I was asked recently what could be done with leftover orange peels?
After researching the answer to the question, I quickly realised I’d stumbled on a goldmine of amazing home uses for orange peels. I had no idea there were quite so many! The more I read, the more I realised just how potent orange peels actually are. Hidden in these extraordinary orange peels, are a variety of powerful compounds that provide a host of uses in the home. I bring you my favourites:
Orange peels can be used for
- flavouring your spirits– Take some fresh organic orange peel and leave to soak and infuse its flavour for at least 2 weeks in a bottle of gin or vodka. Use around one orange peel for each 8 fl oz of spirit.
- exfoliating your skin– Place your orange peels in a dehydrator or in a very low heat oven for around 6-8 hours or place on a window sill for a couple of days. Once the orange peels are reasonably dry, place them in a food processor and grind into a coarse powder, add roughly ground sea salt and you have the best exfoliator there is!
- a spa bath.- Dry the orange peels as above or in the strong sun, then grind to a coarse powder. Use this powder to infuse your bath water with antioxidants and the finest scent imaginable!
- kindling- The oil in orange peels is flammable, so orange peels make the perfect scented kindling and really give a fantastic boost to your fire.
- repelling cats- Cats actively dislike anything that smells of citrus, so if you wish to keep cats away from your houseplants, rub fresh orange peels over the leaves and stems of the plants and then discard the peels in the surrounding earth for a while. Outside plants you wish to protect should be surrounded with orange peels too, this will help keep the neighbourhood cat away!
- candy– Sugar glazed orange peels are delicious, dip them in dark chocolate to offer the ultimate treat to your loved ones.
- salad oil– Add a great zest to your favourite oil by immersing dried orange peels and allowing them to infuse their flavour. Great for pasta and for salad dressing.
- preserving brown sugar– There is nothing worse than brown sugar that’s become lumpy. Add a few dried orange peels to your airtight container to draw moisture away from the sugar, thus retaining its granular consistency.
- cleaning grease off pans- Fresh orange peels are a great de-greaser and can be rubbed like a sponge into stubborn grease to break the fat up and make it easier to wash in soap afterwards.
- lower your blood pressure– It’s not surprising that with the amazing antioxidant properties of orange peel the Chineses have been using it medicinally for years to lower blood pressure. Add the zest to your favourite mineral water to give you an extra health boost.
- preventing bugs and odours in your rubbish/garbage bin – Place a couple of orange peels in the base of your bin before placing the bag inside to eliminate nasties of all sorts!
- preventing slugs from lunching on your salad- Place orange peels around the base of the plants you wish to protect.
- prevent mosquito bites– orange peels contain the compound limonene which most insects detest, rub orange peel on your skin in the evenings to prevent being bitten.
- make orange oil- see recipe below and what you can create once you’ve made it!
Homemade Orange Oil Recipe
- dried orange peels
- a mason jar
- coffee filter
- shallow dish
- food processor
- fine gauzeWhat to doWarm your bottle of vodka on a sunny windowsill. Take your dried orange peels and grind them in your food processor into a coarse consistency. Don’t overdo it, as you’ll release the oils prematurely. Place the ground orange peels into a mason jar and add the warmed vodka until it covers the peel completely. Shake vigorously for several minutes repeatedly over the following 72 hours and keep in a dark, warm place. Strain the solution through a coffee filter and then place mixture into a shallow dish and place a fine gauze over it. Allow the alcohol to evaporate and when it has, you’re left with your own homemade orange oil!Safety Information: Both dried orange peels and vodka are flammable, so please take extra care when making it. Although considered a safe alternative solvent, pesticide and cleaner, it’s toxic if ingested in any quantity, so store it safely away from young children. Orange oil is also corrosive, so only small quantities diluted in water are needed for cleaning etc. Like most citrus oils, orange oil is photo-toxic. Photo-toxicity is the process in which particular compounds can become toxic when exposed to sunlight. I would recommend that you avoid putting them into skin creams because of this.You should not use orange oil while pregnant and as it’s an irritant to both skin and lungs, people with pre-existing condtions should exercise extreme caution when using orange oil.
The benefits of d-Limonene and orange oil are numerous
Limonene, the main compound found in orange peel is natural, green and relatively safe, which makes it a great alternative to using toxic, synthetic chemicals. With its powerful antiseptic properties, it’s a superb cleaning agent. It also contains a natural solvent that is used in many commercial products such as paint strippers , glues and household cleaners.As it’s an excellent pesticide, it’s also used as a safe alternative to the toxic poisons created by our chemical industries. Limonene is also the source of citrus fragrance, giving orange oil products their pleasant orangey aroma.
Orange oil can be used in an
- All Purpose Spray Cleaner– Pour 1 litre of water into a large spray bottle and then add 3 Tbsp of baking soda and 15 drops of orange oil and shake before applying to kitchen surfaces, stove tops and the bathroom sink
- Furniture Polish– Add 10 drops of orange oil to a cup of flaxseed/linseed or even olive oil. Dip your polishing cloth in and wipe over the furniture. Use a separate soft cloth to buff it up to a shine.
What home tips do you have for orange peels? We’d love to hear from you!