Orange you glad this is so easy to make?
It’s citrus season. And though oranges are available throughout the year, they are especially excellent in winter, when other competing fruit is scarce, and citrus tastes its best. This homemade orange granita recipe takes fresh-squeezed orange juice to fresh heights. It’s the fresh and bright winter treat that requires little more than 1) a fork, and 2) a little patience.
You’ll also like: Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca and Homemade Lemonade
Homemade orange granita is great because, unlike ice cream or sorbet, it requires exactly zero special equipment. Also, granita is so easy that it barely requires a recipe. Basically, combine fresh-squeezed orange juice with some simple syrup, then freeze it in a baking pan, stirring every 30 minutes or so until frozen.
Recipe Notes: Orange Granita
Here are some good tips and notes about making homemade orange granita:
- Can’t I just freeze the mixture solid and scrape it? Technically, yes. But don’t. You want to stir and scrape the granita every 20 to 30 minutes until it is fully frozen into slushy form. Stirring frequently forms a soft, slushy ice texture instead of hard, small scrapings. Also, scraping a rock-hard granita will be unnecessarily time consuming and tiresome.
- Do I have to use the simple sugar? Can’t I just freeze orange juice? You want to use the simple syrup in the granita along with the juice for two reasons. One: the sugar content crystalizes the liquid differently upon freezing, and will create a better finished texture than if you just used juice. Second: coldness dulls flavor. What may taste very sweet at room temperature will taste more bland when frozen. The sugar gives it a needed boost of flavor.
- You can also make a lemon granita. Follow the same method, substituting lemonade for the orange juice. You should still do the simple syrup, and follow the same method.
- Blood orange granita looks especially gorgeous if you can find blood oranges. December through January are your best windows for finding these beauties.
How to Serve Granita in Natural Orange Cups
I love to put the empty orange “shells” to work after I juice the oranges by making these pretty serving cups. Here’s how:
- Remove the top quarter of the orange and reserve while you gently juice the orange.
- Scrape the orange “guts” from the juiced orange by running a small serrated knife around the pith line, and scrape with a spoon. I find a grapefruit spoon ideal. It is ok if some of the innards remain.
- Cut the very bottom from the orange so it sits flat. You only need to cut the barest amount. Cut too thickly, and you will make a hole in the bottom.
Did you make this homemade orange granita recipe? How was it?
Homemade Orange Granita
- 1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice (from about 6 oranges)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- glug of Cointreau or Grand Marnier, optional
- Make a simple syrup by microwaving or cooking the sugar and water in a small pot, stirring, until all the sugar dissolves.
- Mix the simple syrup with the fresh orange juice and booze, if using, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into any kind of flat-bottomed, freezer safe dish, such as a brownie pan or casserole.
- Place in the freezer and stir and scrape with a fork every 20 to 30 minutes until fully frozen into a slushy sorbet consistency. Serve immediately.
To Make Natural Orange Cups
- After squeezing the juice, scrape the flesh from the oranges using a small serrated knife and a spoon. (I like to use a grapefruit spoon.)
- Trim the very bottom of the oranges with a sharp knife, to create a flat bottom for the oranges to stand upright. Fill with granita. TIP: The granita cups can be filled and frozen in advance until ready to serve.