The Fruit. The Whole Fruit. And Nothing But the Fruit.
Our hacks for zero-waste citrus snacking.
Packed with Vitamin C. Naturally sweet. Stunning bright orange color. Bountiful health benefits. The best tasting morning beverage you could ask for! There are a lot of qualities that make picking up an organic orange a good decision the next time you’re at the grocery store. One additional characteristic of oranges that can’t be overlooked though – no food waste! Yep, that’s right. There’s a use for the entire fruit, including the peel!
As an organic company committed to sustainability and a healthier planet, this is especially exciting to us. We’re always looking for more ways to cut back on waste, reduce our carbon footprint, keep toxic chemicals out of the house and fuel our bodies with clean nutrition. When it comes to organic oranges (or citrus!) and all that you can do with their versatile peels, you can take small steps towards each of these goals. The next time you eat an orange, give one of these a try with your peel leftovers:
1. Mix in to your at-home compost. Rather than buying expensive and synthetic chemical laden fertilizers, make your own nutrient-packed compost pile at home. Orange peels are a great addition to the “green” layer of your compost. For a quick “how-to,” check out the EPA’s at-home composting recommendations. This is great way to feed your backyard garden organically and do better by the planet by keeping synthetics chemicals out of the soil and your body in the long run.
2. Dehydrate for a chip-like snack. You’ve probably heard of the phytonutrient hesperidin. If you haven’t, you’ll want to read this (link). Hesperidin is found abundantly in citrus fruit peels. So, the best way to add this nutrient to your diet aside from drinking commercially pressed juice? Eat the peels!
Orange peels are thick, so the next time you’re reaching for an orange as a snack, use a vegetable peeler to shave off a thin outside layer of the peel. Bake your peels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 200 degrees (or the lowest temp setting) for about 30 minutes. If you have a food dehydrator, this is the perfect time to use this! Once your peels are dried and cooled, you can enjoy this crunchy, delicious peel snack. Voila!
3. Make sweet candy treats. You can find these in the store, but homemade is way more fun, and you can get the kiddos involved. Peel two oranges and cut the peels into thin strips (Tip: think gummy worms). Boil the peels in two cups of water for about 15 minutes, then drain, rinse and set aside. Boil 2 more cups of fresh water and 2 cups of sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the boiled peel strips to the sugar water and let the peels simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain the simple syrup, then toss the peels in a little more sugar until lightly coated. Let the peels sit out to dry, then enjoy!
4. Zest! Whether you’re making a savory family dinner, a decadent dessert or a refreshing beverage, fresh orange zest adds sweet citrus essence to a variety of dishes. Give our Iced Orange Sweet Bread and Chocolate Orange Truffles a try and taste for yourself! Take a look at our recipe list for more ideas for incorporating orange zest the next time you’re in the kitchen.
5. Clean your house, citrus-style. Do you prefer to use vinegar as a cleaner instead of some of the harsh chemicals in the market? Great! Now, you can use vinegar and avoid the strong smell when you use orange peels too. Simply add your leftover orange peels to a mason jar. Pour enough vinegar into the jar to cover the peels completely. Let the sealed jar sit for about 2-3 weeks to give the peels and orange scent time to soak in the vinegar. When time’s up and your vinegar is ready, drain your new cleaner (no peels) into a spray bottle. Happy fresh scent cleaning!
This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the creative methods to use the whole fruit! Give these ideas a try to start and keep challenging your family to reduce food waste in other ways. You’d be surprised at how many benefits you can squeeze out of just one organic orange!