Recycle your rinds – all the things you didn’t know you could do with orange peels

Nothing tastes better on those cold winter days than the sweet burst of sunshine that comes with each bite of an orange. While the benefits of this citrus fruit are known far and wide, there are even more uses for the package that nature wrapped it in. Next time you go for that sweet dose of vitamin C, reap the benefits of the whole orange and set those rinds apart from the compost.

A Powerhouse of Vitamins


These little citrus peels are packed with vitamins, and provide almost as much protection to your health as they do to that tasty fruit of theirs.

Aside from vitamin C, oranges are also excellent sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A has been found to support healthy teeth, bones, skin and eyes. Pregnant women should avoid this however, as studies have found that heightened levels of the vitamin can lead to a greater risk of birth defects.

Orange peels also contain pectin, a natural fiber found in the cell walls of plants. Pectin has been found to aid in the control of blood sugar, assist in lowering bad cholesterol levels and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines.

Hesperidin, a bioflavonoid found in citrus fruits, is also present in orange peels. Studies have found that Hesperidin helps in reducing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), helps fight some cancers and regulates blood pressure. It is also an essential component in the absorption of vitamin C.

An Abundance of Uses

Modern science aside, orange rinds provide a myriad of quick and organic alternatives to many everyday household needs.

In the kitchen:

  • A sponge. While still fresh, the oil found in orange peels have degreasing properties that make it a a good match that greasy stove top.
  • Preserve brown sugar. Avoid hardened brown sugar by tossing a few dried orange peels in the mix and draw away the moisture.
  • Flavor olive oil. Add a few orange rinds to a bottle of olive oil and wait for about a week. This goes great on salads, pasta…you name it. Try some additional flavored olive oils here.
  • Freshen up your garbage disposal. Toss the orange rind down the garbage disposal while it’s operating and get rid of nasty odors.
  • Zest in recipes. Shave the orange peel and use as extra flavor in a wide range of recipes, including this yummy orange-cranberry sauce. The zest can even be stored in air-tight containers for future use.

Natural remedies:

  • Remedy for nausea. This simple remedy has its roots in both traditional Chinese and Mayan medicine. Bruise an orange peel and sniff the scent. Not only easy but also safe for pregnant women.
  • To cleanse the skin. Orange peels have a number of health benefits for your skin. You can try rubbing the peel directly on the skin or grinding dried peels and adding them to your bath. Or try organic orange peel soap.
  • Hangover cure. Used by the late Mayan healer Don Elijio Panti (who lived to age of 103), this quick recipe will encourage perspiration and urination, helping to cleanse your body of yesterday’s soiree.

Maya Hangover Remedy

Boil the rind of a medium sized orange in one quart of water for ten minutes. Remove the rind.Add a pinch of salt and one teaspoon of brown sugar and a half a cup of cornmeal. Boil on low until the mixture is thick. Drink one cup every half hour until nothing is left.

(Recipe taken from Rainforest Home Remedies: The Maya Way to Heal Your Body and Replenish Your Soul, by Rosita Arvigo.)

Around the house:

  • An air freshener. Boil orange rinds in a pot of water with cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  • Reduce musty odors. Place dried peels in a cloth bag and leave in a closet or cupboard to oust musty smells.
  • Cat Repellent. Keep cats from making your plants their litter box by spreading the rinds in your garden, or by rubbing the peel on the leaves of your house plants.
  • Get rid of ants. Combing orange peels and water in a blender and then spray around the house to keep ants away. Spreading orange peels around your garden is also an effective way of getting rid of slugs.
  • Fire kindling. The oil in orange peels is flammable, burns longer than twigs or newspaper and give off a pleasant odor as it burns.

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