I took a glass pitcher and filled it with near-boiling water. I added oranges to it to make orange-infused water and placed it in the fridge. But when I tasted it the next day, it was bitter! The oranges are plenty sweet, so I have no idea what I could be doing wrong. Do you guys have any ideas?
Your hot water is probably extracting the bitter oils from the oranges' rinds. Next time, try adding orange slices to cold water from the tap and leave it in the fridge overnight. You'll probably have better results.
I guess Im failing to see the point of this. The rinds and pith are going to contribute bitterness, if you dont want the flavors that come from those parts, its much easier just to squeeze a little juice into your water and call it a day.
If you really want to go for the infusion thing, make supremes and just throw those into your water
But they don't use hot water, they use cold water. Again, I recommend trying with cold water. I think you will find a difference, and that the water will not be bitter but will have a light orange flavor.
Consider that many recipes for candied citrus rind call for blanching the rinds for just a few minutes before cooking the rinds in sugar syrup because the hot water will draw out bitterness. You steeped your orange slices in hot water, which drew out the bitter oils, and then tasted the water that the oils had dissipated into.
Hotels, BnB (I run a BnB in CA) and bartenders nail this refreshing beverage, so I defer to their method. If you want more orange, add juice. If you want more citrus fragrance add zest or premade zest ice cubes. If you want sweet, add orange infused simple syrup.
But always start with ice cold water, ice cubes and a let the mixture rest for up to a few hours on the counter.
Keep in mind infused waters are meant to be enjoyed within hours of preparing. They do not "keep" well long term.