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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