In the Levant, orange blossom water is known as May Zahr, in Morocco Ilma Zhar and in Algeria Ma Zhar, in Moroccan / Algerian languages meaning “orange blossom water”, in contrast to May Ward or Ilma Ward, which is rose blossom water. Orange blossom water serves two purposes in Algeria and Morocco. One usage is as a perfume or freshener, usually given to guests to wash their hands upon entering the host house or before drinking tea. It is put in a special silver or metal container, recognizable in the Algerian or Moroccan tea set. However, this old custom is fading away in the present day. The main usage of orange blossom water, however, is in Algerian cuisine and Moroccan cuisine, especially as an ingredient for traditional sweets and sometimes to aromatize drinks such as coffee
Ingredients: Distilled orange flower water
Traditionally, Orange flower water has been used as an aromatizer in many Lebanese traditional dessert dishes. In addition it has more recently found its way into Western cuisine. As a matter of fact, orange flower water is used in the whole world to flavor some kinds of food. In addition, Orange flower water is also used as an ingredient in some cocktails. It is widely used as a medicine In Malta and many North African and in the Middle Eastern countries. Good for stomach ache and given to infants as well as adults.
Orange flower water has been a traditional ingredient. Used often in North African as well as in Middle Eastern cooking. In Arab variants of baklava, orange blossom water is often mixed with the sweet syrup for flavor. It is believed to be used in this manner because it is seen as the traditional bridal flower. And, therefore, symbolize purity (white, small and delicate). It is also added to plain water to mask the high mineral content and other unpleasant flavors. Some add the fragrance not to the taste of the plain water.
In Lebanon, orange blossom water is known as May Zahr. It serves two purposes. One usage is as a perfume or freshener.
It is usually given to guests to wash their hands upon entering the host house, or before drinking tea. Put in a special silver or metal container, recognizable in the Lebanese tea set (white coffee). However, this old custom is fading away in the present day. The main usage of orange blossom water, is especially as an ingredient for traditional Lebanese sweets. Not to mention Maamoul, Baklawa, Mafroukeh and special Ramadan sweets like Karabij with walnuts and pistachios. Sometimes it aromatizes drinks such as coffee.
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