Oranges preserved in brandy with cinnamon

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I am very lucky to have an orange tree in my back courtyard and a miniature naartjie tree in my front yard, so at this time of year, there is an abundance of citrus fruit in my house.

I love the idea of preserving and transforming something that is in season and fresh, into something quite different and carrying it forward into the future months.

I stumbled upon this recipe in the July issue of Food & Home Entertaining magazine and decided to throw in a few oranges and a few miniature naartjies. I also added a few kumquats to test (and were fabulous) so may just do something similar with the bag of those that I have.  Or make an interesting jam.

How to make these:

  • Rinse and wash enough small oranges or naartjie’s to fill a 1-litre jar
  • in a pot, boil 500gm of sugar with 500ml of water (2 cups) allowing the liquid to simmer for a few minutes
  • add 2 cinnamon sticks and about 8 star anise pods.
  • with a toothpick, prick each of the oranges multiple times and place in the pot, put the lid on and simmer for an hour
  • scoop the oranges out and into the sterilised jar and carry on boiling the liquid until it thickens and reduces by roughly half (10 odd minutes).
  • add 1/2 – 1 cup of brandy (I found 1/2 a cup was adequate) and allow the liquid to cool to room temp before pouring it into the jar with the oranges.  I used a very good quality Brandy: Van Ry’s 10-year-old
  • the recipe says to soak for a week before serving them with ice cream or custard

I may leave them a bit longer and see how they turn out. As I’m not a very big fan of marmalade on its own, I’m thinking that these could be fantastic roughly chopped and baked into a cake or hot brandy pudding or made into ice cream.

I loved the smell of the cinnamon and the liquorice star anise wafting through my house as these simmered away with the oranges.  So warm and comforting.

Other recipes for preserves that I have:

10-minute strawberry jam


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  1. Wow, Sam, this looks delish and you pics are absolutely beautiful!!

  2. Hi Sam this is my 2nd attemot in leaving a message! Your pics are beautiful and I just looove this post!

  3. Thanks so much for the kind words Zirkie 🙂

  4. Stunning – love this idea!

  5. oh sam i can smell and feel your home. your writing is so layered and lovely…keep going word warrior, and your photos are brilliant. loving being back on your blog xx

  6. I’m so jealous you have an orange tree in your yard! I wish I had one. Beautiful photos, and a great recipe! We just launched our all new and February is oranges month. If you’d like to link up your recipe, we’d love to have you

  7. Thanks Betsy, I will take a look at the site. Sam

  8. Jenny sterne says:

    I bought some very small naartjies and found your recipe. I was boiling them as per recipe but found by then they were extremely soft after half an hour. I have done another small batch now but for only 20 min.
    I noticed my nartjies tended to develop dents as they cooled. Is there a remedy for this?

    What should I have done differently?

  9. Hi Jenny – I’m so sorry that this is such an old recipe and I did make it as per my instructions. I have not made it again. I definitely cooked them for an hour. In terms of the dents perhaps these naartjies were quite dry to start? I know mine from my tree were always very firm and compacted.

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