It's almost the end of winter. If like us, you're devouring oranges and sweet limes like they're never coming back, you likely have bucketfuls of citrus peels left over. The skins of citrus fruits including oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and pineapple generally get a bad rap among people who compost for slowing down the decomposition process by making the mix too acidic and killing off vital composting microbes. While you might want to try this out for yourself, citrus peels have numerous other uses that will keep the peels out of the trash and let you enjoy their aroma for longer.
1. Natural cleaners
Follow this easy method of dealing with citrus peels and you will never have to buy toxic cleaners and detergents for your home again. Mix 1 part of jaggery (or any sugar) with 3 parts citrus peels and 10 parts water in a loosely-capped, airtight container. Store the mix in a cool, dark place, opening every few days to release the gas that builds up. In 90 days time, you will have your first batch of bioenzyme. Adding a few granules of bakers' yeast will speed up the process to two weeks. Separate the pulp from the liquid and use it to clean steel and ceramic surfaces, ovens, kitchen chimneys, and as a floor cleaner
The pulp can be used to start off your next batch of bioenzyme. Ground, it makes a great replacement for harsh detergents. Find more uses of bioenzyme here.
2. Fridge freshener
Rid your fridge of odours with a couple of lime peels to give it a fresh scent.
3. Make marmalade
Finely chop the orange peel and cook it with sugar/ jaggery and water until it acquires a syrupy consistency. Here's an easy recipe minus preservatives.
4. Natural body scrub
Dried citrus peels are full of natural, healing oils and make a great exfoliating body scrub. Dry the peels in the sun until they are brittle. Mix them up with other ingredients to create your own natural, chemical-free face scrub. Here's a recipe you might like.
5. Citrus salt
Put a Masterchef-y spin to your weekday dinners with this easy seasoning. Zest the fruit before you eat it and set the zest out to dry overnight. Combine the dry zest with an equal amount of coarse salt and use it to season your meals.
6. Clean your cutting board
The natural acidity of lime makes it a great antibacterial. After properly cleaning your cutting boards, rub the surface with half a lemon. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing.
7. Lemony ice cubes
Summer is nearly upon us and adding a hint of lemon to your drinking water can make it a lot more refreshing. Freeze your ice cubes with little twists of citrus rind for pretty summer coolers.
8. Citrus extract
This boozy option is for all the bakers. Peel 6 lemons into long slivers. Place the peels in a jar and cover with a cup of vodka. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks and shake once every few days. When the extract achieves your desired intensity, strain the peels and pour the liquid into a clean bottle. Store in the fridge and use it in your favourite desserts.
9. Make your own healing brew
Mince citrus peels and dry them in the sun for a day or two. Use them with warm water, ginger and honey for a morning drink or add them to flavour your green tea.
10. Orange peel candles
Conventional candles and tea lights not only add to the trash, but also contain toxic paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances that degrade air quality. Make your own DIY scented, orange peel candles with this step-by-step guide.
So, next time you enjoy a juicy orange, save the peel and savour its heady scent for longer.