Friday, February 24, 2023

Here's the SCOOP on Citrus Rinds!

We all love to eat oranges and grapefruits, and there are many different ways of getting to the tasty insides: we can peel them with our fingers, peel them carefully with a knife, cut the fruit into quarters or wedges, cut the fruit in half and pare out each individual section, etc.  No matter what methods we use, the common goal is to get past the rind to get to the "good stuff": the delicious pulp inside. Typically, the rind ends up in the garbage or compost bin. But wait! With Spring Tangelos being picked and getting ready for free shipping and grapefruits fresh off the trees, we here at Florida Fruit Shippers have the "scoop" on maximizing your fruit to the fullest, and that includes the rinds. So don't toss those peels!

This blog is the first of two installments on how to best use your rinds. This first one will hone in on the natural bowl that is created when you cut your fruit in half, allowing for a number of creative and useful household solutions.

Fruit That Will Bowl You Over

Spring is about to be sprung, and with that comes the onset of fruit salad season. Traditionally, fruit salad is a straightforward process: slice up a variety of fruits and toss them together in a mixing bowl, distribute to smaller bowls or cups, and serve. While any combination of fruits will do, make sure you have oranges and/or grapefruits mixed in well as the ascorbic acid that occurs naturally in citrus prevents the other fruits from browning. But what if the bowl is a fruit too?  With one extra easy step, the only serving ware you will have to worry about is the cutlery, or you can eat with your fingers! Simply slice your orange and/or grapefruit (for a slightly bigger bowl) in half and scoop out the pulp carefully. Voila: the remaining rind is a perfect one-serving-sized bowl for your fruit salad. Toss your fruits together in a mixing bowl and distribute to your citrus rind bowls.  Serve with a side of cream or dollop of yogurt, a sprig of mint, and compost your bowl when you are done. Or, if your bowl is still in good shape, rinse it well and use it for the next tip:

Freshen Up Your Refrigerator

Oranges are natural air fresheners. They do a wonderful job of neutralizing garbage and old food smells, and a common trick is to throw some orange peels and ice cubes in your garbage disposal and turn it on. In additions to odor neutralization, the rind "bowls" we talked about can also be used as refrigerator deodorizers. After you make your orange rind bowl and enjoy the pulp, fill the bowl with household salt and tuck it away in the back of your fridge. Any lingering food odors will be neutralized and your refrigerator and its contents will smell fresh and inviting every time you open the door. This tip is actually used by the national house cleaning service, Merry Maids.
Light Up Your Life

Oranges and grapefruits are popular scents for candles, lotions, and essential oils because they have uplifting, energizing, and comforting aromatherapy benefits.  They can also be pricey, which is ironic because citrus rinds can actually serve as candles themselves!  For this DIY use of a rind bowl, you will need to be very careful to not scoop out the center stem piece, as that will serve as the wick. Fill the bowl with olive oil or vegetable oil, and light the "wick" (the center stem piece). It may take a bit longer to catch the flame than on a traditional candle. Once lit, your citrus bowl candle will burn for four to five hours.

Citrus is the perfect spring fruit. It makes you feel healthy inside and out, and every bit of the fruit can be used for healthy living, inside and out. Next week, we'll explore even more springtime uses for citrus rinds, including ways to revitalize your taste buds and brighten your home, so that you can enjoy your fruits with maximum "a-peel."


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