Oranges - a tale of fruit and all its uses

Oranges  - a tale of fruit and all its uses


One of the things that fascinate me the most is how many ways you can use one item. I think food waste is one of the bigger problems on earth. I like to use all the food I buy to its fullest and reduce as much waste as possible. Even at the end, I compost or recycle instead of throwing in the trash. This forces me to think about everything I purchase should have more than one use. So today I want to focus on the orange. I only drink fresh orange juice. In the winter, I drink it every day because my father has taught me that if you drink a cup of orange juice a day it will give you all the extra winter vitamins you need.


Now, a short calculation. How many oranges do I use a week? Great question. A cup of orange juice is usually made up of 3 regular size oranges, so in a week I use 21 oranges. True that! I usually do this for at least 10 weeks in a row, which means I use 210 oranges during the winter time. So what do I do with the peels from each one of these oranges since I told you earlier that I don’t like to create waste? Using the peels from 210 oranges requires a plan. 


So here's my list of things you can do with orange peels:

  1. Candied orange peels - Cut the peel on each orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Cook in a large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again. Bring 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the strips of orange peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until peel is very soft, about 45 minutes. Drain.Toss the peels into 1 cup sugar, then spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, separating the strips. Remove the peels from the excess sugar and transfer to a sheet of foil. Let stand until the coating is dry, 1 to 2 days. 

  2. Potpourri - First, I cut off all the extra pulp and the white part of the orange. Then I dry the peels in an oven, a fruit dryer or in the sun. This simple process makes for great smelling orange peels that you can mix with some cloves, cinnamon sticks and cardamom and put together in a bowl on your table.

  3. Orange jam - Cut all your orange leftovers into small thin slices after you have squeezed the juice. I add about 1 kilo sugar and the orange slices to a big pot and fill with water to cover the peels. Bring to a boil and turn off. Let sit overnight and then the next day boil again for a few hours until the mixture looks like jam. Jar and eat or give to friends!

  4. Grated orange peel - If you like to bake as often as I do, you can use orange peel for an aromatic in cakes.This is a great use for my orange peels! I grate them and leave them in the freezer to use when I need!

  5. Make brownies - Turns out you can bake brownies in orange peels and it gives them a great orangy flavor! Just use your favorite brownie recipe and bake right in the orange peel!

  6. Use for Old Fashioned Cocktails - If you like to mix drinks, there are lots of drinks that use orange peels and the juice.

  7. Make Orangecello - It's like Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, just with oranges. Separate the peels from the white part and put all the peel pieces in a bottle, cover with vodka and let sit for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks make some simple syrup and add to the bottle, store in the freezer!


Don’t forget to compost the leftover pulp and pith (white part of the peel)!! If you have a warm part to your home, maybe try growing the seeds.