Monday, February 9, 2009

14 Things to Do with Orange Peels

I have been noticing lately that the orange peels in the house seem to be multiplying....I find them in practically every room in the house! Here is a pile I found in the kitchen:

And in the family room:

Luckily, I didn't find any in the bathroom!

So, what do we do with all of these orange peels? I am trying to decrease our landfill contribution so we researched and found some clever things to do. We also found that scientists are finding ways to use limonene, the phytochemical found in orange peels. Limonene makes up 95% of the essential oil in all citrus fruits. Scientists are also finding ways to make ethanol from the limonene and are finding that limonene has anti-cancer effects. You can learn more about the benefits of limonene here- Another beneficial thing nature has provided us!

Here are some things you can do:

1. Make salad dressing: place orange peels and cranberries in a good qualitly olive oil, close up with a cork and let sit. It should be ready for salad in a few weeks.

2. Throw a few peels down the garbage's a great deoderizer. Don't use too much, however, I have broken a disposal this way!

3. Use a zester to produce yummy orange zest. Bottle it up, it keeps in the fridge for about a week, or put it in the freezer to keep longer. Sprinkle it into your favorite sugar cookie recipe or on vanilla ice cream, it's also good in sauces, soups and salads!

4. Dry the orange peels using a food dehydrater, or in a warm sunny spot for a few days, place the peels in a cloth bag and put in your closet and cupboards to keep them smelling fresh.

5. Puree the orange peel in water to make a spray that will discourage ants from crossing.

6. Flies and mosquitos don't like orange either. Small piles of zest will help discourage these pests without the use of pesticides! This could really come in handy on a picnic.

7. Simmer peels in water, add a pinch or two of cloves and a cinnamon stick for a wonderful fragrance for your home. Actually, this will help clean the air from airborne cold and flu germs! I do this through the entire winter season!

8. Dried orange peel makes a great firestarter due to the highly flammable limonene.

9. Candy the orange peels. For the recipe and a beautiful tutorial how click here-

10. Put the peels around your houseplants to keep the kitties out of the dirt.

11. Make orange sugar by placing clean peels in a jar of sugar. This is tasty in a hot cup of tea.

13. Place a peel in your brown sugar to keep it soft.

14. Make your own orange oil extract, which can be used for many homemade cleaning products:
-Put orange peels in a glass jar with grain alcohol (we used vodka)
-Let the peels soak in the vodka for about 3 weeks, shake vigorously for a few minutes every few days.
- Strain out the peel and put the liquid into a dark container, store in a cool place

***Add your homemade orange extract to white vinegar for a great degreaser, window cleaner and countertop cleaner.

Now the little ladies have a special place in the kitchen to put these very useful gifts from nature. Hopefully, I won't be finding them all over the house anymore! =)


Melanie said...

these are awesome things to do. I make the air freshener one that you boil and it really is divine. Mandarin is great in this mix too. The other 13 tips are all new to me though and I am definately trying the cleaner one at the end. I love making my own cleaners. Great tips

Unknown said...

What great ideas Lisa
I especially like #7 - I wonder if you can add Thieves too?

Tammy said...

Thank you for sharing all these ideas with us! We love eating oranges here in my home, and I always hate to just throw away all the peels. I'll have to give some of these ideas a try.

mamaraby said...

What a great idea! My favorite by far has to be #14 - I just love the smell of oranges!

Anonymous said...

I love the degreaser idea. I think I'll have to set up something similar in our kitchen, seeing as I won't allow them into our compost. Thanks!

MLDB said...

I love these ideas...especially the one where you boil the orange peels to make the house smell yummy.

Shannon said...

I love these ideas, especially #7!!! I'll be sure to save my peels tomorrow!

It's me said...

I would add "Squeeze peels between your fingers near a flame so you can watch the cool sparks".

I suppose that's not very crafty though.