I adore coming across recipes that are unique and have a certain warmth about them. These nerantzi glyko – or orange spoon sweets – evoke images of a loving γιαγιά sitting in her favourite chair beneath a grape-covered arbor, threading fragrant curls of orange onto string.
There’s nothing unique about candied orange, but it’s the way this is done that makes it a little different from the rest.
To my understanding, nerantzi glyko are traditionally made using a variety of small, walnut-sized oranges that are still green and bitter. Although, I could be wrong. But it does explain the multiple water changes in the method, to remove much of the bitterness.
What I do know is that it isn’t just little green oranges that are candied this way. Regular orange peel, as well as other fruits can be done the same.
The way you eat these things is quite simple. A spoon of the candied orange is served with a little of the syrup – often when guests drop by – brought out with water and coffee.
A former colleague of mine has family in Cyprus, and she told me that she was often given nerantzi glyko served in a glass with some syrup, topped with ice cold water.
I tried this myself, using sparkling water instead, and the result is a deliciously refreshing drink with a treat in the bottom of the glass.
As for the fresh oregano that I’ve used – that’s my little touch. This herb features quite a bit in Greek cooking, so why not infuse the syrup with it?
Recipe slightly adapted from here