Don’t just toss your orange peels, they can be used for a wide array of things from in your personal care routine to your garden. These are valuable scraps. In the past, I’ve only used the peels for zest on occasion. Otherwise, I tossed them.
Citrus-Scented Bath Powder
After a long day at work, school, or maybe even the DMV (those lines can be the source of some brutal headaches), some of us like to march to the bathroom and run a nice hot bath to relax in. If you’re that type, this is for you, especially if you enjoy the fine smell of orange. If you let some orange peels sit on a counter and dry out, you can grind them down to a powder. You can use this powder like you would any store-bought bath powder and have a nice, “Florida orange” smelling bath, courtesy of your local supermarket.
If you happen to have some fresh orange peels lying about (fresh and moist peels, preferably) you now have the proper equipment to give your old wood a nice, new shine. The oils inside the peels of oranges act as a fine polish for your wood dishes and utensils. Just give whatever piece of wood you’re working with a tough scrub with the peel and, in no time, you’ll have a great, deep new shine. For outside the kitchen, you can use this to give beat-up, dusty, wooden sofa legs a store-like finish as well.
While you could go out to your local thrift store and buy a candle with a miniature painting of Elvis on the case, sometimes its easier and more enjoyable to do things at home. If you’ve got a few oranges lying around; when you’re peeling them, try to pull the stem out along with some of the shell (cutting the orange’s shell in half and pulling the stem out on one side works best with this. Once you got this all worked out, fill this bowl-like orange peel with some form of oil, making sure to get that stem well soaked in it. Light the oily stem as if it were a wick and you’ll have a nice, orange-scented candle keeping your home smelling great. If you have trouble keeping the stem lit, you can tie a piece of twin around the base of the stem and wrap it around the stem to help wick the oil up to burn.
If you just so happen to be a character in a B-grade horror flick, where your heart is constantly racing as you anticipate where the villain is going to come from, just take a page from the medicine men from the days of old. Many ancient pharmacists had concluded that oranges were an amazing natural medicine for many years, whether they were bitter or ripe. More importantly, orange peels have also been proven to decrease blood pressure through direct consumption. So, if you ever find yourself in a film directed by Sam Raimi, remember to bring a couple of orange peels along; it might just save you from a heart attack, brought upon by a camera flying through a cabin window.
Brown Sugar Preserver
We all hate it when we open up our bag of brown sugar, only to find it all clumped up and stuck together, especially when you’re in the middle of preparing a dish where time is of the essence. Thankfully, if you just finished going through that bag of Florida oranges, all those peels can help keep your brown sugar an actual sugar. Just keep some orange peels mixed in with it all in the bag, and the peels will absorb most of the moisture that gets in, keeping your sugar from solidifying and turning into that all too familiar bag of brown rocks.
While you could go out and buy all kinds of different insect repellents, this one for your skin; this one for the food you’re making on the grill; and this one for whatever reason, you could simply go out and buy some oranges. After you’re done enjoying your amazing citrus snack (definitely better for you than those potato chips), just use the orange peels to keep the pests away. Rub them on your skin instead of spraying some random mixture of chemicals you bought at the store, or just lay the peels around. In addition to just smelling really good, those peels will keep a variety of insects away; snails, mosquitos, and even those pesky ants that seem to be everywhere.
If you have a relatively fresh orange peel, one that’s still relatively moist, you can make a nice, quick sponge of it. Just use the inside of your fresh peel to thoroughly scrub whatever surface it is you are cleaning up. It’s safe for use on many surfaces; metal, wood, countertops, floors, et cetera. As an added bonus, your fresh peel will leave a nice, citrusy scent on the surfaces you clean it with. Not only will your stovetop be cleaned, but it won’t smell like that burnt chicken breast from a few weeks ago anymore.
If you’ve always wanted to start your own garden, but the soil at your home just doesn’t seem to be the greatest, nutrient-rich stuff you’ve ever worked with, you can always just get some oranges. Once you finish your healthy treat, you can compost those peels and make that dead-grass-covered patch of land into a fertile tract of soil that will let those rose bushes you’ve always wanted to plant grow to be green and strong.
If you’re ever short on twigs, branches, or any other kind of small kindling that you need to start a family bonfire in the back yard, orange peels can help you out here as well. Just toss them into your fire and they’ll burn rather easily, especially if they’re fresher, as the oils in them will allow them to burn easier. Just remember to start fires responsibly; I don’t want the police knocking on the door because you told them that I told you to go out there and start fires.
Of course, considering their usually powerful citrus scent, it wouldn’t be very shocking to see “deodorizer” on this list. Just set a few out and let them sit for a while, if your using them just to make an “okay smelling” room smell good. However, if you want to deal with bad odors, you’ll have to be a little more strategic; put them in the bottom of trash cans, put them down the trash disposal to deal with old, moldy food smells coming from there; and you’ll want to make a sort of dish from a peel and fill it with salt or baking soda if you want to de-stench your fridge.
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