Orange Peel Uses Around The Homestead

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I love fruit. I really love Cuties during the winter months. I eat up to four a day. I have been throwing the orange peels into the compost bin all winter. I peeled one last week while driving around and left the peel on the floorboard and forgot to grab it as I got out. The next day, my truck smelled very pleasant, so that got me thinking about other uses for the peel. I hit the world wide web and came up with this:
Orange Peel Tips:
– Due to the high content of flammable oil in orange peel, dried peel makes a great firestarter or kindling
– It seems that cats don’t like the smell of peel, so you can place them around plants where you don’t want cats digging
– Using a “zester”, the top layer of an orange peel can be scraped to produce zest. This can then be used to strong flavor to foods, such as sauces, soups and salads. The zest can be dried overnight and then stored in airtight bottles for future use.
– Dried orange peels can be placed in a cloth bag and placed in closets and cupboards to reduce musty odors
– A puree blend of orange peel and water can be applied to an area to discourage ants from crossing.
– Most insects hate limonene – the oil in the peel. Small piles of zest can be placed around an area to keep it free from flies and mosquitos. A great way to enjoy a picnic without having to use commercial repellents or insecticides!
– To deodorize a garbage disposal unit, throw down a few peels while it’s operating
– Candied orange peels are a tasty treat that seem very simple to make. Plenty of recipes can be found on the Internet.
Extracting orange oil
Orange oil is being used in many cleaning products these days for its pleasant aroma and powerful solvent properties. As an essential oil, it has many health-related benefits. If you’d like to have a go at making your own orange oil extract, try this:
Note: because this process uses solvents, wear gloves, keep out of reach of children and naked flame and the same applies for the finished product. Orange oil is flammable and very corrosive. For most cleaning purposes, a quarter of an ounce (7 mls) mixed in with a quart (1 liter) of water should be sufficient. Always spot test a brew before applying in quantity.
1. dry the orange peels
2. grind the peels
3. place into a mason (glass) jar and cover with grain alcohol (even vodka)
4. shake vigorously for a few minutes. If possible repeat this over a couple of days. Warmed alcohol will help yield more oil
5. strain mixture through a coffee filter
6. place  mixture in a shallow dish, cover and allow alcohol to evaporate
7. what’s left over will be orange oil
Most orange oil you buy is cold-pressed, which is a preferable method of extraction, but I couldn’t find any oil presses suitable for home use/small quantities available. If you know of such an item, please let me know!
Have some orange peel tips you’d like to share? – add them below!