What to do with Orange Peels

Have you ever been peeling an orange and wondered to yourself, “what can I do with orange peels?”  It seems a shame to throw them in the garbage.  Citrus peels can be quite useful, so instead of throwing them away, there are ways you can use them.

what to do with orange peels

In the winter season we eat a lot of oranges here.  It’s the time of year when they are cheaper in our area, and they just seem to taste better than the oranges for sale in the summer season.  I live in an area where we can’t grow oranges, but it must be peak season in Florida or something in the cooler months of Canada because there is always an abundance of tasty oranges at the grocery store.

All that vitamin C is good for us in the winter months too.  And oranges are the one fruit in my house that everyone seems to love, even my meat and potatoes husband who is not known to snack on something like an apple very often. 

But when I but those crates of little clementines, everyone is eating them.  A healthy snack that is affordable with no prep work?  A mom’s dream.

SO, what can you do with all those leftover orange peels?  Read on to find out.


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1.  Make a homemade cleaner

Whenever you eat an orange put the peel in the freezer.  When you have enough orange peels to loosely fill a mason jar, put them in and cover them with white vinegar.  Put the lid on and store in a dark, cool place for about two weeks. 

After the two weeks strain the vinegar and toss the peels.  You can top that jar up with water and then get a spray bottle like this one and using a funnel, pour the citrus vinegar in the bottle.  Use as an all-purpose cleaner on places like counter tops and windows.


2. Make a stovetop potpourri simmer

Toss some orange peels, some cinnamon, maybe a splash of vanilla and a bunch of water to a pot.  Slowly let it simmer on low on your stove for hours to make your house smell amazing. 

This works really well on a woodstove as well.  Just make sure you add enough water and keep an eye on it.  If the water all evaporates it will burn and your amazing smelling house will smell awful!


3. Make candied orange peels

Did you know you can eat orange peels?  Well, you may have already known that, but did you know there are recipes where the orange peels actually taste good?  Like candied orange peels.  Try this recipe.


4.  Get rid of odors in your fridge 

This one is going to use some skill.  You’ll need half of the orange rind to be intact, like a little cup.  Fill that orange rind with salt.  Place in your fridge and you’ll get rid of those gross fridge odors and instead it will smell citrusy clean in there!


5. Soften hardened brown sugar

Is your brown sugar too hard?  It happens to all of us at one time or another. 

Take an orange peel or two, put it in the bag of brown sugar and walk away for a few hours.  Check back later and you should find your brown sugar has softened.  At this point you can just toss the orange peels.


6.  Make an orange peel candle

Wait, what?  I know what you are thinking.  How in the world can you make a candle from an orange peel?  I know it sounds crazy, but it can be done, and the best part is that it’ll emit a beautiful citrus scent that will make your house smell amazing. 

You do need to keep half of the peel intact for this one as well.  Here’s a step-by-step video on the process

This video is actually aimed at kids which I am not sure you’d want kids doing this (definitely not young ones and definitely not by themselves) but the video did a great job of explaining how to do it and it would be a fun science experiment.


7.  Keep pests away from your garden

Critters don’t like the smell of orange.  Take those orange peels and scatter them in your garden and they can keep away aphids, and even animals like cats away from your beautiful flowers and freshly growing vegetables.


8. Make some orange peel tea

I love me a good cup of tea.  Any kind of citrus tea is especially good in the winter months.  Why not brew yourself a cup of orange peel tea?  Here’s a recipe you might like.


9. Make this dark chocolate bark with orange peels and hazelnuts

Chocolate, orange, and hazelnuts?  Count me in.  This recipe looks amazing and is a great way to use up some leftover orange peels.  You can justify eating all that chocolate after you ate the healthy orange anyways, am I right?  Can we also talk about how pretty this chocolate bark looks with the orange peels? 


10.  Make some orange peel marmalade

Picture a hot piece of toast slathered in orange peel marmalade while you also enjoy your morning coffee.  Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?  Make this dream a reality by making this marmalade today.


11.  Add nutrients to your garden

Orange peels can help the nutrient level of your garden.  You can add the orange peels directly to your garden, or add them to your compost pile that you will eventually add to your garden to reap the benefits and help your vegetables grow to their full potential.


12.  Clean your microwave 

Yes, you can clean your microwave with orange peels.  Fill a microwave safe bowl with water and add some peels to it. 

Put it in your microwave for a minute or so.  Grab a cloth and wipe out all the dirt in your microwave that has now been loosened by the steam from the heated water. 

The orange peels will leave a clean scent and get rid of any bad odors that are in your microwave.


13.  Make a face mask

Who doesn’t want bright, glowing skin?  You can make a face mask out of orange peels that’ll leave you feeling great in your skin.


14.  Make orange peel oil

You can use orange peel oil for all types of cleaning.  check out this recipe to make your own.  You’ll save money by not having to buy all the cleaning products at the store.


15. Make orange peel ornaments

Want to decorate your tree with a rustic feel this year?  Consider making some orange peel ornaments.  These would be especially great on an outdoor tree as well.


16.  Make a ridiculously cute garland

Tell me this isn’t one of the cutest garlands you ever did see?  If you make this for your Christmas tree, I’m sure everyone who sees it will comment about how cute and creative it is, and possibly how good it smells!


17.  Make orange peel powder

Orange peel powder can be used for a variety of uses.  You can add the powder to cooking, or use it in your skincare routine.  It’s really simple to make too.  


18.  Use in cooking

Some recipes call for orange zest.  All you need to do is grate the outside of the peel and that will give you the zest for whatever recipe you need. 

You can freeze orange zest in individual portions (so, like a tsp) so that you can just grab some whenever you need it when you are cooking.  Orange zest can add that needed punch in the recipe you are making, so you don’t want to leave it out when it calls for it.


So, as you can see there are so many ways you can use orange peels.  Next time you are enjoying a nice, juicy orange, instead of just tossing the peels into the garbage can, consider using them for some of the above purposes. 

Repurposing what you have will save you money.  On top of that, it’s always great when we can be creative with what we have. 

I always feel like I’ve accomplished something when I create something out of something that was destined for the garbage, like orange peels.

Many of the ideas above you can use for any type of citrus peels, such as lemon or grapefruit.  So if you are wondering what to do with citrus peels of any kind, you now have a ton of options!

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