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Elixir

By Letty Fajardo Vera and Frank van Steenbergen, May 2018

Early in the morning delicate bitter orange blossom is harvested, carefully by hand. The fragrance in the blossom at daybreak is most poignant, the dust and heat of the day have not yet worn it away.  The same day the blossom is steamed in simple distillation installations. The vapour is cooled and collected. And so, as simple as that in every Tunisian family elixir is made.

The preparation of orange water or other elixirs is done all over Northern Tunisia with different areas having different flowers to offer: jasmine, geranium or pelargonium.

It is wellbeing contained in a bottle.  Essence carried by drops of water. The delicate power of the blossom transferred to water.

 Every house in Tunisia keeps a small stock of bottles. The elixirs are always at hand to improve life. They have what it takes to reduce ailments: cough, heart problems, rheuma, diabetes. They make food more tasty; from couscous to coffee. They make the atmosphere smell better.

      

House hold elixir in a Tunisian House

Simple household distillation

 

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