as it is for the benefits attributed to it. Orange blossom tea is also very popular among fans of flowery teas. Let's start by looking at the orange blossom, a very gentle flower.
Once upon a time there was the bitter orange
Did you know? As there are two types of oranges, the sweet ones that are consumed fresh, in juice or in a salad, and the bitter ones that are used to make the famous marmalade, there are also two types of trees producing them. The first grow on the "classic" orange tree, the one we know well. While the second grow on a tree a little bigger, that is an evergreen with very bright green leaves, the bitter orange. And it is also from the bitter orange that the famous orange blossom comes, a little pretty and very fragrant white flower with thick and elegantly curved petals. The origins of this tree remain unknown: depending on the source, it comes from China or India. Regardless, it appreciates sunny soils and mild climates and, in European regions, flowers in early spring. It is said that orange blossoms symbolised purity as early as Antiquity, when young brides adorned their braided crowns with them.
Essence of Neroli and orange blossom water
While the bitter orange is also very popular for its fruit, the zest of which can also be dried, it is its flowers that we have chosen to focus on. Because it is these that produce essence and floral water.
The fresh orange blossoms are steam distilled to achieve this. Can you imagine, it comes through the petals before being collected in the form of liquid? A liquid that surprisingly comprises two substances: essence (more oily and located on the surface) and floral water (deeper in the container). The first, very concentrated in aromatic molecules, commonly bears the name essence of Neroli. This name came about from Anne-Marie d'Orsini, princess of Nerola (a town near Rome), who made it popular in the 17th century by perfuming herself with it and slipping a few drops of it in each of her baths. Essence of Neroli is rare and precious: you have to distil a ton of orange blossoms to obtain one litre of essential oil !
What are the virtues of orange blossom?
Orange blossom contains many active ingredients and has long since been recognised to offer multiple benefits. In general, it seems that it has relaxing and antispasmodic properties, which gives it the ability to reduce tension, relax muscles, and thus facilitate both digestion and sleep. Orange blossom is indeed a natural solution to fight against insomnia.
Its highly appreciated taste also makes it the essential ingredient in many recipes, especially sweet ones. Orange blossom is for example used to flavour Eastern and Mediterranean pancakes, sponges and pastries, or other fruit salads.
Fancy an orange blossom tea?
Orange blossom is present in the Kusmi organic black tea with bergamot, Anastasia, and in the organic white tea version, White Anastasia. Organic Anastasia is an emblematic blend combining black tea, bergamot, lemon and orange blossom, which promises soothing moments of relaxation and sharing.