Recycle Your Orange Peels
Oranges are one of the healthiest and most delicious fruits around. Whether cutting into pieces for a fresh fruit salad or squeezing the juice for a nice glass of OJ, there are many ways to enjoy an orange. But you shouldn’t stop there – even the peel can be used in various ways! From cleaning and cooking to fun DIY projects, here are the best ways to reuse orange rinds around the house.
Deodorizing and cleaning
Citrus fruits have a sweet smell that can make for an excellent fragrance for your home. After peeling your orange, toss the peels into a large pot of water on your stove, add some cloves and cinnamon sticks, and then simmer for a while as the mixture freshens the air naturally. Orange peel can be a great deodorizer when placed at the bottom of your trashcan as well.
Lisa from Condo Blues says oranges work well to de-stink your kitchen sink! “Run orange peels through the garbage disposal to freshen up a stinky garbage disposal,” she says. “Add a few ice cubes and you’ll sharpen the disposal blades too.” While you’re in that area, also use some of the peel to scrub and shine your sink.
Orange peels come in handy in a variety of ways when cooking in the kitchen. Start by placing them on a plate and letting them dry for a few days. You can then store them in a jar and use them for decoration or in recipes that require large pieces of orange peel. Some recipes call for finely grated orange, or the zest of an orange, so you can save the orange peels for such an occasion.
Emma Christensen suggests using orange peels to add flavor to meat dishes. “A hint of citrus will enhance many meat dishes,” Christensen says. “Throw the peels in the braising liquid or put them in the cavity of a whole chicken before roasting.” She also recommends steeping orange peels in liquor for a few days and creating your own citrus-infused cocktail! “The bright, cheery peels are beautifully suspended in the jar, where all the magic is happening,” she says.
Decorating and personal hygiene
Finally, consider introducing orange peels in decorating and DIY projects. One use in this category is making a homemade bird feeder. Cut an orange in half, remove the pulp with a spoon, poke two holes at the top on either side of the peel, and then allow it to dry. After it has dried, fill it with birdseed, attach a string through the holes and hang it outside!
Cristina Vignoli suggests using orange peels for creating decorative garlands. “It doesn’t require much preparation, just be careful to peel a citrus to get large pieces of peel,” Vignoli advises. “With a mold for cookies, we give a new form to our peel, join the different forms with a wire, then we can use it to hang a garland, to adorn a gift, or longer to decorate the Christmas tree.”
You can also fill a glass jar with peels of different shapes and sizes, creating a natural, perfumed potpourri. Or try making a natural, homemade body scrub using chopped pieces of orange peel, olive oil and sugar. Store the mixture in a jar and use it to scrub away dirt and body blemishes naturally.
You might not have thought of an orange as having this many uses before—they aren’t just for eating and drinking! You can employ them for cleaning, cooking and decorating, too. So, the next time you head to the grocery store or farmer’s market, make sure you stock up on oranges and utilize some of these ideas to put the peels to good use around your home.