Sunday, February 25, 2024

From Citrus Scraps to "Scent"-sational!

Mmmmmm.... there's nothing quite like a delicious orange or tangerine, always at the ready for peeling and eating. There are few things in nature besides citrus fruits and bananas that come "prepackaged" and ready to eat in one, hand-sized, quickly peel-able serving. We typically peel them quickly, and then deposit the thick and protective rinds in the trash or--better yet--the compost bin. But wait!  Before tossing the peel, consider this: citrus peels have many uses that will not only cut down on food waste, but enrich both your home and health as well.

Just Eat It

Remember that Michael Jackson hit "Beat It" from the eighties? Weird Al Yankovic released a spoof of that song called "Eat It" that was accompanied by a hilarious video showing him eating, well, just about everything. While we don't generally recommend this approach to food consumption, it's worth noting that the rind or peel of citrus fruits are not only edible; they are extremely nutritious!  In fact, they contain three times more vitamin C than the pulp itself, coming in at 14% of your daily recommended allowance in only one tablespoon. The pithy part of the peel also contains a high concentration of polyphenols and limonenes, those powerhouse compounds clinically proven to reduce inflammation and cancer. Bonus: chewing citrus peel makes your breath smell good!

However, just because something is good for you, doesn't mean more is better. Orange and tangerine peels can be bitter-tasting and contain a lot of fiber, which in turn can cause stomach upset. As such, less is more: enjoy the peel on a single slice of fruit, as in the picture above, or finely grate it into what's known as "zest" and add a tablespoon of zest and/or thinly sliced strips of peel to salads, yogurts, cottage cheese for a nutritious and colorful condiment. You can also use slices of oranges as creative, edible garnishes on drinks, and their peels help keep them firmly on the side of the glass. With smaller servings, you'll still reap all of the nutritional and breath-freshening benefits. Just make sure to thoroughly wash your citrus fruit in hot water before slicing and consuming the peel.

Odor-Busting Tips

In addition to freshening your breath, citrus peels are champion household fresheners. In fact, go ahead and throw a few peels in the bottom of your garbage can: their essential oils will naturally neutralize any rotten trash odors. You can also throw some fresh peels into your bathtub, where the essential oils have a similar odor-busting and mood-boosting effect. While we're at it, toss some peels in some vinegar in a spray bottle and wait a week: you'll get a wonderful cleaner that smells bright and cleans great!  Those citrus essential oils are cleaning powerhouses: you can even use an orange peel to scrub greasy pots, pans, and dishes.

Dry Them and Try Them

Peels can be easily dried by cutting them into strips and laying them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in an oven set to 180 or 200 degrees. It will likely take them about two to three hours to dry completely.  If possible, leave the oven door open slightly to allow moisture to escape and maximize drying.  You can also microwave them on a paper towel for five minutes at fifty percent power, and then leave them on the kitchen counter for several days to finish drying out. Alternatively, you can place them on a drying rack or mesh outside in full sun for about a week. Once dried, they can be stored in airtight containers and used for up to a year. You can eat them right out of the jar if you wish, and also enjoy the following uses for dried citrus peels:
  • Place them in your dresser drawers to freshen your clothes
  • Grind them with salt and pepper for a tasty seasoning
  • Grind them with sugar or salt, mix with almond oil, and use as an energizing hand and body scrub
  • Add them to a hot cup of tea along with a stick of cinnamon
  • Use peels as kindling for a nice smelling campfire!
  • Make potpourri: combine your dried peels with cinnamon sticks, pine cones, cloves, nutmeg, dried flowers, and essential oils if desired. Mix well and store in mason jars.

So, as you can see, enjoying the whole citrus fruit--pulp and rind alike--has a lot of a-PEEL. With spring right around the corner, we here at Florida Fruit Shippers wish you a scent-sational experience with your premium citrus! 


Can You Eat Orange Peels, and Should You? (

12 Surprising Uses for Citrus Peels You’re About to Throw Away | Well+Good (

5 Ways to Use Leftover Orange Peels to Improve Your Home - One Delightful Life

30 Uses For Orange Peels You Never Knew Possible (

How to dry orange peel – Sun Sentinel (

How to Dry Citrus Peels (Preserving the Flavor and Health Benefits) - Drying All Foods

Homemade Potpourri From Leftover Fruit Peels (

Garden Guides | How to Make Orange Peel Potpourri

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Friday, February 9, 2024

Creative DIY Citrus Valentine's Gifts and Decor

Will you be my "Bellentine?"  With Valentine's Day around the corner, it makes sense that Honeybells and Golden Honeybells are at the peak of their season. Likewise, Cara Cara red navel oranges are ripe and ready to enjoy; their signature red pulp is custom made for the holiday of Love. What better gift for your beloved than fresh, seasonal citrus? A nice fruit-filled heart-shaped bowl like the one pictured below is the perfect centerpiece. But why stop there? How about some creative gifting and decor to really convey the Valentine's mood?

Say I "Heart" You with Multicolored Citrus

Fortunately for us, citrus comes in a variety of colors, inside and out.  No need to buy expensive decorations or sugary snacks: simply slice a few varieties of your favorite citrus types and use a paring knife to shape them into little hearts. These can be added to fruit salads, green salads, used as a garnish on a main dish, or simply served up alone as a fun snack! The picture below shows a multicolored assortment of navelred navel, and babybell oranges.


Let's Just be Friends 
There's simply no room for heartbreak this Valentine's Day: here's an easy and fun craft your kids and you can give to others to let them know how much you love being their friend.  Is someone crushing on you? This gift is also a gracious way to let that someone down easy. Simply take your citrus of choice, place it in a gift bag, and print or hand-design a card that says: "Orange you glad we're friends?" Tie the card onto the bag and voila: the perfect Friendentine!

Something for Your Main Squeeze

Now here's a clever gift idea for your pun-loving beloved: give them some delicious citrus and attach a hand juicer with a card that says "I just want to give you a big SQUEEZE for Valentine's Day!" 

Getting Romantic

Worried about setting a romantic mood for the big V Day?  Citrus is here to help once again!
While not traditionally recognized as one of the "aphrodisiac" foods like oysters and chocolate, more recent research has shown that the high vitamin C content of all citrus fruits increases blood flow and libido. Furthermore, the bright aroma of oranges and grapefruits is energizing and as such can counter fatigue that can get in the way of romance. You can bring these love-boosting qualities right into your home with a glowing citrus candle and a tasty cocktail recipe.  

There's so much to love about citrus! 
Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Florida Fruit Shippers! 


10 Aphrodisiac Foods That Increase Libido & Improve Your Sex Life | Cory Couillard | YourTango

How To Make a Clementine Candle | Apartment Therapy

Jac o' lyn Murphy: Valentines for your Main Squeeze - Healthy and Pretty DIY (

Winter Citrus Bourbon Cocktail Recipe | By Gabriella

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