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illustration of some oranges
illustration of some oranges

A Food and Lifestyle Blog
By Darling Citrus® and LGS Sales

Waste Not, Want Not

April 22, 2021 | By: The Darling Dish

This Earth Day, enjoy citrus peels in new ways from infusing fruity drinks and body scrubs to composting. Join us in our efforts to reduce waste and celebrate our Earth by utilizing every part of the fruit. Whether you’re juicing lemons for chicken piccata or snacking on sweet orange segments, there are countless ways to reuse those citrus peels and do our part in leading an earth-friendly life.

Grower Today, a website that shares everything you need to know about nutrients and pest control for plants, debunks a few myths on using oranges in composting and provides a helpful 3-step process on how to properly compost your citrus peels. When considering whether or not you can compost your orange peels, Grower Today says YES! In fact, they state that all citrus peels are equally great composting materials, because “Citrus peels are rich in nitrogen and can easily speed up the activity of microorganisms when included in your compost. Lemon peels, lime peels, grape, and other citrus peels can be tossed into your compost pile for use as a nutrient for your plants.” 

When considering how to properly add citrus to your compost, here is what they recommend: 

  1. Larger orange peels require more time to fully break down, so speed up the process by cutting or trimming the nutrient-dense peels into smaller pieces. 
  2. Ensure the ratio of green materials is equal to those of brown materials. Orange peels are considered a green material, which boosts the phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium elements within your compost. 
  3. Allow for ample flow of oxygen to decrease the possibility of mold, too much moisture, and smells by properly placing the peels and ensuring they aren’t too compacted. You’ll also want to keep the compost bin in an area with proper ventilation and direct sunlight. 

Photo courtesy of Grower Today

Sephanie Osmanski over at Green Matters shares her clever ideas on what to do with those old, browning citrus peels. Aside from being a huge advocate for composting peels, she recommends grounding the peels in a blender or food processor and adding them to a homemade body scrub with sugar or salt. She notes that “Both salt and sugar are great exfoliants, but the citrus peels add more exfoliating power to the scrub."

Photo courtesy of Green Matters

Don’t forget that you can keep it simple! Cooking is one of the best ways to deliciously put those leftover citrus peels to good use. Recipes loaded with zested lemons, oranges, and clementines will be bursting with an extra layer of irresistible, tangy flavor, such as our Citrus Brown Sugar Cookies and Peruvian Roasted Chicken Thighs with Tangy Citrus Sauce. Another easy method is to infuse your water, tea, or alcohol overnight with citrus peels for a pop of fruity flavor and tasty cocktails. You can also create a homemade orange peel tea by boiling one cup of water with 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped orange peels and allowing it to steep for an hour. Strain out the orange peels and enjoy sipping on a vitamin-packed treat. 

Need more ideas on how to use up those citrus peels? Corey Williams from My Recipes shares 12 Ways to Use Up Leftover Citrus Peels such as infusing oils, removing stains, and repelling pests. The options for utilizing leftover peels within our day-to-day life are truly endless, and we hope you’ll celebrate Earth Day with us by giving one of these a try!

Do you have a special way you use your citrus peels? Let us know in the comments below or tag us on social media.

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