Citrus fruit keeps at room temperature for only a couple of days before it starts to deteriorate, which may explain why, according to the government waste scheme Wrap, 720,000 oranges are wasted in UK homes every day. To prevent unnecessary waste, put only a day or two’s worth in the fruit bowl, and keep the bulk of your supply in the fridge.
An abundance of citrus can be juiced, or sliced and frozen, or used up in all manner of cakes or savoury dishes. Being so close to Christmas, one great use for an abundance of oranges is to turn them into pomander balls: stud the fruit with cloves in a neat pattern, then roll in spices and hang out as a Christmas decoration; later, use the clove-studded dried oranges to spice mulled wine. Claudia Roden’s orange and almond cake is a legendary zero-waste recipe that incorporates the whole orange, skin and all, into the batter. This is my vegan take on it made with leftover aquafaba.
Vegan whole orange and almond cake
This cake has a wonderful, aromatic intensity thanks to its use of the whole orange, including the zest, bitter pith and essential oils. It’s a firm favourite in our household, and is deliciously moist, flavourful and gluten-free.
Save aquafaba (or chickpea water) in the fridge for up to five days; otherwise, freeze and defrost as needed. Psyllium husks are an essential ingredient in vegan cooking, and help bind dishes together. Find them in wholefood shops, some supermarkets and, if all else fails, online.
6 tsp psyllium husks
200g unrefined sugar
300g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
Put the oranges (and/or satsumas and clementines) in a pressure cooker, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down low, cook for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool, still sealed, for an hour. Alternatively, boil the fruit in a saucepan with plenty of water for an hour and a half, and leave to cool.
Lift out the cooked and cooled oranges, cut them in half (remove and compost any pips), put in a blender with the psyllium husks, and blitz smooth.
Next, in a clean, grease-free metal or ceramic bowl, whisk the aquafaba with an electric mixer on a high speed for three minutes, until it forms soft peaks. Whisk in the sugar 50g at a time, until fully incorporated, then fold in the ground almonds, baking powder and the blended citrus fruit.
Pour into a greased and lined 20cm springform cake tin and bake at 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5 for 45 minutes.