Citrus Peels and Seven Ways To Use Them

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Oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are great healthy snacks and sources of delicious juices, but once you enjoy the juice, are you discarding the peel? These citrus peels may actually be more beneficial than the fruit they cover.

Citrus peels are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, bone-building calcium and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant bioflavonoids. Lemon peels, for example, contain more vitamins and nutrients than lemon juice. While an orange peel contains more fiber than the orange, plus antioxidants, protein, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Citrus peels are also the source of citrus oils used in many natural products, including citrus-based cleaners and natural pesticides. Here are seven healthy natural and Earth friendly uses for citrus peels:

Rejuvenate Your Skin – Lemon peels contain alpha-hydroxy acids which help rejuvenate your skin. To make a simple lemon (or orange or grapefruit) peel scrub mix one zested lemon peel with one half a cup of sugar and slowly add olive oil until a paste forms. Apply, allow to dry completely, then peel.

Eco Friendly Pest Barrier – Rub a lemon peel along your windowsill where ants have been coming in, ants and roaches aren’t fans of lemons and oranges. For a natural insect repellent, rub citrus peels over your skin. Place citrus peels near door frames, windows and other potential entry points of your home. If you need to get serious, spray harmful or annoying insects with a lemon and vinegar infusion to kill them.

Food Safe Microwave Cleaner – When it’s time to rid your microwave of grease and grime without using harsh chemicals, fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water and add citrus peels. Microwave the mixture on high for approximately three to five minutes until it boils and steams. Carefully remove the bowl and use clean towels to wipe down the inside of your now clean microwave.

Recycled Air Freshener – Boil citrus peels along with anything else that smells good. Add a cinnamon stick, nutmeg, cloves or apple peels. Not only does the boiling mixture make your house smell great, but it doubles as a humidifier.

Free Potpourri – Air dry strips of citrus peels and combine them with other dried ingredients like cinnamon sticks or flower petals to make sweet scented bowls or sachets to keep in a drawer or around your house.

Infuse Your Salad Oils – Simply combine about three tablespoons of lemon or orange zest with one cup of oil. Store this mixture in a glass jar for up to two weeks. When ready, strain the oil to remove the zest and enjoy it with bread, salad or poultry.

Freshen Your Garbage Disposal – This is the simplest way to “recycle” your citrus peels – just toss them in your garbage disposal. If you like this idea, freeze your extra citrus peels with a little water in an ice cube tray or recycled yogurt cups for use whenever your disposal starts to smell.

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