New Life for Orange Peels

2014-02-14 — 14 Comments
Art by Faith Te

Art by Faith Te

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

Photo by April  Trash Free Living

Photo by April
Trash Free Living

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.

Art by Debbie Becks Cooper

Art by Debbie Becks Cooper

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!

Sources – click on image to visit source in a new page/tab

14 responses to New Life for Orange Peels


    The candied ones are also nice dipped in dark chocolate….


    What a fun blog post!! My sister and I are Tree Huggers 😀 ❤ She will love this post as well!! We are always eating oranges! Kudos!!


    Thanks for sharing these Gina! These are great ideas. I have a few older oranges that might be good for sponges and deodorizers, and I hadn’t thought of that!


    Reblogged this on Our Enchanting Adventure and commented:
    I’m participating in a retreat today, so when I came across this post during one of our breaks, I thought it would be a great re-blog and fulfill my desire to share some sustainable living ideas every Friday. Have a wonderful weekend everyone and perhaps find some new life for your orange peels courtesy of Gina at People Excited About Co-existence! 🙂


    Why hello there, thank you for the follow. It made my day, and only now I can gather myself to respond with a hello and a follow. None the less, I am impressed. I’ve always wanted to try candied orange peels. Great work on both your blogs Gina!


      Welcome Rubles :). I’m glad this has inspired you to give candied peels a shot. Good luck, and here’s to more visits between our blogs.
      Cheers! Gina


    Hi fellow orange lover! I also use the peels in my ‘scrap soup’. That’s where I make stock with leftover veggie/fruit peelings, strain it and use the broth in making rice, soups etc. And…my very favorite vinegrette using fresh squeezed oj, splash of cinder vinegar, cilantro, olive oil, s&p over spinach with feta tossed in it for good measure…I should post these on my own blog!HA!


      Thanks so much for your welcome visit and wonderful comment. I adore your suggestion of using them in a broth – what a great way to use up every bit of ‘scraps’ (proving they’re not ready for the compost just yet!). Yes I do hope you’ll post about these ideas! Cheers, Gina


    Thanks so much for including a linkback to my post my friend. Cheers! 🙂

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Ingredient Spotlight: Oranges | Green Door Hospitality - February 20, 2014

    […] That amazing citrus smell that awakens your senses and makes you feel alive!  Yup, I’m talking about oranges!  These aromatic jewels of nature’s candy can range from sweet to sour or bitter in flavor.  Oranges can be used for both savory and sweet culinary dishes, as well as having a place within other areas of the household.  Hop over to P.E.A.C.E. (People Excited About Co-Existence) to read about making your own Homemade Orange and Vinegar Household Cleaner. […]


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