As a regular reader you’ll know I love oranges. Here’s an excerpt from my post Festive Chinese Décor (reminding us that if nothing else, let’s put out a bowlful of oranges).
Oranges – Ya gotta have em! Keep fresh oranges in your house. Eat them and encourage every one to eat their oranges! Peel them. Cut them up. Juice them. Toss segments in salads. Give them to guests. Take them to work.
One result of our enjoyment of oranges is an abundance of leftover peels. Not quickly compostable! Rather than tossing them, there are many ideas we can implement in giving them further use.
My hubby loves nibbling on candied peels but I prefer to mince them up and stir into muffin batter. Here’s an easy recipe that makes about 1 cup.
Candied Orange Peels
4 or 5 oranges (or any combo of citrus fruits)
¾ cup of sugar
With a sharp knife, slice ends off oranges and place flat end on cutting board. Following curve of fruit, slice away the outermost peel leaving most of the white pith. (Enjoy the oranges as freshly squeezed juice, tossed in a fruit salad, or just as they are! Now, on with the directions for candied peels) Thinly slice peels into strips. In a pot of boiling water, drop sliced peels and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer peels to a rack over a baking sheet, spreading into a single layer. Let dry slightly for about 15 minutes. In a small saucepan bring ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peels and return to a boil. Boil gently until peels start to become translucent and syrup thickens, about 10 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer hot peels carefully (do not touch) to wire rack, separating as required. Let candied peels dry for about an hour until cooled. Toss with ¼ cup of sugar and store in a tightly sealed jar for up to a month (Never lasts that long around here!).
Orange and Vinegar Household Cleanser
While this handy cleaner I enjoy using has already been posted all over the Web, just in case you’d like a refresher (pun intended) here’s an easy and effective Citrus Cleaning Solution. With each orange peel you accumulate, toss them in a container in the freezer until you have enough to fill a Mason jar.
Also an important note: do NOT use this vinegar-based solution on your granite or marble countertops or cutting/cheese boards because the acidic vinegar can mar the finish of porous stone surfaces. Avoiding stone, this is an effective all-purpose cleaner that’s even safe for wood but I mostly use it in my kitchen and bathroom. It polishes surfaces and leaves everything gleaming!
Directions for Concentrate: Using a 1-quart/1L glass jar, fill with citrus fruit peels (takes at least 5 oranges). Pour white distilled vinegar over peels, screw lid on tightly and allow to sit at least 2 weeks, shaking jar periodically. Strain into another Mason jar and discard peels. This concentrate can store in a tightly covered jar up to one year (but if your home is like my household, it’ll get used up long before then!).
To Use as a Cleaner: Dilute concentrate with half water (some recommend a weaker solution; some use full strength; do what works for you) and if desired, add a few drops of an essential oil such as from any citrus fruit, lavender or rosemary; optional but a delightful addition. Although the citrus peels don’t completely eliminate the vinegar aroma while cleaning, the vinegar scent fades quickly as it dries leaving a pleasant citrus fragrance lingering. Nice!
More suggestions for extending the life of those orange peels.
This clever blogger, Alison at The Sprouting Seed, has 30 Ways to Use Orange Peels!
Here’s my faves from her list:
A Natural Sponge – Did you know that you can use an orange peel as a sponge? Crazypants, I know. Before the peel dries out, it contains oils that help de-grease surfaces. If you have a gunky stove or sink, just use a fresh orange peel to scrub it.
Deodorizer – Place peels in the bottom of a smelly garbage can before you put in a clean trash bag.
Refrigerator Deodorizer – Cut orange in half and remove the fruit. Fill the orange-half with salt. Put in a small bowl and keep it in the fridge.
Preserve Brown Sugar – Add orange peels to brown sugar to help draw the moisture from the sugar and keep it from solidifying.
Start a Fire – And then cook your food on it! Dried orange peel makes great kindling for your next campfire.
Orange Tea – Dry orange peels and add a few pieces to tea the next time you brew it. The orange will infuse a nice citrus-y taste into the tea.
Thanks Alison! All these ideas rock. So let’s all keep this amazing fruit coming into our homes, our bellies, and our household cleaning supplies. Oranges (and their peels) are awesome!
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