Ancient historic apothecary of the Benedictine Nunnery, Pistoia

 PRODUCTS - > Oranges and Bitter Oranges
The “bitter oranges” of the Holy Mary of Angels Nunnery, Pistoia
For “bitter orange” we mean an orange tree not grafted and not treated
A confection of wild raw candied oranges

The Benedictine Nuns are proud of their kitchen garden, where they collect wild oranges twice a year: at Pentecost , while they are unripe and small as nuts, to obtain the extract that will give flavour and colour to Rosolio and will then be candied ...

50 holes each orange

....and then, between St Scolastica (February 10th) and St Benedict (March 21st), when they are already ripe to be used in different ways either raw or cooked.

Marmelade with orange chips
Small oranges in the boiler
16 hour boiling and 16 hours in the sugar..
After being cooked in the sugar
in slanting plate to dry

When raw, these orages can be eaten in salad, to accompany boiled meat, when squeezed, for the “baña cubana”, Indicated to season fish and white meats. The bitter orages taste almost as grapefruit and can be eaten by those who follow a diet low in sugar and are used againt high blood pressure, if boiled and eaten without salt.
These are the only oranges to use in the preparation of the duck with orange.




Processing of the ripe oranges

The oranges are collected in the kitchen garden of the Nunnery, washed and peeled, one by one, to take out the glossy from which we derive the essential oil.

Washed and peeled, one by one
Pressing the skins to extract essential oil

Cut in half, separating the seeds, which will be boiled in part, with the aim of obtaining the pectin which will be then used to thicken the preparation.

Pectin derived from the seeds

We soak the half oranges for three days, changing water three times a day.

At the end of the third day, after the tenth water change, we cook the oranges bringing to a boil for about 45 minutes.

We drain the cooking water and refill with cold water to rinse the oranges and stop the cooking.

We chop (or slice) the cooked oranges, mix with pectin obtained from the seeds and sugar in equal parts (each pound of fruit a pound of sugar).

Everything we cooks goes from the boiler directly to the sterilized jars, that then are sealed and pasteurized.

We slice the cooked oranges


Freshly cooked (and sliced) marmalade.


Small oranges collected unripe and candied on the Rosolio

From the collection of the oranges to the preparation and packaging of the product,
everything happens inside the Nunnery, from St. Scholastica’s and St Benedict feasts.

visit also Thel Laboratory >>>









Monastero di Santa Maria degli Angeli - Vicolo S. Michele, 8 51100 Pistoia Tel. E Fax 0573.22795 - cell. 320.4250364 - E-mail: