Condo Blues: 10 Ways to Use Orange Peels




Sunday, February 22, 2009

10 Ways to Use Orange Peels

I remember standing in my Grandmother’s Florida kitchen and as we chatted, she was squeezing lemons. She said that a neighbor gave her a bunch of lemons from her lemon tree and since they were getting soft she was going to squeeze the juice out of them, freeze it in one-cup containers to use whenever she needed a cup of lemon juice for cooking. That little instance was one of many, “We didn’t get where we are in this life by wasting things” lessons she taught me.
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I don’t have a lemon tree in my yard, but I did have a bunch of oranges in my refrigerator. After enjoying the oranges, I looked at the peels and thought about that long ago conversation with my Grandmother. I can’t compost orange peels but I figured that they had to be useful. I put the orange peels in a container the freezer and did some research. Here are 10 ways I found that you can put those old orange peels to good reuse.




For Food

1. Make orange zest. Grate the peel with a hand grater or zester and use it in baking or cooking like my amazing pumpernickel bread.

2. Soften a brick of brown sugar. Put a piece of orange peel in a container of brown sugar to keep it from drying out.

3. Make candied orange peels . Yum!

4. Make orange liquor. Seal a container filled with orange peels and vodka and put it in a dark place. A few weeks later, strain out the orange peels, and have orange infused vodka. Double Yum!

For Cleaning

5. Destink your sink. Run orange peels through the garbage disposal to freshen up a stinky garbage disposal. Add a few ice cubes and you’ll sharpen the disposal blades too.

6. Rid a room of odor. Simmer orange peels, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in pot of water on the stove to freshen the air naturally. For safety’s sake, keep an eye on that pot and do not leave it boiling unattended on the stove.

7. Scrub a sink. Use a fresh orange peel to scrub through the gunk in your sink. The natural oils in orange peel are an excellent cleaner and shine your sink too.

For Pest Control

8. Scat cat! Scatter orange peels in your garden to deter cats from using it as a litter box. Cats hate the smell of orange oil and will do their business elsewhere.

9. As bug repellent. The oils in orange peels are also a natural insect repellent. Puree orange peels and water in a blender, and pour the solution down anthills to kill ants or pour/spray it outside the house to keep ants from coming into your home. Some folks rub a fresh orange peel on their skin and use it as a natural mosquito repellent too.

For Fire

10. Light your fire. Use dried orange peels instead of newspaper to start a fire. Orange oil is flammable and lights easily which makes it an excellent fire starter. Burning orange peels in your wood burning fireplace is supposed to remove any creosote that’s inside your chimney too. Just use caution because you are playing with fire in this tip.

How do you use orange peels? If you need more ideas, check out the items below!


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24 comments :

Cathy said...

You're right--citrus peels are great! I recently used grated orange peel and ginger in a salt scrub--it smelled great. I should try the orange vodka!

On a Whimsey said...

How clever but so much common sense that we seem to have lost in our busy lives! Love the tip about the brown sugar especially!!

lisa winter said...

What a great post. i never realized there was so many uses for orange peels. i currently just feed them to my chickens, i'll have to try some of your suggestions.

Willo said...

I totally didn't know this last one and I am going to try it! I use them as Christmas ornaments and compost builder.

Nancy said...

You can also put the orange peel in a bowl of water and put it in the microwave on high for a few minutes to help loosen caked on food/grease and take any bad odors out of your microwave as well. Throw in some lemon peel too if you'd like.

Sarah Eliza said...

Wow, great ideas, I had no idea orange peels could be so useful...

Anonymous said...

another thing i do - make enzymes.

i just run the orange peel and seeds through the food processor, blend it as finely as possible. add 1 part fruit, 3 parts brown sugar, and 10 parts water. leave it for about 3 months, remembering to open to container (Which is preferably plastic) everyday.

strain what's left into those squirt bottles, and you can use it as a household cleaner. works wonders and is chemical free.

you can do this with lime or lemon, and even whole overripe fruits as well.

vanessa said...

Have you tried throwing the peels in the wash with your clothes ?

I haven't yet, but would like to try.

Pamela said...

What is the best way to dry orange peels, so that I can them use as kindling?

Green Willow Pond said...

Great tips! You can alao make orange vinegar. Vinegar cleans and disinfects, but it stinks! Just throw your orange peels in a jar (as much as it will hold), pour vinegar over, cap it off and let it sit for a couple weeks, shaking every day or two. Strain the oranges out and use your orange vinegar for cleaning.

Anonymous said...

Green Willow Pond, you are one step away from wonderful home made fabric softener. I do the same process you mentioned and keep the mix in the fridge (hot climate). On laundry day, I put a cup of the mix before the final rinse, and add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda.
Your clothes will come out smelling divine!

Condo Blues said...

Pamela - I put the orange peels on a cookie sheet on the counter and waited until they got rock hard. It took about a week to air dry the orange peels. Sometimes it's humid where I live so it may take more or less time for you.

Anonymous said...

I've been using orange peels to put in tea. Just cut them into thin strips and let them dry. Drying isn't necessary if you can use them right away but for longer storage, dry them.

Anonymous said...

i find it interesting that people posted all over online about drying them and using as fire starters - it doesnt work. Sounds like someone that squeezed the rind near a flame and saw the oil ignite. Drying them? Nope, doesnt work.

Anonymous said...

use the peels to make orange tea !! its amazing and benificial boil the peels in the water and add sugar ur tea is ready !!

Anonymous said...

Crush dried orange peal into small pieces then vachum them and leave in the machines bag or bagless container to create a nice orange smell, I do this with dried lavander but plan to use the orange peel next.

Anonymous said...

What about all the wax and chemicals coating the skins of shop-bought citrus? Can you wash these off before you peel the fruit, or would you have to buy organic?

Anonymous said...

It definitely does work! Perhaps you need to start your fire with paper for the flame to catch, then the flames will happily set into the oils in the peel.

CorgiGirl said...

If you have chickens, you can cut the peel in very small pieces and they will eat them. Same with banana peels.

Linda had a little Lamb said...

I never knew that you could use it to keep your brown sugar soft. Nice to know.

Megan said...

Definitely only eat organic orange rind. I save organic lemon and orange rinds all year for adding to homemade herbal wine.

Kathy said...

I am wondering if using orange peels for fabric softener or in vinegar for cleaning, would end up affecting someone that is allergic to oranges. My son's girlfriend is so allergic to oranges, if I am peeling one in the kitchen and she into the hallway by the back door, a full room away, she seizes up, hives, sneezing, etc. I can only work with fresh oranges when she is not around. She does not have a reaction to anything cooked or baked with oranges, so I wonder if I can use them for fabric softeners or for cleaning in their bathroom. Thanks for your help!

ivanka_g said...

Yea only use organic unwaxed if using internally. And have heard that the smell of dried orange peels also repels moths so keep in your closet. :)

ivanka_g said...

Yea only use organic unwaxed if using internally. And have heard that the smell of dried orange peels also repels moths so keep in your closet. :)

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