Bergamot can refer to two natural ingredients; a pungent herb, similar in smell to oregano; and a variety of orange, with a much more sour and bitter taste than the sweet juicy kind we're used to - more like a lemon or a grapefruit than a traditional orange, and the colour of a lime, despite its name. Both types of bergamot have their own uniquely stunning fragrance.
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Here at Heyland & Whittle, we use the refreshing citrus scent of bergamot oranges to fragrance several of our products, as we believe it adds a beautifully uplifting burst of zing and zestiness to other ingredients.
But bergamot oranges don't just smell amazing; they also taste gorgeous, and they are believed to have a wide range of health benefits too.
Baking with bergamot oranges
Citrus fruits work wonderfully in a classic drizzle cake. While lemon might be the more traditional option, lime and orange work just as well, which means bergamot can take their place in a recipe brilliantly.
Follow your usual recipe, substituting the lemon for tangy bergamot oranges. Remember that this fruit can have a rather sharp, sour taste, so it would be a good idea to balance it with something sweeter if you're making a curd or icing to accompany your cake. Honey would be a lovely choice, with its natural sugars balancing out that strong bergamot flavour.
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That bergamot and honey curd could also make a beautiful filling for mini pastry tarts and, remember, you could always use a combination of freshly squeezed lemons and bergamot in your bakes if you're not quite sure if the unusual taste of bergamot is for you.
Health benefits of bergamot
Bergamot essential oil is believed to have multiple health benefits, with many people choosing to take it in the form of supplements containing extracts of the fruit's peel.
There is research to suggest that bergamot can help to lower cholesterol, for example, with the citrus fruit found to naturally contain compounds similar to those used in cholesterol-lowering medication.
Indeed, a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Cardiology showed that taking 1,000 milligrams of bergamot each day for a month took 77 participants' cholesterol levels from 278 milligrams per decilitre of blood to 191 milligrams.
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Meanwhile, some believe that bergamot can be an effective treatment for psoriasis, and the fruit is also classed as an antioxidant, which means it should provide the immune system with a boost.
Fill your home with their citrus scent
We've established that bergamot oranges have many uses, but one of their most outstanding characteristics is their beautiful citrus fragrance. Although rather sharp, teamed with a softer citrus fruit like lime, as in our Bergamot & Lime Reed Diffuser and Bergamot & Lime Candle in a Tin, it provides a wonderfully refreshing summer scent to fill your home.
Powerful bergamot is also a key ingredient in our Whiff Away range of home fragrance products, where it is teamed with clary sage and an odour neutraliser to keep pet-related smells at bay. The Whiff Away Room Spray in particular provides a fresh burst of quick fragrance whenever you need it, without you needing to keep citrus fruits in the house at all times.