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Eight Creative Uses for Citrus Peels

Feb 13, 2016
Diane Hoffmaster

Eight Creative Uses for Citrus Peels 

Every time I wander through the grocery store produce isle, I find myself with a cart full of citrus fruits. Oranges for the kids' lunch boxes, grapefruit for a healthy breakfast, lemons for my morning lemon water habit, and limes for a nice bowl of fresh guacamole. All of that fruit leaves me with a whole lot of leftover citrus peels. Instead of throwing them away, here are eight creative uses:

1. Citrus Infused Olive Oil: Olive oil with a hint of citrus is wonderful in a homemade salad dressing or drizzled on seafood or chicken. Wash your citrus fruit and pat dry. Using a citrus peeler, remove wide strips from the fruit. Add the peel of one or two pieces of fruit to one cup of olive oil and heat over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Let cool and store in a sealed mason jar in a cool, dark place.

2. As a Pot Scrubber: Sprinkle the bottom of your dirty pot with a bit of salt and use a citrus peel to scrub it clean. The oils in the citrus peel will help cut through the grease.

3. Refrigerator Deodorizer: Cut an orange in half and remove the fruit. Fill the orange-half with baking soda, place in a small bowl and stash in the fridge.

4. Body Scrub: Place one cup white sugar, ¼ cup coconut oil and a few orange peels into a food processor and process on high until the peel is in very small pieces. Use the body scrub next time you get in the shower.

5. Homemade Flavor Extracts: Wash and dry your fruit and peel into strips using a citrus peeler. Pack the peel into an old spice jar and fill with vegetable glycerin. Store in a cool, dark place for about a month, mixing occasionally. Use as a flavor extract in your next baking project.

6. Bird Feeder: Cut an orange in half and remove the fruit. Take one half and poke three evenly spaced holes near the cut section of the peel and attach a sturdy string. Fill with bird seed, hang from a tree and enjoy the critters that come to your feeder

7. Make Citrus Salts: Zest your citrus fruit (1 to 2 pieces) and mix it in a small bowl with ¼ cup coarse salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake on low about 200° F for 20 to 30 minutes, mixing occasionally until the mixture is dry. Let cool and store it in a Ziploc® Brand Container. Use as you normally would on fish or chicken for just a hint of citrus flavor.

8. Flavored Butter: Use the zest of 1 to 2 pieces of fruit, 1 tablespoon fresh herbs and 1 stick of butter to make a delicious citrus flavored butter. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and mix until completely combined. Store in the refrigerator and use to sauté shrimp, chicken or vegetables the next time you make dinner.  

Do you have any other creative uses for citrus peels?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

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1 Comment so far

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On Friday, February 19, 2016, Paul from Racine wrote

Another good use is to run peels through your garbage disposal to freshen it up!


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