Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Many Uses of Orange Peels

Our family recently purchased a juicer. We have truly enjoyed it and all the health benefits that go along with fresh, raw, untouched juice. It's like milk from the cow...there's really nothing like it.

Obviously, our produce bill has gone up a bit. I decided if juicing was something we were going to do long-term, I was going to utilize every bit of the fruit and veggies, not just the juice. 

For the most part, we're composting the pulp that our juicer spits out. Though I haven't tried it, I would like to add that pulp to our muffins and quick breads for some extra fiber and bulk. 

We made some freshly squeezed orange juice the other day, and it was phenomenal! Then I looked at my cutting board and saw the pile of orange peels. I immediately thought, "I can't throw all that away. Surely there's something I can do with the peels of five oranges that's better than composting."

Turns out, I was right. Orange peels have TONS of uses.

Did you know that you can use an orange peel and a bit of coarse sea salt to scrub coffee rings out of your coffee mugs? You can also run a few orange peels through your garbage disposal to freshen it up. And, you can make your own dried orange peel to use in recipes, which is what I did.

I just used my handy micro-plane grater and went to town. A zester or fine cheese grater would work too, if you don't have a micro-plane grater.

Once you've gotten all the orange peel off you want, leave it out to dry on your counter top for about 24 hours. Then transfer it to a spice jar or airtight bag. Use it in any recipe calling for orange peels.

But I wasn't finished yet. I have used lemon peels with vanilla extract in boiling water for years to give my home a yummy, refreshing smell. So I tried it with orange peels.

Just place several orange peels in a saucepan with about two cups of water. Add a teaspoon or so of pure vanilla. If you have a rosemary or lavender plant, snip off a bit and add it to the water. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer all day to release a wonderful fragrance throughout your home. Be sure to check the water level every half hour and add more water as needed.

Here are a few other uses for orange peel:
  • Instead of rosemary and vanilla, use cinnamon and cloves during the fall and winter for the perfect autumn scent.
  • Put a piece of orange peel into your brown sugar to keep it soft.
  • Use it to scrub your sink and remove that gunk all sinks seem to accumulate over time.
  • Scatter orange peels in your garden to keep cats from using it as a litter box.
Do you know any other uses for orange peel? If so, please share them with us!

Written and submitted by Lindsey @ Penny-wise

1 comment:

  1. Not my own ideas, but borrowed:

    1. Dried orange peel makes a powder when ground to add to your bath.

    2. Make a puree of grated orange peels and water and pour into ant hills to get rid of ants.

    3. Dried orange peel makes great kindling for a winter fire. The oils in it are flammable.

    4. Place orange peel and cranberries in a olive oil and seal it for a few days. You'll have a delicious oil!