Tough economic times call for using and/or reusing everything in the kitchen. Instead of tossing out fruit peels, you can keep and use them for a variety of purposes. Considering all the ways you can put leftover fruit peels to work, why throw any of them away?
Peels for Cleaning
To make your coffee pot sparkling clean, add ice, lemon rinds and salt to your empty coffee pot, and swirl it around for a short time. Rinse well. To clear your tea pot of mineral build-up, add a handful of lemon peels and water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Let it cool and sit for an hour, then drain and rinse. Place orange peels in a jar and cover with white vinegar, letting it sit for a few weeks. Strain out the solids, add water, and you have your own homemade orange cleanser.
Orange and lemon zest pack a lot of flavor. Before you eat your citrus fruits, use a vegetable peeler or zester to remove the flavorful skin, making sure not to get any of the white pith. Use a sharp knife to cut up the lemon or orange zest. You can then let it dry, grind it in a blender (or spice grinder) and put it in small, airtight containers to use when needed.
Flavor Liquor, Oil and/or Vinegar
Add lemon or orange peel curls to liquor or wine, olive oil or vinegars to give them an extra boost of flavor. Orange oil is particularly pleasant. Save and dry apple peels and add to tea for flavoring. Lemon-infused vodka gives cocktails a nice kick.
One of the many uses for the pomegranate is to use its peels as a natural dye for fabric. Freeze the peels and fruit parts you don’t eat. When you are ready to dye, place the peels in your dye pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil for half an hour, and then simmer it for an hour. Strain out the solids. Get your fabric wet in hot water; when the cloth has cooled, wring it out and place it in the dye bath. Heat the dye bath to boil and boil gently for an hour, keeping the fabric submerged with a stick. When it has reached the desired color, take out the cloth and rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear.
Spice up your Fire
Orange peels make good kindling and can create a fragrant fire. Save citrus peels and add them to kindling and firewood to make your home smell deliciously fresh and festive.
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Breyer, Melissa; 20 Uses for Leftover Fruit and Vegetable Peels; Mother Nature Network; accessed November 25, 2013
Ambrose, Maura Grace; Natural Dye: Pomegranate; Folk Fiber Blog; accessed November 26, 2013
Christensen, Emma; 5 Good Uses for Your Citrus Peels; The Kitchn; accessed November 26, 2013
Watkins, Rebecca; 14 Uses for Orange Peels and an Orange Oil Recipe; Natural Mother’s Network; accessed November 26, 2013
Klosowski, Thorin; Easily Make Your Own Citrus Cleanser with Leftover Orange Peels; LifeHacker; accessed November 26, 2013