Don’t Waste That: Citrus Peels

I hate waste of any kind.  If I throw something out I feel so ashamed and guilty.  Some people may call me cheap but when something is perfectly fine, I try to find another use for it.  One thing that has a lot of uses are citrus peels.  I save them.  All of them.  If I take an orange to work, I wrap up the orange peel in a paper towel and bring it home – I know, I know.  I can feel your judging eyes.  If I use the juice of a lemon or lime in a recipe, I save the peel. 

These last few weeks I’ve been eating an orange a day and I’ve been saving those peels for another use:  Orange Vinegar.

When I make orange vinegar for eating, I always zest the orange because the pith will give the vinegar a bitter taste.  Add the orange zest to a quart jar, fill with vinegar, and steep. 

After it’s steeped for a good amount of time (a month or more; taste it to make sure it’s at the flavor you want), strain and bottle.  This vinegar is yummy in a lot of things: adding it in marinades, adding to sauteed greens, using it in a salad dressing.  The possibilities are endless.

Another tip: do not throw the pith out after you zest it.  Throw the pith down your garbage disposal, turn it on, and it will help disinfect and clean it!

If I can’t get around to using the peel right away, I save them in my citrus peel bag.  My citrus peel bag has peels from an assortment of citrus that I keep in my freezer.

Limes, Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit, you name it it’s in here!

My citrus peel bag is specifically for making citrus cleaning vinegar.  I do not remove the zest from the pith.  I just fill up a quart jar with the reserved frozen peel, fill the quart jar up with white vinegar, give it a good shake, and let it steep on my window sill.

I let them steep for a long while; usually I forget about them.  When I think the vinegar is ready I strain and bottle it. 

See how pale the peels are?  that’s what we’re shooting for!

I fill up a squeezie bottle with citrus cleaning vinegar to use as a rinse in my dishwasher and I also half it with water to use it as a cleaning solution in a spray bottle.  I label it Cleaning Vinegar.

No, it doesn’t look tasty…& it’s not!  This solution is simply for cleaning!

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