With navel oranges coming in season, we’ve been enjoying them a lot lately. Ezra (my son) loves them for an afternoon snack and will literally just bite through the peel. I’ve been teaching him to *peel* the orange first…but we’re still working on that. After peeling, he wants to throw the peels in the trash, but I tell him we have other plans! In an effort to reduce waste, I researched what I can do with an orange peel instead of tossing it in the trash!
Man, oh man! I found some crazy, cool stuff. Orange peels are so versatile and can be used in so many ways that throwing them in the trash would mean missing out on their many wonderful uses. You can do a lot of stuff with an orange peel!
30 Uses for Orange Peels
1. Orange Zest. Use orange zest in recipes to give your dish a zesty flair.
2. Preserve Brown Sugar. Add orange peels to brown sugar to help draw the moisture from the sugar and keep it from solidifying.
3. Start a Fire. And then cook your food on it. Dried orange peel makes great kindling for your next campfire.
4. Orange Peels Dipped In Chocolate. Make candied orange peels and dip them in chocolate. Oh my. I want these right now. Get the recipe here.
5. Orange Peel Candy. Make your own candied orange peels. Yum-o. These candies from Stepha Friendly Foods sound so good!
6. Orange Peel Infused Olive Oil. Find a recipe here for a zesty, citrus-infused olive oil. It tastes great on salads or veggies.
7. Orange Tea. Dry orange peels and add a few pieces to tea the next time you brew it. The orange will infuse a nice citrus-y taste into the tea.
Use Orange Peels For The Home
8. A Natural Sponge. Did you know that you can use an orange peel as a sponge? Crazypants, I know. Before the peel dries out, it contains oils that help de-grease surfaces. If you have a gunky stove or sink, just use a fresh orange peel to scrub it.
9. Deodorizer. Place some orange peels in the bottom of a smelly garbage can before you put in a clean trash bag. For a deodorizer sachet, check out this tutorial here.
10. Disposal Cleaner. For a smelly sink, put some orange peels down the disposal and run until clear. A nice citrus scent will replace a yucky smell.
11. Air Freshener. Boil orange peels in water on the stove to help freshen the air. (I like to add a cinnamon stick, too! See recipe here.) If you have a fire going in your fire place, put a paper bag with dried orange peels into the fire. Your house will smell like oranges. Get the tutorial here. Or, make these awesome DIY Natural Room Scents with orange peels.
12. Refrigerator Deodorizer. Cut orange in half and remove the fruit. Fill the orange-half with salt. Put in a small bowl and keep it in the fridge.
13. Citrus Cleaner. Infuse vinegar with orange peels for a natural citrus cleaner. Get the recipe here.
14. Orange Peel Candle. Make a candle using an orange peel with this orange peel candle tutorial.
15. Topiary Tree. Make a dried orange peel topiary tree for home decor. Get the tutorial here.
Use Orange Peels For Your Body
16. Body Scrub. Wrap orange peels in gauze and rub it on skin while in the shower. It brightens skin. You can also try this orange peel sugar scrub.
17. Bath Oil. Extract the oil using this tutorial. Add a small amount to your bath (just a few drops–to much can cause irritation). Orange oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as for improving skin tone and texture.
18. Bath Powder. Let orange peels dry out, then grind them down with a pestle and mortar until peels are a fine powder.
Use Orange Peels As Natural Medicine
19. Lower Blood Pressure. For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has used bitter orange peels as a natural medicine. Some herbalists suggest eating orange peels as a way to lower blood pressure naturally.
20. Depression and Anxiety. The oil extracted from an orange peel can be used to help naturally relieve anxiety and depression. To extract the oil, read this tutorial.
Use Orange Peels For Pests and Critters
21. Bird Feeder. Cut orange in half and remove fruit. Take an orange-half and poke 3 evenly spaced holes near the cut section of the peel. Attach sturdy string and hang it from a tree. Fill it with bird seed. See this tutorial for more details.
22. Mosquito Repellant. Take fresh orange peels and rub them all over your skin. The citrus scent will repel mosquitos.
23. Slug Repellant. If you have a slug problem in your garden, spread some orange peels on top of the garden’s soil.
24. Ant Repellant. Place orange peels (or ground up peels) around problem areas with ants. You can also extract orange oil from the peel and place orange oil around problem areas. To make orange oil, use this tutorial.
25. Cat Repellant. Place orange peels on the outside of your home to keep stray cats away. They don’t like the smell. Also, if you have a kitty who gets into things she shouldn’t (like houseplants), rub peels or place them near things in your home.
Use Orange Peels for Fun
27. Silly Teeth. You can make funky looking teeth with orange peels. Get the tutorial here.
28. Orange Peel Boats. Cut the orange in half, remove the fruit and use the halves as little boats! See the tutorial here. They are a great project for kiddos!
29. Orange Peel Jewelry. Yep, you can actually make jewelry out of orange peels! Try it with this tutorial.
30. Compost. Ok, if you don’t want to use it in any of these super cool ways, you can always compost it. If you don’t know how to compost, check out Let It Rot for some helpful tips.