For all of the newcomers (sheisse mamma that was a lot!) sent here by Ben Hewitt’s interview with me: WELLCOME!
This december, all through december, I´m doing a “yule calendar” meaning that each day I´ll post about christmas (which is called yule in my part of the world). See, it kind of lost its meaning to me so now I’m searching for it, high and low. I’ve been exploring the concept of the gift and I’ve tried to tie some bonds to traditions of the past, to nature and I described our annual trip to the market to gather supplies.
Christmas is called “Jul” here (“Yule” apparently for english speaking people). Traditionally yule was not ONE celebration but really a lot. A lot of feasts, a lot of parties, a lot of celebrations.
The people of the pre-Christian north (you might call them Vikings, I call them ancestors) had several traditions that are actually, and amazingly, still being practised in the Scandinavian countries today. One is the tradition of an annual oath giving (new years resolutions are the best we can do this day and age. But still) Another is the tradition of the “Yule- lunch”. Friends and family will gather one day in december and drink their brains out plus eat an abundance of food. And when I say “abundance”… you wouldn’t really believe it. At the yule lunch all roles are reversed. All hierarchies turned upside down. Exaggerated. Too much.We even have “yule lunches” at the workplace. Then you sit down and drink with your colleagues and you tell you boss exactly what you think of him. This is true. People do that. Once a year.
To the heathens the yule celebrations played an important role for the balance of the community. “Drinking yule” (as it was called) was actually kind of obligatory, there were laws about it.
And there was this toast that some still remember. “For a good year and for peace”.
You had to drink yule with your neighbours, friends, family, colleagues, everyone. I think this tradition served the role of being a valve to the people. I think people need that. I think one of the biggest problems of our times is that we don’t seem to have that anymore. Valves.
Yule as a communal “cleaning the air” and connecting exuberantly, celebrating……makes sense to me. I think that’s why I’m rambling on about drinking right now. Totally off topic. But since we’re here (in the off topic) I might as well show you a picture of my favourite mead.
But this post is about oranges.
When I was a child I was told that in the old days children would be happy if they got an orange for christmas. There was a time when oranges were foreign, exotic and seldom to us here in the north. An orange was the essence of adventure and wealth. That´s why kids were given exactly one orange for christmas.
In my childhood we hung oranges in the windows. Nicely decorated with cloves and red ribbons. Under the christmas tree (we dance around it on christmas eve and open all of the presents after dinner) there would be loads of presents and packages. One christmas there were so many presents that we had to take rounds. Dance around the christmas once, open the gifts, dance around the christmas tree again…. and one year I got 3 dolls of the exact same kind. And we weren’t rich or anything. I think they call it ” a booming economy”.
Clearly we live outside the booming economy. I don’t believe in the booming economy. I believe each an every one of us have to lower our living standards, planet cannot sustain the booming economy. However giving up on oranges seems kind of harsh, a bit too harsh (as giving up on chocolate and coffee and spices, all of the things that can’t grow in a nordic climate) and I don’t believe in the “too harsh” or the “holier than thou”, we’re all do the best that we can, we all have or struggles so CHEERS!
For a good year and for peace!
(I guess that what I’m trying to say is that although we made a radical choice I don’t feel like everyone else is obliged to do the same. It’s not like that. We moved into the wild because we had to. We didn’t find a solution to all of the problems of the planet and I don’t think living in the wild is the right thing to do for everyone. Living like this doesn’t mean that we are puritan role models or vanguards of the future (I was called that once, it freaked me out) So cheers again! Everyone just wants to be live and be loved!)
When I buy oranges though I make sure to buy organic oranges from fair trade suppliers.
Not that we can afford to buy everything organically but these items that travel far and that aren’t natural occurring… they SHOULD be expensive. We SHOULD pay extra for that. But then again… this is just my opinion.
When we buy oranges we use all of it (sometimes). We eat the flesh and save the peel.
This is how you make candied orange peel. You can make candied everything. As I was making these oranges I also made candied ginger (because when we went to the market we brought home lots and lots of ginger) It’s a real good way to conserve and it’s a real nice treat (candied ginger covered with dark chocolate!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and then !!!!!!!)
WHAT YOU NEED
WHAT YOU DO
You take the orange
And you peel it
You cut the peelings into slices. Remove as much of the white stuff as you can
Place in a pot and cover them with cold water, bring to a boil and then change the water. Repeat the process. Do this 2 or 3 times. It removes some of the bitterness of the peels (if you make candied ginger just boil the ginger straight away, no need to change the water)
In another bowl whisk together one and a half cup of sugar and 3/4 cups of water
As you can see I don’t take measurements to seriously but you totally should (but it will be ok if you don’t)
(I’m thinking that now that I’m doing recipes again I should invest some day in some proper measurement tools and a better camera but until then…)
Whisk it, whisk it.
Put the liquid in another pot. Bring it to a boil.
Let it simmer for around AN HOUR. Adjust the temperature (move around the pot on your wood stove) to control the simmer. Don’t stir it too much. After an hour more or less it will begin to look like this.Covered in thick syrup.
Which is when you remove the orange peels from the pot and spread them out to dry. They will be really sticky and hot so watch out that you don’t burn your fingers!
I think they look so pretty. They taste like natural (bitter) english wine gum. I chop the candied orange peel up and use it in all sorts of cakes or as (natural food) decoration. I even use it in stews and hot winter soups.
And see? Everything goes around and around and around and around, summer and winter, connected, warm places and cold places, connected, past and present, everything, connected. Like you and me now. I repeat: for a good year and for peace!