DIY Projects

Treasures From Trash: Using Citrus Peels

I face this problem every year when winter rolls around, what to do with that mound of fragrant peels? Marmalade is great because it sucks the peels into the project. But how much marmalade can one really make? (I make about 3 or 4 batches every winter!)
 
Chances are you’ve probably also wondered how to use your peels without composting/pitching them. I put out the word to see how people are using up their peels and received a ton of brilliant ideas.
 
View the slideshow above for a few unusual ways to use citrus peels!
 
Here are a few ideas from the collective hip homies squad, plus, visit Local Kitchen’s post earlier this year for her fabulous and thorough round-up with links to recipes and methods.
 
I will mention that it’s best to use organic citrus in applications where you anticipate eating or drinking the result. Pesticides aggregate in the peel. I understand it’s not always possible to get organic, so if necessary I’d relegate the non-organics to homemade cleaner purposes, where they’ll get fermented or sit in vinegar for a long time. As always, just do your best to be aware of the inputs when coming up with new outputs!
 
My friend Sima has been experimenting with this and loving the cleaner she ended up with. Here’s her method:
 
Ingredients

  • Citrus peels, enough to nearly fill a 2-quart container
  • Filtered water
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar (or 2 Tbs activated yeast)

 
Method
Use a plastic bottle (2-quart sized) and pack with citrus peels (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, etc.) leaving a 2-inch space to allow for gas expansion and then fill with water.
 
Add activated yeast (takes 30 days) or brown sugar (takes 45-60 days), depending on how patient you are in waiting for a cleaning product.
 
Shake daily for the first couple of weeks making sure to tighten the cap when shaking and then re-loosen the cap when finished. If the gas build-up is not allowed daily release it could blow up. When researching the making of citrus enzyme some folks recommended adding 1 cup of ACV (apple cider vinegar).  I have not found this necessary if I wait until the peels are well fermented.
 
I like to write the date made on the bottle to help keep track of due date. Upon due date strain into jars, keeps for up to 6 months unrefrigerated. Run the post-fermented peels through the garbage disposal (if applicable) when you’re finished.
(Information gleaned from ecokaren.com and happyhomemaker88.com)
 
Once you make it, use your cleaner for all sorts of jobs.
 
Here are Sima’s (and her inspiration’s) suggestions for dilution and usage:

  • Undiluted: additions to dishes and laundry by the 1/4 cup, stains on colored fabrics, odors, insect repellant and eliminating fire ants
  • 1 part enzyme: 2 parts water: skincare, either a facial cleanser or toner
  • 1 part enzyme: 10 parts water: clean vegetables and fruit
  • 1 part enzyme: 20 parts water: mopping floors, plant fertilizer, car wash, washing windows.

 
For unusual uses for lots of other everyday kitchen products, take a look at Unusual Uses For Coca Cola and Unusual Uses For Eggs.
 
Read more from The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking here.
 
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tags: Curator Network, Green Friendly, Unusual Uses

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