The winter arrived and with it the citrus fruits: oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons… to give us happiness with their colors, to fill the air with their perfumes, and as well to defend ourselves against the seasonal illnesses (many people recommend a good orange juice to increase our supply of vitamin C!).
But useful, and usable, it’s not only in citrus pulp and vitamin C!
If up until now you peel them and throw away the peel, you have to know that this part that you thought useless can be reused in different ways that you never imagined.
Here we have 10 ideas to reuse, to create, to experiment and above all, to recycle the citrus peel!
1 – Recycle orange peels in the kitchen
When you peel the citrus try as better as you can to separate the whites from the colored parts.
You can use the thicker peels to do the typical Christmas Sweets: candied orange peels covered with chocolate.
Otherwise put the peels on a plate and leave them to dry for few days (could be close to the wood stove or a heater).
Then you can store them in a glass jar, to use it for example to make a custard or other preparations in which you need the whole pieces of peel.
Or you can put them in a blender and chop them as finely as possible. The powder you obtain can be stored in small glass jars, such as those of capers or homogenized.
This zest can be used for cakes, pastry, cocktails, crème, but also mixed with sugar to get a good flavored sugar.
It’s very easy to reuse the lemon or orange peels to make a good Limoncino or Arancino.
It’s enough to add them to some alcohol and leave them in a jar for 3-4 days. Then boil a water and join some sugar. Filter the alcohol (which has already extract the essence from the peel) with a strainer. Add the sweetly water, stir, let cool down and put in the bottle. An excellent “digestivo” for our lunches during the Christmas holidays.
3- Making candles with the peels of tangerines or oranges
If you want to share with friends or with children a scientific and creative activity at the same time you can cut the peel of the tangerine along the circumference, and then remove the top half part without breaking it. We will have a half peel empty and half full of whole cloves.
At the center of the cloves there is a beam of white strands: the “wick”, in fact. We remove the cloves without breaking the white filaments in the center. In the other half without wick we cut an decorative hole, for example like a star shape. Fill the half with the filaments with olive oil, so that the wick protrudes from the oil level about 5mm (0,20 inch).
Set fire to the wick with a match or a lighter. When this is light, place the second half of tangerine peel on our candle.
That is a beautiful Christmas scientific activity.
4 – Make decorations with the citrus fruits peels
There is always a way to decorate our surrounding, a gift or the Christmas tree at zero cost.
It doesn’t require much preparation, just be careful to peel a citrus to get large pieces of peel. With a mold for cookies, we give a new forms 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.
Or, after washing the organic fruit peel, why not add it to the tea in the afternoon to perfume it and embellish it?
Or fill a glass vase with dried peels of different shapes: a potpourri of brightly colors, eco-friendly and perfumed.
5 – Create special containers with orange peel
There are those who has created a line of tableware: plates, glasses, cutlery, trays made from the oranges peel. That’s the case of the young designer Ori Sonnenschein, who designed Solskin Peels.
The peel of orange are manipulated to get the desired shape and treated so that they can maintain a degree of rigidity to permit their actual use. The processing ends with the coating of an organic material called shellaq that allows the object to preserve its shape for a certain period. Each tool is 100% biodegradable. The idea is certainly practical and original. With a little of experience, the right passion and a bit of skill, even at home you can try to replicate the idea of Ori sonnenshein. So… enjoy your orange juice!
6 – Make perfumes with various citrus peels
During that the peel dried they leave the essential oil that smell for days and weeks and perfume surrounding environment. Once they are dry you can leave it in open containers or in perforated bags so that they will perfume all our rooms and wardrobes as a citrus grove.
7 – Bijoux made of orange peels
Let’s be original in what we wear. We can cut the peel in rectangles with similar dimension, and longer as we can. Roll up the peel and fix it with a pin. Then leave everything to dry. Use a protective coating water to fix the shape. Then add the appropriate colored small pearls. Here you a in few steps a unique earrings. We let at your imagination the choice of the colored matching.
8 – Make a feeders for birds with a half peel
To transform a snack with the children in a creative experience, we can cut a medium large orange or a grapefruit in half, empty with a spoon, leaving intact the half-peel, and after enjoying the pulp that we removed, pierce close to the edge in all four directions with a straw or a stick, insert a small tube or a wire into each hole and join them at the top to allow you to be able to hang. Fill it with seeds for birds and our ecological birds feeder is ready to be hang it. Good work!
9 – From citrus peels to cosmetic products
For a body scrub 100% natural try to pass on your skin a paste formed with lemon or orange peel, chopped olive oil and sugar. You’ll be surprised by the result. In addition, some natural remedies recommend to use lemon peel to help lighten age spots. Try it!
10 – Household products made with the discarded peel
The peel of lemons are perfect for descaling the kettle, plugs of the sinks and the shower heads.
Simply soak them for an hour in a container with hot water and lemon peel and chop.
Clean surfaces soiled with grease, clean the stove and cutlery, clean the oven, clean and polish the copper and brass, clean the coffee pot and teapot, clean the sink, repel insects, scent the environment… these are just some of the many possible uses of lemon peels!
The possibilities are endless, we have listed just a few, to give you some idea!
And now I leave you with a Post Scriptum: a small hint of a draft submitted to the Sixteenth Green chemistry & Engineering Conference and promoted from the University of New York, Cordoba and San Paolo in Brazil. The project called “Orange Peel Exploitation Company” (OPEC) has developed a technique of extraction and utilization of the approximately 15.6 million tons of peel of oranges and other citrus fruits discarded worldwide every year.
The system has an ambition that exceeds the mere re-use of the peel thrown: the creation of products made with natural methods to replace traditional manufacturing processes, often petrochemicals. The less attractive parts of the world most popular citrus fruits could became useful material for the production of medicines and cosmetics and to provide energy and heating to our houses.
Now that we know that we’ll think before throw the peels of citrus fruits.
If you have other ideas, I invite you to share them with us!