This delicious syrup is made with the juice of Seville oranges (busfeyr) and sugar. Now is the season for these types of oranges, which are prized in Lebanon (and the Eastern Mediterranean in general) for their sweet and sour flavor. Their season is short, so folks would either freeze their juice or make this syrup which lasts for one year at least, and drink it diluted in water in the Summer months.
We tried planting these oranges in our orchard but it did not take (altitude is too high); my neighbor Camelia on the other hand, whose orchard is only a few feet lower, is able to grow a few trees and generously gives us a few pounds each year. She gave me her family’s recipe.
I was offered this drink at the home of an acquaintance and when I was expressing my delight and sipping it slowly, he proudly said: “my wife made it”
NOTE: This syrup can be made with other types of citrus, such as clementines, tangerines, other types of oranges, etc. I found Seville oranges in Dallas in my neighborhood Middle-Eastern store as well as at Latino markets and upscale supermarkets.
- 2 pounds of Seville (or other) oranges, juiced (can use more or less)
- Sugar (use the same weight as the juice)
1. Juice the oranges; if using Seville oranges, be careful not to press too hard while juicing them, as the white pith is bitter and will increase the sourness of the juice. Measure the juice and transfer into a bowl; add the same quantity of sugar. Stir several times a day until the sugar dissolves. It may take a couple of days. Leave the bowl out on the counter. Make sure the utensils stay dry and not one drop of water gets into the bowl.
2. Transfer the syrup to a clean (and sterilized bottle) and keep in the fridge once opened; it will keep for a year. When serving, pour the syrup, say, 1/4 cup, into a glass; add 3/4 cup water, and stir to combine; top with crushed ice if desired.
NOTE: Come to think of it, a blender could be used to stir the sugar into the juice; turn it on for a few seconds every so often throughout the day.